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Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War 1929-1945 (Oxford History of the United States) Paperback – 30 Aug 2001

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Product details

  • Paperback: 992 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA; New Ed edition (30 Aug. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195144031
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195144031
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 5.7 x 15.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 110,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review


"A grand historical synthesis...this is the kind of book prizes are made for."--Chicago Tribune


"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." --Boston Globe


"Rarely does a work of historical synthesis combine such trenchant analysis and elegant writing as does Kennedy's spectacular contribution to the Oxford History of the United States. Kennedy uses a wide canvas to depict all aspects of the American political, social and economic experience from 1929 to 1945. He also provides a stunningly original reinterpretation of the competing forces and interests that combined to shape the New Deal under FDR's direction. The book's final 400 pages admirably demonstrate exactly how the U.S. emerged victorious in WWII.... Because of its scope, its insight and its purring narrative engine, Kennedy's book will stand for years to come as the definitive history of the most important decades of the American Century." --Publishers Weekly


"An engrossing narrative of a momentous time. The best one-volume account of the Roosevelt era currently available.... Good old-fashioned history."-- The New York Times Book Review


"An indispensable account of the two great formative events of 20th century American history--the Great Depression and the second World War."--The Economist


"The book...has my strong approval. As it will have, I cannot doubt, that of the many readers it deserves."--John C. Gilbraith, The Washington Monthly


"An invaluable compendium of the hyperactive period that contains the Great depression and the Second World War."--The Washington Times


"Kennedy's book is the most illuminating, riveting, comprehensive, and graceful one-volume history of this nation's experiences during the Great Depression, New Deal, and WWII published to date.... This is social, political, dipolmatic, and military history written magisterially with broad but nuanced strokes across a 16-year span that utterly transformed the lives of Americans and the world.... Librarians should order this book for their libraries, faculty members should assign it, and everyone should read it."--Choice


"Kennedy's grasp of deep-rooted social problems and his enlightening, analytical style are very much in evidence.... [he] brilliantly explores the conflicting nuances of [Roosevelt's] character and program.... Kennedy has achieved a judicious balance in his treatment of the Depression and the military operations and diplomatic maneuvers of World War II. His narrative style is in the grand tradition of American historical writing, an unfaltering display of clarity and detail."--Philadephia Inquirer


"No other book so vividly captures the spirit of those 17 years that forever changed America."-- Christian Science Monitor


"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


"A major achievement in objective historical writing that should be a legacy to generations of students seeking authoritative reference material on the period."--Kirkus Reviews


"David Kennedy...is absolutely masterful in this literate and lively history of the American people in the Depression and World War II."--The Waterbury Republican-American


"From its dramatic prelude depicting Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, and Joseph Stalin hearing the news of the end of World War I on November 11, 1918, to its moving climax on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, this panoramic narrative pulses with life, color, incident, and action. We know how it all comes out, yet the fate of the nation seems to hang in the balance as Kennedy captures history's throat-catching contingency." --Jack Beatty, author of The Rascal King: The Life and Times of James Michael Curley and The World According to Peter Drucker


"We expect the best from David Kennedy and he will not disappoint anybody with this competent, complete and literate volume. Covering a time of large and intense change, it is all here. A major and thoroughly fine piece of work."--John Kenneth Galbraith


Freedom from Fear brings together in one place the epic story of how America faced the greatest challenges in its history. At a time when we tend to bemoan our selfish preoccupations, it is bracing to read David Kennedy's moving account of our better selves. This is history the way it ought to be.-- Alan Wolfe, Boston University, author of One Nation After All


"Displaying a literary craft uncommon in survey works, he has woven together narrative, sketches of character, and critical judgment to record and analyze the economic, political, social, and military events of these epic years.... This account of the crucial struggles and events of the Depression and war years will lend perspective like few others."--Library Journal


"David Kennedy is one of America's most distinguished historians, and Freedom from Fear is a remarkable achievement: deeply researched, insightful, and beautifully written. Fast-paced, it presents vivid portraits of major actors such as Roosevelt, Churchill, and Hitler, as well as of the hopes and fears of millions of lesser-known people caught up in the tumultuous years of the Great Depression and of World War II."--James T. Patterson, Bancroft Prize-winning author of Grand Expectations





