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The Crisis of the Old Order: 1919-1933, The Age of Roosevelt, Volume I Paperback – July 9, 2003
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Top Customer Reviews
While narrating the events of the U.S., Schlesinger skillfully weaves the story of the rising Franklin D. Roosevelt. Part biography, he primarily follows the political career of FDR as he rises from the State Senate to Assistant Secretary of the Navy to Governor of New York. While Roosevelt is rising, Herbert Hoover is shown as losing touch with the nation and the demands of the presidency. The evolving relationship between Roosevelt and Al Smith is revealed layer by layer. This book ends where it began, on Inauguration Day, 1933.
I appreciate a book which helps me to see things differently than I had before. This one meets that test. I had long viewed Roosevelt's unwillingness to support Hoover's initiatives to meet the crisis as a petty politician's use of the nation's misery for personal gain. Schlesinger explains Hoover's messianic belief that only he and his policies can change America and shows his post- election proposals for action to be in the nature of a last attempt to snatch policy victories from the ashes of political defeat. It gives me a greater respect for FDR than I had before this reading.Read more ›
This renowned book is also an important look at the American political process and, in general, political science. If you are student of American history or politics, this book is essential reading.
However, general readers interested in President Franklin Roosevelt should read a good biography of Franklin Roosevelt first before reading this history of the Great Depression era. The best FDR biographies tend to have more information.
"The Crisis of the Old Order" brilliantly covers the years leading up to the Great Depression and then the three long years of Depression under the Republican Congress and Herbert Hoover. The facts are reported as if you were there. Hoover callously said that unemployed people desperately selling apples in the streets were actually doing so because selling apples paid more than their regular jobs. His image was made worse by the Hoovervilles where unemployed people lived in small shacks. The tone of the book is slightly sympathetic to Roosevelt.
By the way, during the economic contraction, Hoover's Secretary of Treasury, Mellon, deliberately sought a policy of contraction, waging war on workers, when he should have been providing liquidity to the system. Hoover's treasury secretary was the worst. He came out and said to squeeze them all, which was a disaster.Read more ›
Schlesinger argues that the institutional structure of United States went through significant transformations, economically, demographically, and technologically. The American government failed to adapt itself to these changes. The roots the Great Depression are to a great degree caused by a failure to adjust to new economic circumstances. Thus, once the depression manifest the American government had no institutional infrastructure to put the economy back on track. From 1930 to 1932, the Hoover Administration allowed an economic crisis turn into a socio-political calamity, with its commitment to a balanced budget and personal responsibility. Thus although initially Hoover attempted to aid business, provide farm relief and conduct public works, it quickly abandoned any serious effort in such direction because of a failure to realize the shifts in the American economy. Schlesinger spends many pages critiquing Hoover and the "crisis of the old order.
Hoover's inability to understand the changing institutional structure of the American economy and the rise of big business and its dominance cost him the election to Roosevelt. Roosevelt however, also underestimated the changed nature of the American economy.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a superb study of FDRs political education and maturation, told in the context of his times. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Michael Lapelosa
This is a highly readable history that ably exposes and explores the origins of the planned economy (i.e. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Michael Green
Schleisinger does an admirable job of setting the context for FDR's rise to the top in American politics. This is not an academic book but it is detailed. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Hurricane
Absolutely great, especially the development of ideas about central planning during the post-World-War period. Now I have a better idea what Hayek was protesting against.Published 14 months ago by Roger Merritt
Schlesinger had a thorough, deep understanding of the circumstances, events, and players. Anyone interested in U.S. history or current events will value this book. Read morePublished on December 26, 2013 by SDG
valuable information on the era and the feel of the time. has the level of detail and perspective that makes Schlesinger's name such a drawPublished on January 11, 2013 by TB