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

The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression Shirley Temple and s America Her image appeared in periodicals and advertisements roughly twenty times daily she rivaled FDR and Edward VIII as the most photographed person in the world Her portrait brightened the homes of countl

  • Title: The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression: Shirley Temple and 1930s America
  • Author: John F. Kasson
  • ISBN: 9780393240795
  • Page: 120
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Her image appeared in periodicals and advertisements roughly twenty times daily she rivaled FDR and Edward VIII as the most photographed person in the world Her portrait brightened the homes of countless admirers from a black laborer s cabin in South Carolina and young Andy Warhol s house in Pittsburgh to FBI Director J Edgar Hoover s recreation room in Washington, DC,Her image appeared in periodicals and advertisements roughly twenty times daily she rivaled FDR and Edward VIII as the most photographed person in the world Her portrait brightened the homes of countless admirers from a black laborer s cabin in South Carolina and young Andy Warhol s house in Pittsburgh to FBI Director J Edgar Hoover s recreation room in Washington, DC, and gangster Bumpy Johnson s Harlem apartment A few years later her smile cheered the secret bedchamber of Anne Frank in Amsterdam as young Anne hid from the Nazis.For four consecutive years Shirley Temple was the world s box office champion, a record never equaled By early 1935 her mail was reported as four thousand letters a week, and hers was the second most popular girl s name in the country.What distinguished Shirley Temple from every other Hollywood star of the period and everyone since was how brilliantly she shone Amid the deprivation and despair of the Great Depression, Shirley Temple radiated optimism and plucky good cheer that lifted the spirits of millions and shaped their collective character for generations to come Distinguished cultural historian John F Kasson shows how the most famous, adored, imitated, and commodified child in the world astonished movie goers, created a new international culture of celebrity, and revolutionized the role of children as consumers.Tap dancing across racial boundaries with Bill Bojangles Robinson, foiling villains, and mending the hearts and troubles of the deserving, Shirley Temple personified the hopes and dreams of Americans To do so, she worked virtually every day of her childhood, transforming her own family as well as the lives of her fans.

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      Published :2018-08-06T23:39:30+00:00

    One thought on “The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression: Shirley Temple and 1930s America”

    1. Interesting, though not what I thought it would be. If you're looking for a straight-up biography of Temple, you won't find it here. In fact the author did not speak directly to anyone associated with Temple's acting career; his information is gleaned from books, periodicals and geneaology-type websites. There is no firsthand information on the child, no real description of her acting process. For that I suggest the interested reader turn to Ms Black's own writings--if you can find them.Basicall [...]

    2. If you're looking for an easy-read biography of Shirley Temple, don't pick up this book. But if you're looking for a small slice of Shirley, highlighting her rise to fame in the 1930's and the cultural, societal and racial implications of her Depression-era movies- this is the book for you. It's quite deep and often reads like an academic textbook (not surprising, as it was written by a university professor) but if you can get past that you'll be in for a nice treat. Within the scope of the text [...]

    3. I was really disappointed in this book. The first half was barely about Shirley. The first chapter was about Roosevelt and the second was all about Bojangles. I guess because I love Shirley Temple so much I was just expecting so much more. Even the ending stopped abruptly.

    4. This book really surprised me. I picked it up as a Shirley Temple fan, thinking it was a biography. But this book is much more than that. Kasson talks about the mood of the country in the 30's and why Shirley became so popular. He parallels her movies with FDR's New Deal programs and shows how they complemented each other. Then he goes on to show how movie merchandising really took off in the 30's especially relating to Shirley Temple. At one point, literally thousands of people owed their jobs [...]

    5. This is not a biography or a filmography of Shirley Temple and her movies, although it does contain plenty of information about both. The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression is a history of America when Shirley Temple's movies were massively popular, a period that lasted from 1934 until about 1939. Author John F. Kasson describes the period leading up to the Depression and the conditions that made a child star such as Shirley Temple a perfect fit for the times. I enjoyed reading about Sh [...]

