From Chapter 1: "A Year to Remember"
Opportunities for the social historian
"In the autumn of 1929 the mightiest of Americans were, for a brief time, revealed as human beings. Like most humans, most of the time, they did some very foolish things. On the while, the greater the earlier reputation for omniscience, the more serene the previous idiocy, the greater the foolishness now exposed.
Things that in other times were concealed in a heavy facade of dignity now stood exposed, for the panic suddenly, almost obscenely, snatched this facade away. We are seldom vouchsafed a glance behind this barrier; in our society the counterpart of hte Kremlin walls is the thickly stuffed shirt.
The social historian must always be alert to his opportunities, and there have been few like 1929."