In Daily Life in the United States, 1920-1939: Decades of Promise and Pain, author David E. Kyvig, creates historical account of the Great Depression, and the events leading up to it. Kyvig’s goal in writing this book was to show how Americans had to change their daily life in order to cope with the changing times. Kyvig utilizes historical evidence and inferences from these events and developments to strengthen his point. The book is organized chronologically, recounting events and their effects on American culture. Each chapter of the book tackles a various point in American history between 1920 and1939 and events are used to comment on American life at the time. While Kyvig does not exactly have a “thesis” per se, his main point is to
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Kyvig takes about as neutral of a stance as possible. When discussing the KKK, Kyvig takes neither a caustic nor warm tone, but simply an unbiased account of the actions they performed and the reactions on those they affected. By taking this stance, he allows the reader to draw their own conclusions based on the information presented. Kyvig, being a Professor of History at Northern Illinois University, is able to establish ethos with the reader, confirming the facts of which he presents are credible and authentic.
Kyvig discusses a wide range of evidence of how the American way of life was changed. However, the two most effective pieces of evidence which Kyvig presents are the introduction of radio and cinema and the Great Depression. While many people don’t look at radio or cinema as being culturally significant, Kyvig shows how deeply it affected American daily life. “Battery-operated radios in particular, but also movie projectors driven by electric generators, made it possible for rural and small town Americans to experience the same striking sounds and, occasionally, sights as city dwellers. Town and country could share experiences impossible to obtain in their own immediate cultural environment. Thus far more than any previous systems of communication, radio and the movies drew Americans together into a new and common culture” (Kyvig, 59). Kyvig goes on to explain how the mass