Shortly before Christmas 1933 in Depression-scarred Canton, Ohio, a small newspaper ad offered 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's grandfather, Sam Stone, was inspired to place this ad and help his fellow ...
Shortly before Christmas 1933 in Depression-scarred Canton, Ohio, a small newspaper ad offered 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's grandfather, Sam Stone, was inspired to place this ad and help his fellow Cantonians as they prepared for the cruelest Christmas most of them would ever endure. Moved by the stories of suffering and hope in the letters, which he discovered in a suitcase seventy-five years later, Ted Gup first set out to unveil the lives behind them, searching for records and relatives to flesh out the family sagas hinted at in those letters. From these sources, Gup has re-created the impact that B. Virdot's gift had on each family. But as he uncovered the suffering and triumphs of dozens of strangers, Gup also learned that Sam Stone was far more complex than the lovable-retiree persona he'd always shown his grandson. Gup solves a singular family mystery even as he pulls away the veil of eight decades that separate us from the hardships that united America during the Depression.
Very good. Appearance of only slight previous use. Cover and binding show a little wear. All pages are undamaged with potentially only a few, small markings. Help save a tree. Buy all your used books from Thriftbooks. Read. Recycle and Reuse.
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This could have been a charming, informative Sunday NYT Magazine article but it surely is not a book. It is a series of stories of people who benefited from one man's charity during the depression, however, the stories are so similar that they quickly become redundant and boring.
The author did prodigious research but that does not necessarily lead to a good book, and it does not here.
And while the stories each have their own details, the totality does not really add much to the readers undestanding of the depression. I left the book with about the same knowledge of that period, has I had before. In short, it was not very edifying.
If wants a good history, read Freedom From Fear.
Feb 3, 2011
A Secret Gift
Delightful book with so much fantastic information about the Depression time and how it affected real people. The best part is that it's a well-researched true sketch of the people who lived in Canton, Ohio. Such a great gift was given to the people - the gift of Hope. It makes you realize what the people really went through in the Depression. Thanks Ted Gup for bringing us this true chronicle of those desperate times. I highly recommend the book.
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