Soul of a People: The WPA Writers’ Project Uncovers Depression America

Named an Amazon Best of the Month pick and one of the Best Books of 2009, Soul of a People: The WPA Writers’ Project Uncovers Depression America tells about a handful of people in the 1930s, a glimpse of America at a turning point. They were caught up in an effort to describe America in a series of travel guides. Through striking images and firsthand accounts, Soul of a People reveals their experiences, along with the most vivid excerpts from selected guides and interviews: Harlem schoolchildren, truckers, Chicago fishmongers, Cuban cigar makers, a Florida midwife, and Nebraskan meatpackers.

This book and its related documentary film illuminate what it felt like to live that experience, and how it affected their lives and work afterward.


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Praise for ‘Soul of a People’

“A wonderful and engaging book.”
— Robert Whitaker, author of On the Laps of Gods: The Red Summer of 1919 and the Struggle for Justice That Remade a Nation

“David Taylor goes inside the project to give us intimate snapshots of the writers and what they saw and felt during that hard time. Soul of a People is a revealing and a valuable resource.”
— Nick Taylor, author of American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA

“An excellent history…”
Washington City Paper

Read reviews on Goodreads (and feel free to add your own).


Sample Chapters