Newscasters and politicians have often compared the recent recession in the US with the Great Depression. However, after reading A Secret Gift: How One Man's Kindness - and a Trove of Letters - Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression by Ted Gup I cannot agree with those comparisons.
In A Secret Gift, Gup tells the story of his grandfather, Sam Stone. In 1933, Sam Stone lived in Canton, Ohio, and took out an ad in the local newspaper, offering a small gift of $10 to families greatly affected by the depression. In order to remain anonymous, he gave the gifts under a pseudonym, B. Virdot.
His offer of anonymity encouraged people who lost everything to reveal their stories to B. Virdot. And in the end, Sam Stone gave $5 to scores of people across Canton, from every walk of life.
Gup tracked down those who received the gift to discover how it affected their lives. He tells their stories, and the stories of their descendants. Some stories are heart-breaking, some are amazing - but every one of them is touching.
In between those stories, Gup uncovers the mysterious man who was his grandfather, Sam Stone. He weaves all together beautifully in this book - definitely worth adding to your summer reading list.