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4.0 out of 5 stars A Different Side of FDR and his New Dealers, July 31, 2007
This review is from: The New Dealers' War: FDR And The War Within World War II (Paperback)
Upon the heels of the Second World War, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and those who helped to breathe life to the various programs that drove the US out of the Great Depression saw various programs quickly fade in light of US involvement during World War II. Thomas Fleming writes of FDR and the men associated and shaped these socio-economic programs in his book, THE NEW DEALER'S WAR: FDR AND THE WAR WITHIN WORLD WAR II. The book contains detailed accounts about FDR's presidency, which strips the demigod image, and rather portrays a gravely ill man who gave one of the shortest inaugural speeches, five minutes, in American history. The premise of Fleming's examination focuses on two fronts, FDR's plan for an unconditional surrender to Japan and the New Dealers' never ending battle on the home front between politicians and businessmen to maintain their reign within the government.

Fleming writes with much fluidity as he revises this part of American history that as usually been painted as a flawless picture. THE NEW DEALER'S WAR reveals the enormous distrust in politics and broken alliances that occurred during FDR's presidency, and numerous adversaries that Roosevelt negotiated and argued with interspersed with historic events on the battlefield in Europe and the Pacific. Indeed, Roosevelt and his New Dealers, Henry Wallace, Harold Ickes, and Henry Morgenthau, fought an ongoing battle in order maintain the status quo in the government and the political arena.

While reading the book, Fleming suggests that history is not memory. Thus he draws emphasis on the romanticized version of Roosevelt's presidency before World War II, but magnifies the quick downward spiral amidst the changing political and international landscape during the beginning and height of World War II. One of the interesting aspects of this book is that Fleming fittingly and subtly shows Truman emerging from the shadows upon Roosevelt's passing in the concluding chapters; indeed, he quickly cleaned house and passed legislation geared towards social and civil reform.

THE NEW DEALER'S WAR is recommended reading that tells another side of one of the most pivotal periods in American history. Fleming's narrative provides an interesting perspective of the New Deal era that goes beyond textbook depictions, and shows how a nation progressed politically and economically during a time when the world was at conflict at home and abroad.
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