What We’re Reading: United by Hardship

Weekly reviews of what's on our bookshelves.

Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression By Studs Terkel As I read “Hard Times,” I had recurring flashbacks of my grandparents, who were born in the mid-1910s. My grandpa rarely spoke of the Depression, preferring instead to talk about his life as a cop after World War II. It wasn’t until after his death that we learned the Depression forced him to drop out of high school (shocking to us considering he was obsessed with education in his adult life) and, through a photo of him in uniform with a tribal chief somewhere in Montana, that he spent time working in the Civilian Conservation Corps. My grandmother spoke more frequently of her childhood, which was largely spent helping to raise her 12 siblings. She’d start her stories with “we were very poor,” telling tales of looking for coal in trash bins or discarded clothes that could be sewn into something new. One of my most visceral memories was of visiting them in their home in Yonkers, New York. Walking into their house was a trip back in time where everything from the furniture to the decor to my grandpa’s pants dated back 20 years or more. We’d […]

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Allison Fedirka
Allison Fedirka is the director of analysis for Geopolitical Futures. In addition to writing analyses, she helps train new analysts, oversees the intellectual quality of analyst work and helps guide the forecasting process. Prior to joining Geopolitical Futures, Ms. Fedirka worked for Stratfor as a Latin America specialist and subsequently as the Latin America regional director. She lived in South America – primarily Argentina and Brazil – for more than seven years and, in addition to English, fluently speaks Spanish and Portuguese. Ms. Fedirka has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and international studies from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s degree in international relations and affairs from the University of Belgrano, Argentina. Her thesis was on Brazil and Angola and south-south cooperation.
Ekaterina Zolotova
Ekaterina Zolotova is an analyst for Geopolitical Futures. Prior to Geopolitical Futures, Ms. Zolotova participated in several research projects devoted to problems and prospects of Russia’s integration into the world economy. Ms. Zolotova has a specialist degree in international economic relations from Plekhanov Russian University of Economics. In addition, Ms. Zolotova studied international trade and international integration processes. Her thesis was on features of economic development of Venezuela. She speaks native Russian and is fluent in English.