A Secret Gift

A Secret Gift

How One Man's Kindness and A Trove of Letters Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression

Book - 2011
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"A wonderful reminder that economic hardship can bring suffering but can also foster compassion and community." - The Boston Globe

In hard economic times like these, readers will find bestselling author Ted Gup's unique book uplifting as well as captivating. Inside a suitcase kept in his mother's attic, Gup discovered letters written to his grandfather in response to an ad placed in a Canton, Ohio, newspaper in 1933 that offered cash to seventy-five families facing a devastating Christmas. The author travels coast to coast to unveil the lives behind the letters, describing a range of hardships and recreating in his research the hopes and suffering of Depression-era Americans, even as he uncovers the secret life led by the grandfather he thought he knew.

Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, [2011]
Copyright Date: ©2010
ISBN: 9780143120001
Branch Call Number: 977.162 Gup
Characteristics: 369 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 21 cm


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Feb 15, 2017

The author, an investigative reporter, was given a cache of old letters and from those letters, he uncovered a long-held secret regarding his beloved grandparents. It's a really interesting book, well-written and well-researched. And a lesson to all of us about hard times and how to face them.

Jan 09, 2015

This book contains a lot of history and family secrets. I found I enjoyed the book more than I thought after discussion at my book club.

lucille007 Sep 13, 2014

the Depression years really affected families, businesses, in ways I hadn't read about before reading this nonfiction book. What a terrible, terrible time - babies actually died of starvation and small children too. Even the people that had jobs or part time work weren't making enough to feed their families.

Jul 06, 2012

A very interesting concept. Especially in these days and times. I love the message. Sometimes a bit dry. I felt a bit like a voyeur reading about people's lives. A mildly interesting read.

Feb 12, 2012

Ted is given a suitcase by his mother because he is interested in family history. What he finds inside is a family secret that has been kept for almost 80 years and will take Ted on the journey of a lifetime to find the answers to this puzzle - why would his grandfather secretly give money to the most needy of his neighbors during the Christmas season of 1933? Each of the people who received his gift, was promised anonymity in his/her lifetime. What happened to these desperate but hopeful families during a period in our recent history that found unemployment levels rise and banks fail seems to mirror our times as well.

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