Tuesday, May 14, 2024

13 Momentous Years by Eleri Grace

 Happy 13th Blog-O-Versary to Romancing the Genres and its wonderful founders Judith & Sarah!  

In thinking about all the changes in my own life over the last 13 years -- divorced, saw my two fabulous kids mature into young adulthood and pursue their own dreams with passion and energy, strengthened some friendships and made new ones, reentered the workforce, launched my dream of becoming a published author, and founded a thriving and growing entrepreneurial venture (my college counseling business) -- it occurred to me to wonder what the 13 year time periods around WW2 looked like for many Americans. 

The years spanning 1933- 1945 profoundly shaped our history and national spirit in so many ways. 

  • FDR was President for just under 13 years during these defining years
  • Hitler ascended to power in January 1933
  • In March 1933, in his first inaugural address, President Roosevelt notably assured Americans that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. 
  • By the end of 1933, FDR had launched the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Public Works Administration, and the Public Works of Art Project, formed the FDIC, and signed the Securities Act of 1933. 
  • Notable accomplishments over the next few years included the Social Security Act, the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Rural Electrification Administration, the National Labor Relations Act, the US Housing Authority, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and a host of federal programs aimed at preserving our national heritage and its cultural/artistic works
  • Even as the American people finally began to feel some relief from the years of poverty and want, the winds of war are swirling around the globe, and by the end of 1941, the US, with the attack on Pearl Harbor, enters the war
  • It will take nearly another 4 years and millions of lives lost before the war at last comes to an end in August 1945
Since we're all about books here, I also thought it would be fun to highlight a few of the bestselling books of this 13-year slice of time.

In early 1933, as FDR took office, the bestseller was Ann Vickers by Sinclair Lewis (interestingly, I just finished Becoming Madam Secretary by Stephanie Dray, centered around the life of FDR's Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins (first female Cabinet member). Perkins was a romantic interest of Sinclair Lewis at one time, and she was incensed when she learned of Ann Vickers, convinced their mutual social circle would assume the protagonist was based more on her own life than was strictly the case. 

Here's a sampling of a few more of the bestselling books during the Great Depression and WW2 years (not in any particular order):

I should also note that among my personal favorites are the Little House novels by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which were published from 1932 - 1943 (roughly corresponding to these dates)!

I hope you've enjoyed recalling the history and some of the bestselling books of another noteworthy 13-year era! 

You can read more about me and my WW2 novels on my website and purchase my novels on Amazon!


Diana McCollum said...


Thanks for an informative blog post!
The history lesson and books published around WWII were facts I didn't know. Although I have read many of those books.
And what a lot of changes in your own life. Good luck with all your endeavors.

Judith Ashley said...

Wow Eleri,

Love the listing of books as well as highlights of those 13 years. And interesting that those books have become classics. I haven't read "Ann Vickers" but I have read most of the others. What fun to have a college counseling business. I loved working with youth aging out of foster care and supporting them in finding a path forward that included additional education.

Sarah Raplee said...

I really enjoyed your post! Great take on "lucky 13". So informative and entertaining.

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Interesting post, Eldridge--I was surprised at how many of those books I know!