    6. This book was pretty good. If people are fans of Shirley Temple. John F.Kasson, writes a unique approach. This book also focuses on the 1930s and the depression. How much affect this little star had on the Country. I have read many times that Shirley Temple was the number one box office attraction four years in a row. She became popular during a very difficult time in America. Some of this book talks about what is was like during the 1930s, the struggles, poverty, the presidents during this time [...]

    7. A fascinating and astute analysis of the political and cultural climate in the 1930s. What I really love about this book is that it goes into the in-depth analysis of the life and films of not only Shirley Temple, but her family, her fans, and even FDR, using her life and experiences as a kind of ballast to give better weight and relevance to the challenging political, economic, and yes, technological changes in the early 20th century, in America. It does this without compromising analysis of th [...]

    8. The first half of the book was ok. Far too many quotes from other sources - somewhere between 'I get the point already' and 'I wonder if they've been added to meet a required word count for the chapter?' And, periodically, a statement in the text as to how the chapter relates to the title of the book which if you have to state it, it sort of begs the question as to whether or not it really does. And, ultimately, I don't think the title befits the book - maybe it should be 'A History of Shirley T [...]

    9. This book was a pleasant surprise. I grabbed it from my library assuming it was a bio of Shirley Temple, but it's more of a cultural history of the Depression and movies. It focuses on the role that "feel good" movies (like the ones that Shirley Temple appeared in) had in during the Depression, and what the cult of Shirley Temple brought to people in America.If you just want to know about Shirley Temple's life, this is the wrong book. If you want to know about how FDR's attitude of public optimi [...]

    10. As others have said before, the second part of this book was far more interesting. While reading about President Roosevelt's plans for the economy, I was just itching to read about Shirley. I do realize the title includes "1930s America", but I wish it included more about Shirley herself, not about the box offices and what critics thought about her after her peak of stardom. I learned little about Shirley than I did her career.Nonfiction is admittedly a difficult genre to write. The struggle to [...]

    11. I only finished it because I kept waiting for it to tell me something I did not know or something that brought Shirley to life for me. I was disappointed. Maybe this book would be a decent read for someone who knows nothing about Shirley Temple, FDR, the Great Depression, stage mothers, or the role of blacks in 1930s cinema. Nah, I take that back. Just watch some Shirley Temple movies and feel good.

    12. Книжка, яка намагається пояснити феномен популярності дитини-акторки Ширлі Темпл, поставивши його в контекст Великої Депресії. Насправді, це не так про Ширлі, як про те, що кіно може рятувати завдяки своєму ескапізму. Відчай 1930-х років американці забували в кінотеатрах, на [...]

    13. No doubt the majority of people choosing to read this book will do so believing it to be focussing entirely on Shirley Temple herself. I certainly did. No one refutes her enormous talent however this unique book relates her success to the feeling amongst people at this difficult period of war and depression. She was most certainly additionally 'in the right place at the right time'. A most interesting book and the title truly does reflect the most interesting content.

    14. I picked this up because I thought it be more of a biography, but turns out it’s more of a starting point if you are looking to read more about the Great Depression, FDR or 1930’s. The author uses an analysis of Shirley Temple, and her image of persevering optimism in film (a reference point throughout), as a lens to study this section of history, which is something that is a bit different and unexpected. Try it if you want to read/study history through pop culture influence.

    15. Only chronicles the first years of Shirley's life in detail, but a really fascinating look at how the "politics of cheer" impacted the Great Depression, and how Shirley Temple was a large contributor to that. Americans went to the movies for the sole purpose of seeing Shirley, and spending money was the most important factor when it came to lifting Americans out of the depression.

    16. This is a social and cultural analysis of the 1930's rather than a biography, although it does contain some biographical information. More specifically, the book explores the cultural messaging in Shirley Temple's movies and her role in the developing consumer culture. It's an excellent read for those interested in American popular culture.

