Mr. Schivelbusch, in this remarkably well researched and startling book draws parallels between the programs and leadership styles of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Franklin Roosevelt. He shows how many similarities there were to be found between each of these very different men. His purpose is not to demonize FDR, excuse the Nazis and Fascists or even to mitigate the failure of the average German and Italian to stand up their leaders. It is, rather, to provide a warning to the future that populism can shift from the benign to the monstrous. It is must reading for the general reader.
Having been a fan of Mr Schivelbusch's varied work for many years, I recently had the opportunity to dine with him at the home of friends of mine. I was interested to learn that he was a man of the Left, whose views were very different from mine. It is a tribute to his ability as a scholar that I never would have guessed his affiliations. He follows the truth where he finds it and never lets his own biases seep into his work.
He is a careful and diligent researcher. By way of example, T. Harry Williams' Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Huey Long merely casts doubt on those who attribute to Long the most famous of his quotes to the effect that "when Fascism comes to America, it will come in the guise of anti-Fascism." Williams does not make any serious attempt to track down the origin of the attribution, something you would expect from the author of a nearly 1000 page biography. In this short work, in a learned and careful footnote, Schivelbusch offers a variety of possible sources for this quote. THAT is careful research!
I highly recommend Three New Deals.