Nickel's Worth of Skim Milk: A Boy's View of the Great Depression (Shawnee Books)

Told from the point of view of a young boy, this account shows how a family “faced the 1930s head on and lived to tell the story.” It is the story of grow­ing up in southern Illinois, specifically the Marion, area during the Great Depression. But when it was first published in 1972 the book proved to be more than one writer’s memories of depression-era southern Illinois.

 

“People started writing me from all over the country,” Hastings notes. “And all said much the same: ‘You were writing about my family, as much as your own. That’s how I remember the 1930s, too.’”

 

As he proves time and again in this book, Hast­ings is a natural storyteller who can touch upon the detail that makes the tale both poignant and univer­sal. He brings to life a period that marked every man, woman, and child who lived through it even as that national experience fades into the past.