    17. This was not your traditional biography, but very interesting none the less. This book explored the background of the depression in details I had never read before. It also thoroughly explored the world of child actors of that period and legislation that protected them. I will be very interested to read Shirley's own memoir to fill in the blanks and know how she really felt about that.

    18. Wow this was not a very interesting book about shirley temple or the great depression. I feel like the author wasnt sure what this book was supposed to be about bc it seemed like you had more about fdr’s backstory than shirley temples.

    19. The author not only talked about Shirley Temple, he was also very informative about the politics, economy, and social and racial issues during that time.

    20. Boy was I excited to read this book. Boy was I disappointed when I was done.“The Little Girl” ostensibly is about Shirley Temple and her impact on America in the 1930s, but ends up being less focused on that. The author goes off track several times and weakens his story in the process.For example, the entire first chapter is about Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt. I guess it sets the stage for the Depression and Shirley, but I thought that meant that she and FDR would intersect again la [...]

    21. Mom, Shirley, and Dad signing a contract.Truly an interesting story. Her mother, Gertrude Temple, was convinced that she was expecting a baby girl (she had 2 previous boys). "In her mind it was not merely a hope but a determination: she and her husband would conceive a third child, that child would be named Shirley. The movie-entranced mother launched her daughter's career in the womb by exposing her to classical music, uplifting literature, great worlds of art, scenes of natural beauty, and rom [...]

    22. "You've got to S-M-I-L-E to be H-A-double P-Y!" One of my favorite songs of Shirley Temple's, along with Be Optimistic. This book is about smiles in a way, Shirley's in all her great films, FDR's in the face of the Great Depression, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson's in the face of poverty and racism, even Darryl Zanuck's "mélange of protruding and missing teeth" as the cocky new head of production at 20th Century Fox. Shirley saved the studio, and succeeded in lifting the spirits of Americans during [...]

    23. A very enjoyable story. Her movies were just as described. I loved every one of them and so did my grandchildren.

    24. Kasson writes a very specific cultural history in this book, and writes it very well, in my opinion. What Kasson does is take a very broad thesis--that Shirley Temple changed, or was a focal point for changing, the way the public interacted with pop culture--and prove it multiple times through various facets of culture in the 1930s, from the way star culture was evolving to the way consumer culture was becoming much bigger.The fact that this is a cultural history, and not a biography or a histor [...]

    25. The writing style was a little dull, personally, as if it would make a better narration on a documentary then a book, and I found quite a lot of references from Shirley's own memoirs, which I read earlier this year, making it feel a bit repetitive to that for myself.However, with the inclusion of the stories of other great people of the era such as FDR, Anne Frank, and the actors/actorresses she worked with, the comparisons between her films and the events of the Great Depression, and how she in [...]

    26. The idea of a book about Shirley Temple's role in the Great Depression--the way she was marketed to consumers and the ways her movies reflected or reimagined the United States in the Great Depression--seems awesome. Unfortunately, this book only looks like that book on the dust jacket.John F. Kasson had a great idea for a history here, but he just plain didn't have enough story to fill the pages. Before you get anywhere near Shirley Temple's rise to fame, you endure pages upon pages about Hoover [...]

    27. This book really reminded me of some of the texts I read in my sociology classes in college (except much less wordy and fact-y). Honestly, as much as I've enjoyed 1930s and 1940s movies in my life, I really didn't know all that much about Shirley Temple outside of "Animal Crackers in my Soup." So I found this a great alternative to a biography of Shirley -- it gave me a look into the timeline of her career and how the shape of America in that day and time helped sky-rocket her career into an unb [...]

    28. I was left bewildered with this one. I originally wanted to read Shirley's autobiography Child Star but when I couldn't seem to find it so I settled for this one. John Kasson presents a great & fascinating analysis of the 30s and he was able to capture my ultimate attention and he honestly wrote a very unique approach. Unluckily, I was looking for more in depth about Shirley herself not FDR or the whole cultural & political analysis of that era so I was left bewildered because I liked hi [...]

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