The American Clock

ebook Penguin Plays

By Arthur Miller

cover image of The American Clock

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A bold, vibrant panorama of the Great Depression by “the moral voice of the American stage” (The New York Times)
Capturing a cross-section of American life in the throes of the Great Depression, The American Clock presents what Miller called “a mural for theatre,” based loosely on Stud’s Terkel’s oral history, Hard Times. It is the story of a single family, Moe and Rose Baum and their son Lee, who lost everything in the crash of ’29. When Lee leaves Brooklyn and travels west in search of work, he comes face to face with the true scope of the Depression’s devastation and encounters a tapestry of interlocked stories unfolding across a nation in crisis. In a series of vignettes, a vast ensemble of characters sets the Baums’ struggles in relief: a shoeshine man, a corporate tycoon, a dispossessed farmer, a struggling prostitute, a young songwriter, and a communist comic-strip artist, among many disparate American identities. All the while, the clock ticks towards a new era in history, and time is running out for the Baums and the America they know.

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The American Clock