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Customer Review

on July 20, 2006
David Kennedy's "Freedom from Fear," the 9th volume of the Oxford History of the United States, is a generally exceptionally well researched history covering from the Great Depression to the end of World War II. In this book, Kennedy offers a summary and a synthesis of research by dozens of historians, as well as giving his own personal interpretations of key events and individuals.

I believe most of David Kennedy's interpretations and judgments are well reasoned. However, I disagree with his deemphasis upon the major decline in the stock market between late 1929 - 1931 as one of the main causes of the Great Depression.

Even more so I dissent very strongly with David Kennedy's suggestion the Roosevelt administration should have tried harder to avoid war with Japan by essentially appeasing Japanese aggression against China. To quote from his book, Kennedy writes on page 513: "Why not acquiesce, however complainingly, in the Japanese action in China, reopen at least limited trade with Japan..." Given the fact that Japanese aggression and atrocities in China were as bad or worse as Germany's in Europe by late 1941, I find Kennedy's opinion morally reprehensible.

In general, this is a very good book, covering social, economic, political and military history of the era. However, don't read "Freedom from Fear," expecting to learn much about cultural history in the United States between the Great Depression and World War II.
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