** A Secret Gift by Ted Gup

A Secret Gift tells the story of how the author’s grandfather made dozens of small gifts to needy families for Christmas 1933 — and never told a soul about it.The book tells the stories of many of the families he helped, full of unemployed fathers, underfed children, sick mothers, and evictions, along with the secret past of his grandfather, who created an identity for himself as an American rather than the Jewish immigrant from Romania that he was.

The individual stories are often tragic (although many have happy endings), but they blur into each other after a while. What remains is the description of very hard times and how families who up to then had lived well, some very well, suddenly found themselves absolutely destitute. Another example of history in action, like The Hare with Amber Eyes.

 

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