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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic analysis of the Hundred Days
This is a great little analysis of the Hundred Days of FDR by a famous New Deal/Great Depression historian, Anthony Badger. Even though this book is fairly short (you can read it in one day), it contains a great deal of information for the reader. There is a bibliography at the end so if the reader wants to look at the sources Mr. Badger used or wants to learn more on the...
Published on March 13, 2009 by Heather

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3.0 out of 5 stars Balanced, reasonable.
The beginning of big (US) government. Pluses: neutral, balanced, reasonable. Minuses: dry, academic, not for casual history fans. History or Economics majors will like it more.
Published on September 29, 2011 by J. Rodeck


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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic analysis of the Hundred Days, March 13, 2009
This is a great little analysis of the Hundred Days of FDR by a famous New Deal/Great Depression historian, Anthony Badger. Even though this book is fairly short (you can read it in one day), it contains a great deal of information for the reader. There is a bibliography at the end so if the reader wants to look at the sources Mr. Badger used or wants to learn more on the subject the resources are there.

I absolutely loved this book. I read it cover to cover in less than a day. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Franklin D. Roosevelt, the New Deal, or the infamous Hundred Days.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lifting the Veil, August 31, 2009
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Conservatives denounce the 'First Hundred days' as a plot against capitalism. Socialists lament the lost opportunities resulting from an alleged failure of liberal nerve. Badger sets the record straight in a brilliant fashion, bringing to bear his deep knowledge of congressional politics and his sophisticated grasp of the political forces at play within and outside Washington. Badger's command of the voluminous scholarship on FDR and the New Deal is flawless. No book packs more insight about the early New Deal into fewer pages. Like Patrick J. Maney's "The Roosevelt Presence," Badger's work dispels many myths surrounding the formulation of public policy during the 1930s.The Roosevelt Presence: The Life and Legacy of FDR
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FDR Decided Not to Become A dictator, August 29, 2009
This lively, terse, yet balanced account of FDR's first 100 days actually relates the story of his whole life with all its up and downs, his polio, his infidelity, his ultimate rise to power which hung by a thread at the 1932 Democratic convention.

But most interesting to me was the author's finding an overlooked draft section of his famous first inaugural address ("We have nothing to fear but fear itself") which called for him to assume the powers of a dictator. Advice from many including the most powerful editorial voice of this time, Walter Lippman, was that doing so was the only way to save the country.

FDR decided NOT to do so and with programs like the Citizen Conservation Corps, which ultimately gave jobs and dignity to millions of men and their families, he guided a faltering republic through the difficult economic times of the 1930's.

As we now realize, real recovery had to await WWII, followed by post war years of prosperity, but the republic survived. However, Roosevelt to his everlasting credit was wise enough not to trust even himself with the Emperor's scepter.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Useful perspective for viewing Mr. Obama's first hundred days, January 10, 2010
FDR faced enormous problems, both the dreadful financial crisis in the U.S. as well as politicians of both parties that opposed his initiatives. The book speaks clearly of four appointees and advisors that helped FDR formulate his agenda, sometimes even if he wasn't enthusiastic about some of it. For me, the book's greater value is providing a context to view President Obama's problems. There is one major difference. FDR did not inherit two on-going conflicts and the associated political issues and costs. It is an easy read, but very informative. The background on Harry Hopkins and Francis Perkins is especially interesting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Analysis of New Deal, May 24, 2012
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This review is from: FDR: The First Hundred Days (Critical Issue) (Hardcover)
This is a fairly accessible short book on the first hundred days of Roosevelt's presidency and New Deal policy. The author, Anthony J. Badger, is a celebrated authority on the New Deal era. Badger serves as an excellent guide of the chaotic first 100 days of Roosevelt's presidency. As a mere guide to major policies and events of the early ("first") New Deal, Badger's book is adequate. In other words, the reader will be introduced to the names of the principle individuals and the policy, debates and ideas driving the activity of the first 100 days.

