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August 2015 Vol. 52 No. 12

University of Massachusetts Press

The following review appeared in the August 2015 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email

Social & Behavioral Sciences
History, Geography & Area Studies - North America

2014-21803 CIP
Yarrow, Andrew L. Thrift: the history of an American cultural movement. Massachusetts, 2014. 209p index afp ISBN 9781625341310, $80.00; ISBN 9781625341327 pbk, $24.95.

Yarrow (American Univ.) provides a lively examination of the thrift movement that evolved in the early 20th century and operated on various levels, often with conflicting philosophies.  Supported by an eclectic array of individuals, such as financiers, reformers, and government officials, and organizations such as the Boy Scouts, YMCA, National Education Association, and Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the thrift movement sought to address social and economic problems by encouraging people to save money.  National Thrift Week was established in 1916, and the movement reached its height in the 1920s, when millions of children received thrift education through school savings bank programs, practicing habits of personal economics.  But the expansion of the consumer economy in the 1920s juxtaposed with thrift and the Great Depression dampened the movement and shifted the emphasis toward consumer education or wise spending.  The thrift movement declined steadily after the Great Depression, and National Thrift Week concluded in 1966.  Yarrow draws upon pamphlets, newspapers, and magazine coverage to effectively analyze this movement.  Chapters on thrift in schools and National Thrift Week are well done.  Yarrow notes that numerous examples of thrift exist in the 21st century as the shift toward sustainability and stewardship gains momentum.

--R. M. Hyser, James Madison University

Summing Up: Recommended. All academic levels/libraries.