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FDR: The First Hundred Days (Critical Issue) Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 27, 2008
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“With insight, great judiciousness, and extremely well-ordered pacing, Badger, an expert in American history at Cambridge University, reviews the pieces of legislation and analyzes their effectiveness. An important book in contributing to a complete picture of twentieth-century U.S. history that is clear and accessible.” —Booklist
“Lively, compact, and balanced, FDR: The First Hundred Days captures the New Deal’s first burst of legislation, when the President and Congress united behind creative proposals for recovery from the nation’s worse economic collapse and reform of the system that caused it.” —Donald A. Ritchie, author of Electing FDR: The New Deal Campaign of 1932
“Few historians have written as intelligently about the New Deal as Tony Badger. FDR: The First Hundred Days offers a fast-paced narrative and balanced analysis of Roosevelt’s efforts to lift the United States out of highly desperate times.” —James T. Patterson, author of Congressional Conservatism and the New Deal and Federalism in Transition: The New Deal and the States
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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
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. Read morePublished on November 2, 2009 by Shoe-aholic
The book is excellent in presenting the many good things done by President Roosevelt, and also points out some mistakes that were made. Read morePublished on February 14, 2009 by P. Tanney