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As America struggles with an economic debacle akin to the Great Depression, nothing could be timelier than an authoritative account of the New Deal, masterfully written by Michael Hiltzik, author of the acclaimed history of the Hoover Dam, Colossus.
In this richly peopled, vividly rendered narrative, Hiltzik describes how the urgent short-term relief measures of Franklin Roosevelt’s Hundred Days evolved into a transformative concept of the federal role in American life. Rather than the product of a single ideology, the New Deal emerged from the clash of ideas held by advisors from very different backgrounds. With historical and psychological insight, Hiltzik sheds light on the lives of the gargantuan characters who fought for and against it: Herbert Hoover, whose own administration gave birth to many of the programs that would become part of the New Deal; General Hugh Johnson, the West Pointer whose pugnacious leadership of the National Recovery Administration symbolized the New Deal for millions of Americans; Harry Hopkins, whose closeness to Roosevelt earned him the moniker “deputy president”; and many other fascinating figures. What emerges is a saga of how FDR managed to recast the federal government into something that still inspires: a unifying structure with the concept of social justice at its heart.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Roy on 12-27-11
HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF ...
It's like every generation must fight the same battles over and over. This look into FDR's challenges with unbridled greed and avarice are not all that different than the challenges we all face today. Expertly written with a wonderful historical perspective. The facts as always speak for themselves.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By R.S. on 12-19-11
Another Excellent New Deal History
Michael Hiltzik has produced an excellent New Deal History. He brings to life New Deal personages, such as General Hugh Johnson, Harod Ickes, Adolph Berle, Benjamin Cohen and Terence Corcoran, Ferdinand Pecora; the agencies and events and professional relationships & politics they were involved in and the social climate that made their decisions, for good or ill, so urgent. The book is convincing in explaining the limits of the New Deal, and pointing out, where, with hindsight, it could have done better. The chapter on race in the New Deal years,"The Most Forgotten Man", was especially sharp and insightful. The concluding chapter is an excellent review of the politics of the New Deal, and reminds the reader why the history of the new deal is especially relevant to understanding the process of political change today. The book is beautifully written, and the gravel tinged voice of the spoken narration was perfect.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful