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Harry Hopkins: Sudden Hero, Brash Reformer (Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute Series on Diplomati) Hardcover – February 15, 1999


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Product Details

  • Series: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute Series on Diplomati
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 1St Edition edition (February 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312212062
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312212063
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,613,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

A scholarly biography of one of the great American policy makers and innovators of the 20th century. Hopkins was among the most powerful advisors to Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the New Deal and Second World War. He was in on the creation of some of the boldest experiments in social welfare reform and government assistance to the poor in the nation's history. And he headed many of the national relief agencies that helped to carry millions of Americans through the Great Depression and left enduring legacies to current social policies. Yet this man, so identified with succor and relief in such American cities as New Orleans, Atlanta, and New York, was a son of small-town Iowa. What propelled him from modest origins to the pinnacle of national influence is the subject of this academic study by his granddaughter. Adding to existing scholarship about the man and the work in which he was for decades so deeply involved, Hopkins (History/Armstrong Atlantic State Univ.) emphasizes her grandfather's upbringing and education in the world of Grinnell, Iowa, where he also attended its renowned college and drank deep draughts of the Social Gospel and Christian activism. In concentrating on his preNew Deal social workthe freshest part of her bookHopkins reveals her ancestor's openness to new thought and experience and his easy respect for and reliance on women for ideas and guidance. There's still, however, a whiff of the dissertation about the book; we don't get as much sense of who this man was, strange when the biographer is also a close family member. Nevertheless, Hopkins's research adds considerably to the history of modern American welfare policy. (7 b&w photos, not seen) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

About the Author

June Hopkins is assistant professor of history at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, GA. She is Harry Hopkins' granddaughter.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Giordano Bruno on March 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Among the more bombastic and preposterous myths of the anarcho-capitalists and libertarians these days is the strongly-held conviction that Harry Hopkins was a Soviet agent. This reverent biography by Hopkins's granddaughter says nothing at all about alleged spying. The anti-FDR crowd can be heard already howling Big Surprise! while the pro-FDR cohort will frown Why would she? there's nothing to it. Honestly, partisans, it doesn't matter, unless you seriously hope to impugn Roosevelt's patriotism also. Do you?

Hopkins was closer to Roosevelt for longer, and had more influence on his economic thinking, than almost any other member of the "Brain Trust." To what degree their aspirations and intentions coincided is an important question in assessing the long-term impact of the New Deal. It's often assumed that Hopkins was the paraclete and FDR the exegete, or shall we say, Hopkins the mind and FDR the hand. Unfortunately the current title doesn't offer the sophisticated long-term historical perspective, or the grasp of labor history in particular, to help much with that assessment. It's an action-hero sort of bio, and not too bad as such, though Harry's sort of heroism will hardly grab the average reader.

The best part of the book comes early, as Ms. Hopkins traces the roots of her grandfather's social conscience in the Social Gospel movement. The programs of the New Deal, which Hopkins helped write, didn't spring out of thin air; proposals for government regulation of working conditions, pension plans, steeply graduated income taxes, the use of building projects to jump start the economy, unemployment insurance, and other reforms were not so new.
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Harry Hopkins was influential in the social safety net movement that created modern America and led to the many programs that we take for granted today. Some of these were things like aid to families with dependent children,unemployment compensation, social security and many other important safety net programs. He also worked and helped to create programs that started during the great depression (WPA,CCC,NRA & others) which became part of the New Deal. Harry Hopkins also became a trusted adviser and part of the inner circle to President Roosevelt During World War 2. He met with Stalin & Churchill to convey the President's wishes.

His story is very inspiring and moving.

Sam Thomas
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By A. Scott on April 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
Harry Hopkins is one of those (at least largely) unsung heroes of history. This book, despite the author's family ties, is a fair and very interesting account. I used it for a paper for college and it helped out a lot.
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10 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The reader from PA is a quack. There is no evidence, Venoma included, that proves Hopkins a Soviet spy! There were many in the Roosevelt Administration, especially in the Treasury Department, but among those closest to FDR Hopkins was not a spy.
Hopkins' book is excellent and should be read in conjunction with the works by McJimsey, Tuttle, and Sherwood.
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