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History Helpers
Here's what's new in what's old: books, Web sites and CD-ROMs to help you find your place in the past.
20th-century America

The Hungry Years: A Narrative History of the Great Depression in America by T.H. Watkins (Henry Holt): Through vignettes and anecdotes, Watkins gets beyond the bureaucratic response to the Great Depression — the CCC, WPA and other agencies — and shows how the years 1929-1939 changed America and Americans. The Hungry Years draws on oral histories, local newspapers, memoirs and scholarly monographs to re-create the experiences of ordinary men and women in an extraordinary time. Watkins, whose biography of Harold Ickes, Righteous Pilgrim, was nominated for a fistful of literary prizes, has crafted an essential guide to understanding what your parents or grandparents experienced.

I'll Be Home for Christmas: The Library of Congress Revisits the Spirit of Christmas During World War II by the Library of Congress (Delacorte): Through letters, photos and diary excerpts from the library's archives, this bittersweet collection brings alive the wartime holidays. If someone from your family ever spent Christmas in a foxhole, this book will put you in their boots.

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