First published in 1945, this volume compares the theoretical panic and practical confusion of its present time to that of the eighteen-eighties and looks to it for direction and inspiration. Following the decade, the Reynolds’ Newspaper commented that "Eighteen seventy-nine is gone, and we all have reason to be thankful that it is now only a record". The decade faced challenges in agriculture, a bitter parliament, war on two continents, stagnant commerce and changing social norms. 1879 in particular was a year combining more circumstances of misfortune and depression than any within general experience at the time. Then, as in 1945, there was a new sense of being in the dark, surrounded by the unknown. H.M. Lynd hoped to gain some insight into possible directions of change from a study of this critical period.