- Hardcover: 213 pages
- Publisher: University Press of Mississippi; 1 edition (March 7, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 161703956X
- ISBN-13: 978-1617039560
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,842,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Trouble in Goshen: Plain Folk, Roosevelt, Jesus, and Marx in the Great Depression South 1st Edition
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The Amazon Book Review
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"This is the most intimate and intricate study available of the visionary economic experiments that Americans undertook in the rural South during the Great Depression. Three careful case studies open up a vast range of theory and practice. The New Deal spawned two of the three; Christian socialists tried to move to the left of the New Deal in launching the third. With great learning and often sparkling wit, Fred Smith places these experiments in the long-term historical context of agricultural reform in American ideology and society. He sifts through the voluminous data of how the most ambitious and thoughtful plans for economic recovery worked out on the ground in the 1930s. He painstakingly narrates the often gripping story of why those plans failed: poverty and desperation did not extinguish the striving of ordinary Americans for individual freedom in their day-to-day working lives. Economic crisis did not cure the catastrophic arrogance of the privileged classes, even when they had benevolent motives and the best educations money could buy. It is a story full of thought-provoking surprises. Smith avoids both nostalgia and the condescension of hindsight in his unflinchingly non-partisan investigation of the human dimensions of America's greatest economic failure. While granting the justifiably popular successes of New Deal programs and their often tragically disappointing limitations and undeniable waste, he challenges the blithe blindness that unites left, right, and middle to this day in their faith that their ideas will be able to get modern capitalism out of the trouble it keeps getting into. If you want ammunition to advance your side's brilliant solutions, don't read this book. If you are willing to learn that we all need to go back to the drawing board, and start with a little humility, you may be ready for the tough truths this book has to teach."
--David L. Chappell, author of A Stone of Hope: Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow and Waking from the Dream: The Struggle for Civil Rights in the Shadow of Martin Luther King, Jr.
"This is history with a purpose: to learn from the efforts of federal government and Christian and social reformers, who established agricultural and biracial cooperative communities in Mississippi and Arkansas in the mid-1930s. Grounded in intensive research and informed by broad historiographical familiarity, the book is clear in its conclusion: the effort to shape and limit the aspirations of community members and would-be members undercut the good intentions of the New Deal reformers; future efforts must keep this in mind. The judgment is driven home in rich prose and anecdotes."
--David Moltke-Hansen, past president of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and past director of the Southern Historical Collection and the Center for the Study of the American South
About the Author
Fred C. Smith, Tupelo, Mississippi, is visiting assistant professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi. He is a contributor to Justice and Violence: Political Violence, Pacifism, and Cultural Transformation, and his work has appeared in the Journal of Mississippi History, Agricultural History, Florida Historical Quarterly, Southern Historian, and Mississippi History Now.
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