"A grand historical synthesis...this is the kind of book prizes are made for."--Chicago Tribune


"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." --Boston Globe


"Rarely does a work of historical synthesis combine such trenchant analysis and elegant writing as does Kennedy's spectacular contribution to the Oxford History of the United States. Kennedy uses a wide canvas to depict all aspects of the American political, social and economic experience from 1929 to 1945. He also provides a stunningly original reinterpretation of the competing forces and interests that combined to shape the New Deal under FDR's direction. The book's final 400 pages admirably demonstrate exactly how the U.S. emerged victorious in WWII.... Because of its scope, its insight and its purring narrative engine, Kennedy's book will stand for years to come as the definitive history of the most important decades of the American Century." --Publishers Weekly


"An engrossing narrative of a momentous time. The best one-volume account of the Roosevelt era currently available.... Good old-fashioned history."-- The New York Times Book Review


"An indispensable account of the two great formative events of 20th century American history--the Great Depression and the second World War."--The Economist


"The book...has my strong approval. As it will have, I cannot doubt, that of the many readers it deserves."--John C. Gilbraith, The Washington Monthly


"An invaluable compendium of the hyperactive period that contains the Great depression and the Second World War."--The Washington Times


"Kennedy's book is the most illuminating, riveting, comprehensive, and graceful one-volume history of this nation's experiences during the Great Depression, New Deal, and WWII published to date.... This is social, political, dipolmatic, and military history written magisterially with broad but nuanced strokes across a 16-year span that utterly transformed the lives of Americans and the world.... Librarians should order this book for their libraries, faculty members should assign it, and everyone should read it."--Choice


"Kennedy's grasp of deep-rooted social problems and his enlightening, analytical style are very much in evidence.... [he] brilliantly explores the conflicting nuances of [Roosevelt's] character and program.... Kennedy has achieved a judicious balance in his treatment of the Depression and the military operations and diplomatic maneuvers of World War II. His narrative style is in the grand tradition of American historical writing, an unfaltering display of clarity and detail."--Philadephia Inquirer


"No other book so vividly captures the spirit of those 17 years that forever changed America."-- Christian Science Monitor


"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


"A major achievement in objective historical writing that should be a legacy to generations of students seeking authoritative reference material on the period."--Kirkus Reviews


"David Kennedy...is absolutely masterful in this literate and lively history of the American people in the Depression and World War II."--The Waterbury Republican-American


"From its dramatic prelude depicting Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, and Joseph Stalin hearing the news of the end of World War I on November 11, 1918, to its moving climax on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, this panoramic narrative pulses with life, color, incident, and action. We know how it all comes out, yet the fate of the nation seems to hang in the balance as Kennedy captures history's throat-catching contingency." --Jack Beatty, author of The Rascal King: The Life and Times of James Michael Curley and The World According to Peter Drucker


"We expect the best from David Kennedy and he will not disappoint anybody with this competent, complete and literate volume. Covering a time of large and intense change, it is all here. A major and thoroughly fine piece of work."--John Kenneth Galbraith


Freedom from Fear brings together in one place the epic story of how America faced the greatest challenges in its history. At a time when we tend to bemoan our selfish preoccupations, it is bracing to read David Kennedy's moving account of our better selves. This is history the way it ought to be.-- Alan Wolfe, Boston University, author of One Nation After All


"Displaying a literary craft uncommon in survey works, he has woven together narrative, sketches of character, and critical judgment to record and analyze the economic, political, social, and military events of these epic years.... This account of the crucial struggles and events of the Depression and war years will lend perspective like few others."--Library Journal


"David Kennedy is one of America's most distinguished historians, and Freedom from Fear is a remarkable achievement: deeply researched, insightful, and beautifully written. Fast-paced, it presents vivid portraits of major actors such as Roosevelt, Churchill, and Hitler, as well as of the hopes and fears of millions of lesser-known people caught up in the tumultuous years of the Great Depression and of World War II."--James T. Patterson, Bancroft Prize-winning author of Grand Expectations


From the Publisher

An exciting new book that spans the Great Depression to WWII
IN THE TRADITION OF JAMES McPHERSON’S BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM, JAMES PATTERSON’S GRAND EXPECTATIONS AND ROBERT MIDDLEKAUFF’S THE GLORIOUS CAUSE COMES THE LATEST IN THE AWARD-WINNING OXFORD HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES SERIES: DAVID M. KENNEDY’S FREEDOM FROM FEAR.

