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
Average Rating:
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The author's grandfather, Sam Stone, placed an ad in the Canton, OH, newspaper shortly before Christmas in 1933, offering cash gifts to seventy-five families in distress. Readers were asked to send letters describing their hardships to a benefactor calling himself Mr. B. Virdot. The author investigates a suitcase full of letters responding to these ads as he learns more about his grandfather's hidden past as well as the suffering and triumphs of strangers during the Great Depression. -- From publisher's description.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 2011.
Edition: Updated ed.
ISBN: 9780143120001
014312000X
Characteristics: 369 p., [16] p. of plates :,ill. ;,21 cm.

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ownedbydoxies
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.

m
mre5832
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.

l
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.

m
mstockwe
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.

k
KarenW
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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