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Publisher's Summary

In this shocking and groundbreaking new book, economic historian Burton Folsom, Jr., exposes the idyllic legend of Franklin D. Roosevelt as a myth of epic proportions. With questionable moral character and a vendetta against the business elite, Roosevelt created New Deal programs marked by inconsistent planning, wasteful spending, and opportunity for political gain---ultimately elevating public opinion of his administration but falling flat in achieving the economic revitalization that America so desperately needed from the Great Depression. Folsom takes a critical, revisionist look at Roosevelt's presidency, his economic policies, and his personal life. Elected in 1932 on a buoyant tide of promises to balance the increasingly uncontrollable national budget and reduce the catastrophic unemployment rate, the charismatic thirty-second president not only neglected to pursue those goals, he made dramatic changes to federal programming that directly contradicted his campaign promises. Price fixing, court packing, regressive taxes, and patronism were all hidden inside the alphabet soup of his popular New Deal, putting a financial strain on the already suffering lower classes and discouraging the upper classes from taking business risks that potentially could have jostled national cash flow from dormancy. Many government programs that are widely used today have their seeds in the New Deal. Farm subsidies, minimum wage, and welfare, among others, all stifle economic growth---encouraging decreased productivity and exacerbating unemployment. Roosevelt's imperious approach to the presidency changed American politics forever, and as he manipulated public opinion, American citizens became unwitting accomplices to the stilted economic growth of the 1930s. More than sixty years after FDR died in office, we still struggle with the damaging repercussions of his legacy.
©2009 Burton Folson, Jr. (P)2009 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Book and Movie Lover on 06-14-09

A must listen!

This was one of the more interesting and well researched books I have listened to this year. As I was listening I was so surprised at some of the information in the book that I stopped listening so I could do some independent research before continuing to listen. Frankly, I just didn't believe some of the stuff could have gone on in this supposedly free country but it was easy enough to confirm the facts in the book. I'm shocked to find myself so uneducated about this time period, being a college grad and having taken US history in college, read numerous books about the depression era and even a bio or two of FDR. Everyone should read or listen to this book as it provides an excellent analysis of how FDR extended the depression with insane price controls that landed small business people in jail if they didn't follow them. Talk about micromanaging. The government told dry cleaners how much they could charge for cleaning a shirt. They told people who sold chickens how to sell chickens and that people were not allowed to select the chickens they wanted to buy. (They had to take the first one they happened to touch). Eventually, this policy and other policies of Roosevelt's administration went before the Supreme Court and was overturned. Roosevelt apparently got reelected because he managed to get so many citizens dependent upon the government that they couldn't risk not voting for him. This is a book I will listen to more than once. Narration is also very good.

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18 of 24 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By James on 10-27-09


Not really bashing FDR...but uses facts to debunk the myths we have been force-fed since infancy. That is, the New Deal saved democracy. Far from just about destroyed the free market system and left us with out of control government programs.

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8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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