I've been doing a little history reading, and just finished a brief history of the Great Depression. As I finished, it occurred to me that while I know about the effects of the Depression (i.e. unemployment, lots of poor people, everyone going to see Shirley Temple movies), I don't know much about why we had a Great Depression. I also know Hoover didn't do much to try to stop it (he thought the market would correct itself), and Roosevelt did everything he could (New Deal, NRA etc.), but the Depression didn't end until we got into World War 2. I found this website: http://econ161.berkeley.edu/TCEH/Slouch_Crash14.html but the economics are a little out of my reach. Is there an easy way to describe the causes or the Great Depression, what happened exactly, and how we could have avoided it or recovered more quickly? Is there debate about these questions, or is there a consensus? Again, I'm just referring to the economic issues, and not the political, social or other aspects.