July 30, 1984 12:00 PM

by Bill Ganzel

The faces in the photographs in this book are unforgettable images from America’s Depression era that convey suffering far better than statistics do. In Migrant Mother, taken by Dorothea Lange in 1936, a gaunt young woman with three small, dirty girls stares out at the camera. Ganzel, a photographer and associate producer/director with the Nebraska Educational Television Network, tracked down the subject of that picture, Florence Thompson, and shot her again in 1979—now plump, gray-haired—surrounded by three middle-aged daughters. Mrs. Thompson recalls, “At one time we lived under a bridge…. [I worked] in a restaurant for 50 cents a day and leftovers…. I had six children to feed at that time.” Ganzel’s book also reproduces the original work of such Farm Security Administration photographers as Russell Lee, Arthur Rothstein and John Vachon alongside their subjects as they appear today. This powerful collection is America’s own photo album. (University of Nebraska Press, $29.95)

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