Synopses & Reviews
On October 24, 1929, America met the greatest economic devastation it had ever known. In this first installment of his Pulitzer Prize-winning Freedom from Fear
, Kennedy tells how America endured, and eventually prevailed, in the face of that unprecedented calamity.
Kennedy vividly demonstrates that the economic crisis of the 1930s was more than a reaction to the excesses of the 1920s. For more than a century before the Crash, America's unbridled industrial revolution had gyrated through repeated boom and bust cycles, consuming capital and inflicting misery on city and countryside alike. Nor was the alleged prosperity of the 1920s as uniformly shared as legend portrays. Countless Americans eked out threadbare lives on the margins of national life.
Roosevelt's New Deal wrenched opportunity from the trauma of the 1930s and created a lasting legacy of economic and social reform, but it was afflicted with shortcomings and contradictions as well. With an even hand Kennedy details the New Deal's problems and defeats, as well as its achievements. He also sheds fresh light on its incandescent but enigmatic author, Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Marshalling unforgettable narratives that feature prominent leaders as well as lesser-known citizens, The American People in the Great Depression tells the story of a resilient nation finding courage in an unrelenting storm.
"A grand historical synthesis...this is the kind of book prizes are made for."--Chicago Tribune
"An elegant book, beautifully written and remarkably quick to read. In the realm of narrative history, as the saying goes, it doesn't get any better than this.... The author is both a master at guiding the reader through the diplomatic thicket of that era and a first-rate chronicler of the invasions, land campaigns, sea battles, and air strikes in every theater of the War."--David M. Oshinsky, The New Leader
"This is modern America's story--modern America's most thrilling, most irresistible, and most significant story--and in this massive volume, David M. Kennedy makes it his story in a way that no one has before. Freedom from Fear, the fourth installment of the new Oxford History of the United States to appear, is as much a triumph as its predecessors, providing every indication that the series, once completed, will stand as the most comprehensive and most compelling narrative history of the nation."--David M. Shribman, Boston Globe
"One of our most broad-gauged American historians brings us that increasing rarity: a big book about a big subject.... The Stanford scholar takes on the job of tracing the American people through three of the most important and important and widely written about epochs in the century...and provides us with consistently original and sometimes startling conclusions."--The Washington Post
About the Author
David M. Kennedy
is Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History at Stanford University. He is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945
. He is also the author of Over Here: The First World War and American Society
, which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and Birth Control in America: The Career of Margaret Sanger
, which won the Bancroft Prize. He lives in Stanford, California.