Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (Oxford History of the United States)
David M. Kennedy
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Between 1929 and 1945, two great travails were visited upon the American people: the Great Depression and World War II. This book tells the story of how Americans endured, and eventually prevailed, in the face of those unprecedented calamities.
The Depression was both a disaster and an opportunity. As David Kennedy vividly demonstrates, the economic crisis of the 1930s was far more than a simple reaction to the alleged excesses of the 1920s. For more than a century before 1929, America's unbridled industrial revolution had gyrated through repeated boom and bust cycles, wastefully consuming capital and inflicting untold misery on city and countryside alike.
Freedom From Fear explores how the nation agonized over its role in World War II, how it fought the war, why the United States won, and why the consequences of victory were sometimes sweet, sometimes ironic. In a compelling narrative, Kennedy analyzes the determinants of American strategy, the painful choices faced by commanders and statesmen, and the agonies inflicted on the millions of ordinary Americans who were compelled to swallow their fears and face battle as best they could.
Both comprehensive and colorful, this account of the most convulsive period in American history, excepting only the Civil War, reveals a period that formed the crucible in which modern America was formed.
The Oxford History of the United States
The Atlantic Monthly has praised The Oxford History of the United States as "the most distinguished series in American historical scholarship," a series that "synthesizes a generation's worth of historical inquiry and knowledge into one literally state-of-the-art book. Who touches these books touches a profession."
Conceived under the general editorship of one of the leading American historians of our time, C. Vann Woodward, The Oxford History of the United States blends social, political, economic, cultural, diplomatic, and military history into coherent and vividly written narrative. Previous volumes are Robert Middlekauff's The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution; James M. McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (which won a Pulitzer Prize and was a New York Times Best Seller); and James T. Patterson's Grand Expectations: The United States 1945-1974 (which won a Bancroft Prize).
school—constituting an eightfold increase in high school enrollments since 1900. This, they concluded, was ‘‘evidence of the most successful single effort which government in the United States has ever put forth.’’29 The educational successes of the decade were as costly as they were dramatic. Virtually all of that cost was borne by the states, as were most of the expenditures for improved roads on which to drive all those new automobiles. As a consequence, the indebtedness of the states
poor had traditionally been the responsibility of state and local governments and private charities, but their combined resources were no match for the enormous national calamity they now confronted. Many states that tried to raise more money for relief by increasing taxes faced revolts from angry and hard-pressed citizens. Almost all state and local governments had by 1932 exhausted their legal or market-dictated borrowing capacity. Pennsylvania, for example, was constitutionally prohibited from
an athlete’s torso, big shoulder muscles bunched under his jacket. His vibrant good cheer was contagious. He radiated warmth and exuberance that washed over others as soon as they entered the room. He greeted visitors with easy familiarity, his upper body vigorously animated above the limp trousers and curiously unworn shoes that rested immobile below. He gestured and spoke with good-natured, head-tossing brio. His hands incessantly ﬂourished a quill-tipped cigarette holder that ﬂashed from his
Roosevelt did the talking—all of it. His compulsive garrulity may have originated as a calculated device to divert a listener’s 23. Moley, After Seven Years, 11, 20. 24. Schlesinger 1:452. 114 freedom from fear attention from his physical handicap. It may have been merely one more of his abundant techniques of personal and political mastery over others. But from whatever ultimate source, a Niagara of verbiage would usually fall upon a visitor even as he walked through the door to greet
knowledge of the complicated accounting and valuation procedures employed in the public utilities industry, thought Tugwell, ‘‘was worthy of a lifelong student.’’25 His advanced views on this subject endeared him to progressives. Accompanied by the great paladin of public power, George Norris, Roosevelt had paid an emotional visit to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, in January 1933. Wilson Dam at Muscle Shoals on the Tennessee River had been built by the federal government during World War I to facilitate