By Ted Gup

An inspiring account of the United States at its worst-and americans at their best-woven from the tales of melancholy period households who have been helped through presents from the author's beneficiant and secretive grandfather.

Shortly ahead of Christmas 1933 in Depression-scarred Canton, Ohio, a small newspaper advert provided $10, no strings hooked up, to seventy five households in misery. readers have been requested to post letters describing their hardships to a benefactor calling himself Mr. B. Virdot. The author's grandfather Sam Stone used to be encouraged to put this advert and support his fellow Cantonians as they ready for the harshest Christmas such a lot of them might ever witness.

Moved through the stories of pain and expressions of desire inside the letters, which he chanced on in a suitcase seventy five years later, Ted Gup at the start got down to unveil the lives at the back of them, looking for files and family everywhere the rustic who may aid him flesh out the kin sagas hinted at in these letters. From those resources, Gup has re-created the influence that Mr B. Virdot's present had on every one relatives. many folks yearned for bread, coal, or different must haves, yet many others bought funds from B. Virdot for extra fanciful goods - a toy horse, say, or a suite of encyclopaedias. As Gup's investigations published, a lot of these issues had the facility to show people's lives round - even to save lots of them.

But as he exposed the agony and triumphs of dozens of strangers, Gup additionally realized that Sam Stone used to be way more complicated than the cute- retiree character he'd consistently proven his grandson. Gup reveals deeply buried information about Sam's lifestyles - from his impoverished, abusive upbringing to felonious efforts to conceal his immigrant origins from U.S. officers - that aid clarify why he felt any such robust affinity to strangers in desire. Drawing on his specified locate and his award-winning reportorial presents, Ted Gup solves a novel kinfolk secret even whereas he pulls away the veil of 8 a long time that separate us from the hardships that united the US throughout the melancholy. In A mystery reward, he weaves those revelations seamlessly right into a tapestry of melancholy period the USA, so as to fascinate and encourage in equivalent degree.

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Extra info for A Secret Gift: How One Man's Kindness--and a Trove of Letters--Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression

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SAC adopted new aircraft and weapons, expanded its base network, and improved its communication system. By contrast, the Eisenhower administration cut budgets for conventional ground forces substantially, betting that allies, backed by American air and sea power, would bear the brunt of fighting future regional wars. The Eisenhower administration also saw a major shift in the size of the services. Eisenhower believed that air power held the key to deterrence. SAC’s bombers and (eventually) ICBMs thus became the primary means of implementing massive retaliation.

The nuclear revolution, 1–10 From the perspective of the late 1940s it was unclear whether the bomber or the missile would be the primary delivery means for nuclear weapons. On one hand, it was uncertain whether long-range missiles were feasible or practical. 67 As of April 1946, the Army Air Force had twenty-eight missiles of all types in development. Some officers saw vigorous pursuit of missiles as vital to the Air Force’s survival. As Major General Hugh J. Knerr, the secretary general of the Army Air Force Air Board, put it in February 1946, “The aerial missile, by whatever means it may be delivered, is the weapon of the Air Corps.

The aircraft was developed in response to a requirement for a bomber capable of carrying a 10,000-pound bomb load five thousand miles. Dependable and easy to handle, the aircraft became the mainstay of SAC’s bomber force throughout the Cold War and beyond. Indeed, B-52s saw heavy use, albeit in a the nuclear revolution, 1–10 1 much different role, during the Gulf War in 1991 and the campaign in Afghanistan in 2001. The Defense Department’s enthusiasm for all things nuclear was not limited to weapons.

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