Synopses & Reviews
'Starting in the mid-1930s, a handful of prominent American businessmen forged alliances with the aim of rescuing America--and their profit margins--from socialism and the \"nanny state.\" Long before the \"culture wars\" usually associated with the rise of conservative politics, these driven individuals funded think tanks, fought labor unions, and formed organizations to market their views. These nearly unknown, larger-than-life, and sometimes eccentric personalities--such as GE\'s zealous, silver-tongued Lemuel Ricketts Boulware and the self-described \"revolutionary\" Jasper Crane of DuPont--make for a fascinating, behind-the-scenes view of American history.
The winner of a prestigious academic award for her original research on this book, Kim Phillips-Fein is already being heralded as an important new young American historian. Her meticulous research and narrative gifts reveal the dramatic story of a pragmatic, step-by-step, check-by-check campaign to promote an ideological revolution--one that ultimately helped propel conservative ideas to electoral triumph.'
"Starred Review. Combining piquant profiles of corporate firebrands with a trenchant historical analysis . . . Phillips-Fein makes an important contribution to our understanding of American conservatism." Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. Engaging history from a talented new scholarly voice." Kirkus Reviews
In the wake of the profound economic crisis known as the Great Depression, a group of high-powered individuals joined forces to campaign against the New Deal--not just its practical policies but the foundations of its economic philosophy. The titans of the National Association of Manufacturers and the chemicals giant DuPont, together with little-known men like W. C. Mullendore, Leonard Read, and Jasper Crane, championed European thinkers Friedrich von Hayek and Ludwig von Mises and their fears of the "nanny state." Through fervent activism, fundraising, and institution-building, these men sought to educate and organize their peers as a political force to preserve their profit margins and the "American way" of doing business. In the public relations department of General Electric, they would find the perfect spokesman: Ronald Reagan.
tells the story of how a small group of American businessmen succeeded in building a political movement. Long before the "culture wars" of the 1960s sparked the Republican backlash against cultural liberalism, these high-powered individuals actively resisted New Deal economics and sought to educate and organize their peers. Kim Phillips-Fein recounts the little-known efforts of men such as W. C. Mullendore, Leonard Read, and Jasper Crane, drawing on meticulous research and narrative gifts to craft a compelling history of the role of big and small business in American politics--and a blueprint for anyone who wants insight into the way that money has been used to create political change.
"A compelling and readable story of resistance to the new economic order."--
'A narrative history of the influential businessmen who fought to roll back the New Deal.\n
About the Author
Kim Phillips-Fein won the Bancroft Dissertation Prize for her research on Invisible Hands. She has written for The Nation, The Baffler, and many other publications. She is an assistant professor at the Gallatin School of New York University and lives in New York City.