The Little Girl who Fought the Great Depression: Shirley Temple and 1930s America by John F. Kasson

Reviewed by
October 2014, no. 365
Shirley Temple and 1930s America

The Little Girl who Fought the Great Depression: Shirley Temple and 1930s America

by John F. Kasson

W.W. Norton & Company Ltd, $34.95 hb, 320 pp, 9780393240795

The Little Girl who Fought the Great Depression: Shirley Temple and 1930s America by John F. Kasson

Reviewed by
October 2014, no. 365

Lucky Shirley Temple! Film star biographies are usually made up of a chronology laced with doubtful studio publicity and salacious gossip. But The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression is written by a reigning scholar of American culture, John F. Kasson. A professor of History and American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kasson takes entertainment seriously. For more than forty years, beginning with Amusing the Million: Coney Island at the Turn of the Century (1971), he has uncovered the cultural significance of popular leisure-time activities, places, and personalities in a style that is both scholarly and entertaining. His Houdini, Tarzan and the Perfect Man: The White Male Body and the Challenge of Modernity in America (2001) used three mini-biographies to explore the ‘masculinity crisis’ of the early twentieth century. In The Little Girl, he focuses on one icon to help us see how Americans survived the Great Depression.

Shirley Temple and 1930s America

The Little Girl who Fought the Great Depression: Shirley Temple and 1930s America

by John F. Kasson

W.W. Norton & Company Ltd, $34.95 hb, 320 pp, 9780393240795

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