However, Badger seems to have a much more specific aim. Namely, defending the New Deal (more specifically the "first" New Deal) against critics who tend to abstract away from the historical context of actual events and policy formation, and ignore the actual mood and attitudes predominating the "national" consciousness.

The first thing we read is Roosevelt received millions of letters from American citizens. Hoover had one person administer the mail room, Roosevelt needed fifty. These were not ordinary times; Americans were fearful and anxious, above all else suffering. Roosevelt desired to help, and more importantly the currents of history demanded alleviation of suffering (e.g., unemployed, farmers, poor, etc.) and policy to patch-up the structural weaknesses of the U.S. economy (i.e., financial structure, agricultural instability, employment instability, etc.) but the governmental apparatus of the U.S. was exceedingly deficient.

Badger is greatly competent to tell the story of the construction of the New Deal. To this aim, chapters 2 through 6 are dedicated. He indeed briefly describes the response to banking and finance, agricultural and the AAA, the debates about fiscal discipline and a balance budget, the NIRA and NRA fiascos, the creation of public work programs, along with the "failed" international meeting in London. As proficient these chapters are in summarizing the details of the first 100 days, they really serve as a prelude to his conclusion.

Badger main aim is to describe the forces behind the construction of the ("first") New Deal. He resists those who claim the New Deal was a right-wing conspiracy to simply save capitalism. Likewise he rejects the idea that the New Deal was a left-wing conspiracy to socialize the United States. According to Badger the New Deal was a highly eclectic and chaotic response to numerous economic and social forces plaguing the well-being of American society and individuals.

The banking and finance policy and much of the farming policy were inherited from Hoover and the Republicans. Progressive era thought of the nineteenth century, nineteenth century Institutionalist economic thought, and eighteenth and nineteenth century free-market ideology informed policy prescriptions that were created. This attests to Badger's thesis the structural weaknesses preexisted FDR and New Deal policy by several decades.

In Badger's version the New Deal policy surely got some things wrong and some things right. More importantly it was a pragmatic response generated by demands of American citizens. The power brokers of the first 100 days were not the Roosevelt Brain Trust policy makers, nor the Business elite writing their own codes in NIRA policy. Rather the principle agents were U.S. Congresspersons attempting to please and appease their disgruntled constituents and other Americans suffering economically and socially. In short, the currents of history and the dynamics of a young American economy, with its immature and weak institutional structure, which were the real sources behind the changes that took place in the "defining moments" of the twentieth century in those 100 first days of Roosevelt.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Balanced, reasonable., September 29, 2011
This review is from: FDR: The First Hundred Days (Critical Issue) (Hardcover)
The beginning of big (US) government. Pluses: neutral, balanced, reasonable. Minuses: dry, academic, not for casual history fans. History or Economics majors will like it more.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ AND RE-READ!!, February 14, 2009
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P. Tanney "rose" (Clearwater, FL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The book is excellent in presenting the many good things done by President Roosevelt, and also points out some mistakes that were made. On the whole, it was a realistic appraisal of what took place. Many of the things that took place in the first 100 days are being repeated today. Due to the mismanagement of the last eight years and our involvement in a costly and unnecessary war in Iraq, will make it much more difficult for the new President to solve not only our economic probelms, but also our world problems.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In The Shadow Of A Truly Great Book, November 2, 2009
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This is a detailed, informative look at a period in history; a period with many uncomfortable parallels to our own. I don't have anything negative to say about the book.

Unfortunately, it was published not long after a superb book that covered the same subject. If you want to read about FDR's first 100 days, go to Jonathan Alter's "The Defining Moment". It is, pun intended, the defining book on the topic.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important book, December 21, 2008
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Ron (California) - See all my reviews
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Details the early years of FDR's Administration from a journalist's perspective. Easy to read and very informative.
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FDR: The First Hundred Days (Critical Issue)
FDR: The First Hundred Days (Critical Issue) by Anthony J. Badger (Hardcover - May 27, 2008)
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