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Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal: 1932-1940 Paperback – February 24, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“The best one-volume study of Franklin D. Roosevelt.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

“Any list of the New Deal’s premier historians must include Leuchtenburg.” (Library Journal)

About the Author

William E. Leuchtenburg is William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor Emeritus of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (February 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061836966
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061836961
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I heard a lot about another book on this subject, "The Forgotten Man" by journalist and former WSJ editorialist Amity Shlaes, but decided to read this one instead. The few scholarly people whose reviews of the Shlae's book I found online weren't impressed with it as the author clearly used selected statistics to try to make an ideological point. I wanted to read something by a historian who was a respected scholar in the field so I picked this book. This book is jammed full of facts as to the political, economic and social environment and as a result it is somewhat slow reading. However, it is an excellent and thorough book. The author clearly doesn't idolize or villify FDR - which makes him more credible than many other authors who have written about this period.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
William E. Leuchtenburg's "Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal" is a shrewd appraisal of the legacy of one of the most controversial efforts ever undertaken by the federal government. It is hard to read Leuchtenburg's history without drawing parallels to the perils now facing the United States in late 2011. It may be fairly said that an American's views on FDR and the New Deal serve as accurate predictors of his politics--liberals applaud the New Deal and its effect on improving the lives of millions crushed by the depression, while conservatives criticize it as ineffectual and the primary cause of the massive federal deficits which vex us today. Although an avowed admirer of Roosevelt, Leuchtenburg has studiously avoided producing a mere homage to liberalism. Through a dispassionate observation of what actually took place during the tumultuous years of 1932-1940, he paints a picture that is nearly as often at odds with cherished liberal principles as it is with common caricatures of FDR and the New Deal which abound on the right.

Many Americans today cannot appreciate the magnitude of the crisis which followed the stock market crash of 1929. National income had been halved. Over 5,000 banks had crashed, wiping out nine million savings accounts. Millions suffered the effects of hunger and malnutrition. "We are like the drounding [sic] man, grabbing at every thing that flotes by, trying to save what little we have," reported a North Carolinian. Fifty hungry men in Chicago fought over a barrel of garbage left outside the back of a restaurant. Men in Stockton, California waded through the city dump in search of rotted vegetables. Hundreds of children were kept out of school nationwide due to a lack of clothes. Hundreds of World War I veterans occupied buildings outside of Washington D.
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Format: Paperback
A former Senate Historian (Dr. Alan Baker) observed that since the 1960s the number of books by historians on big topics dealing with American government and politics declined drastically. Political scientists who moved in to fill the gap tended to take up fragmented theoretical themes. Trade and popular books have tended to have biases of one kind or other or fail to provide the kind of breadth and documentation that has been traditional for historians.

In short, counterintuitiely, information on earlier history of the U.S. available in modern sources is harder to find and less reliable than in older literature. As the other positive reviewers suggest, Leuchtenburg's book on the New Deal is therefore an indispensable source of detailed and balanced information on that critical time in American history. Fore me it's among a handful of essential volumes on American government and politics. Others that can be mentioned include Paul van Riper, The History of the U.S. Civil Service, 1958, Eric Foner on the Reconstruction Period, and Richard Morris and William Greenleaf "USA The History of a Nation, Volume 2" , 1967. for history from the Civil War to Truman. I have been unable to find and buy a copy of v. 1- let me know if anyone can help. The best more modern (relatively) U.S. history I have found that gets into contemporary issues of race, feminism, newer research on the role of disease in decimating American Indian populations, etc. is Alan Brinkley's "The Unfinished Nation", 1993. However, Brinkley almost totally omits much of Gilded Age politics, corruption, reform movements culminating in the Progressive Era, and takes a somewhat fashion-oriented liberal view of the New Deal.
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Format: Paperback
The best book on the New Deal is The New Deal: A Modern History. It is balanced and extremely well researched by a Pulitzer Prize-winning business journalist. I advise that book first as a near masterpiece of historical writing. It is far and away the best book.

This book, Franklin D Roosevelt and the New Deal, is the next best book on the New Deal. Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 also is good but I would read "The New Deal: A Modern History first."

I also recommend a great FDR biography, such as the ones by Jean Edward Smith, H.W. Brands, Conrad Black, Frank Freidel and Doris Kearns Goodwin.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book after reading "New Deal or Raw Deal" and wanted to learn more about Roosevelt's presidency. This book was very thorough in presenting the policies of the president amidst the bad economy.
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