The Bonus Army

The Bonus Army

An American Epic

Book - 2005
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In the summer of 1932, at the height of the Depression, some forty-five thousand veterans of World War I descended on Washington, D.C., from all over the country to demand the bonus promised them eight years earlier for their wartime service. They lived in shantytowns, white and black together, and for two months they protested and rallied for their cause--an action that would have a profound effect on American history.

President Herbert Hoover, Army Chief of Staff Douglas MacArthur, and others feared the protesters would turn violent after the Senate defeated the "bonus bill" that the House had passed. On July 28, 1932, tanks rolled through the streets as MacArthur's troops evicted the bonus marchers: Newspapers and newsreels showed graphic images of American soldiers driving out their former comrades in arms. Democratic candidate, Franklin Roosevelt, in a critical contest with Hoover, upon reading newspaper accounts of the eviction said to an adviser, "This will elect me," though bonus armies would plague him in each of his first three years.

Through seminal research, including interviews with the last surviving witnesses, Paul Dickson and Thomas B. Allen tell the full and dramatic story of the Bonus Army and of the many celebrated figures involved in it: Evalyn Walsh McLean, the owner of the hope diamond, sided with the marchers; Roy Wilkins saw the model for racial integration here; J. Edgar Hoover built his reputation against the Bonus Army radicals; a young Gore Vidal witnessed the crisis while John dos Passos, Sherwood Anderson, and Sinclair Lewis wrote about it. Dickson and Allen also recover the voices of ordinary men who dared tilt at powerful injustice, and who ultimately transformed the nation: The march inspired Congress to pass the G. I. Bill of Rights in 1944, one of the most important pieces of social legislation in our history, which in large part created America's middle class. The Bonus Army is an epic story in the saga of our country.

Publisher: New York : Walker & Co., 2005
ISBN: 9780802714404
Branch Call Number: 973.916 D554b 2005
Characteristics: 370 p. : ill. ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Allen, Thomas B.


From Library Staff

Here is a fascinating look at the fate of many WWI veterans in United States. American soldiers during

the war missed out on lucrative jobs in the war economy to defend the country. As a reward, Congress granted them an insurance policy that would mature in 1945. When the Depression hit, many ... Read More »

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Feb 20, 2015

The description emphasizes the word, // eviction \\ but since over one hundred women, children and men were slaughtered by MacArthur and Patton's troops, eviction seems a tad mild! MacArthur continued on as general, when he should have been court-martialed, as his uncle was then one of the richest men in America, and a partner to JP Morgan, Henry Stottsbury.


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