The Dark Valley

A Panorama of the 1930s

Publisher: Vintage
The 1930s were perhaps the seminal decade in twentieth-century history, a dark time of global depression that displaced millions, paralyzed the liberal democracies, gave rise to totalitarian regimes, and, ultimately, led to the Second World War. In this sweeping history, Piers Brendon brings the tragic, dismal days of the 1930s to life.

From Stalinist pogroms to New Deal programs, Brendon re-creates the full scope of a slow international descent towards war. Offering perfect sketches of the players, riveting descriptions of major events and crises, and telling details from everyday life, he offers both a grand, rousing narrative and an intimate portrait of an era that make sense out of the fascinating, complicated, and profoundly influential years of the 1930s.

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Chapter 1

Ithe harvest of armageddon

Well before dawn on 21 February 1916, when powdery snow lightened the darkness shrouding the lines of trenches gashed across the face of northern France, a 15-inch Krupp naval gun fired the first shot in the battle of Verdun. Its long barrel rising through the camouflage...
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PRAISE FOR

“A masterful survey of that troubled decade.”–Foreign Affairs

“Page by page this synoptic tour de force…propels the reader towards the inevitable cataclysms of the ‘40s.”–Time

“An innovative format, a wealth of detail gleaned from prodigious research, and stylistic gifts worthy of a great novelist…gives Brendon’s book a magisterial quality unmatched by other histories of the period.”–The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Brilliantly written and meticulously researched, The Dark Valley provides a depth of understanding of the misery of the Great Depression that few Americans alive today can grasp.” —The Denver Post