Here Kennedy Reevaluates the Hoover and Roosevelt Presidencies, The Great Depression, and The New Deal; and Vividly Brings to Life the Major Military and Naval Battles of World War II.

"This is an enormous book, heavy to carry and light and very agreeable to read. David Kennedy is merciless to fact and detail but very kind to the reader... [FREEDOM FROM FEAR] has my strong approval. As it will have, I cannot doubt, that of the many readers it deserves." --John Kenneth Galbraith, The Washington Monthly

"Displaying a literary craft…[Kennedy] has woven together narrative, sketches of character, and critical judgment to record and analyze the economic, political, social, and military events of these epic years… This account of the crucial struggles and events of the Depression and war years will lend perspective like few others." --Library Journal

In FREEDOM FROM FEAR: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945, the first comprehensive study that spans the Depression, the New Deal and World War II eras, Bancroft Award-winning historian David M. Kennedy tells the story of three of the most formative events in modern American history. Here Kennedy situates American history in the context of the world historical events developments of the era, including global economic crisis, the rise of Nazism, and Japan’s quest for empire in Asia.

In FREEDOM FROM FEAR, an important addition to the award-winning The Oxford History of the United States series, Kennedy examines in detail America’s greatest economic crisis ever, and sheds light on all contemporary comparisons with that event. It also documents the techniques of presidential leadership developed by Franklin Roosevelt, arguably the most effective and consequential president of the century, and critically discusses the nature of FDR’s great reform legacy. Finally, the book rehearses the momentous debate between 1935 and 1941 about American foreign policy, a debate that ended with American intervention in World War II and the end (for a time, at least) of a century and a half of isolationism – a debate that still echoes in discussions for foreign policy today.

Kennedy addresses major controversies, such as: causes of the Depression, the Hoover presidency, the failures and successes of the New Deal, the role of Depression-era demagogues like Father Charles Coughlin and Senator Huey Long, the rise of organized labor, the origins of Social Security, the "Constitutional Revolution" of 1937, the origins of WWII, the Pearl Harbor attack, the emergence of the American-British-Russian "Grand Alliance," the internment of Japanese-Americans in wartime, the American society in wartime, the Second Front debate, the liabilities of the "unconditional surrender" policy, the nature of the air war waged against Germany and Japan, the development of atomic weapons, and the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Ultimately, FREEDOM FROM FEAR tells the story of how Americans endured, and finally prevailed in the face of two back-to-back calamities: The Great Depression and WWII. Kennedy describes the Depression’s impact in vivid detail, and documents the New Deal’s effort to wring lasting social and economic reform out of the Depression crisis. Kennedy also offers a compelling narrative of America’s engagement in World War II, including fresh analyses of how and why America won, and the lasting consequences of American victory. Covering what are the most influential years of the 20th century, FREEDOM FROM FEAR is an exciting narrative of the foundations of modern America.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR David M. Kennedy is Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History at Stanford University. He is the author of Over Here: The First World War and American Society, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and Birth Control in America: The Career of Margaret Sanger, which won a Bancroft Prize. He lives in Stanford, California.

ABOUT 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). Future volumes include the work of such distinguished historians as Gordon S. Wood, Timothy Breen, James Patterson, and Michael McGerr. FREEDOM FROM FEAR FACT SHEET

In this new book, David Kennedy…

· Rehabilitates the reputation of Herbert Hoover, who is rendered here as in many ways a forerunner of the New Deal. · Examines the "old poor," who were not impoverished by the Depression, but were among the era’s most ravaged victims. These people were 1/3 of the nation who had not prospered in the "affluent" 20s. · Explains the economic causes and consequences of the Great Depression in non-technical language. · Vividly renders the human face of both Depression and War with personal stories. · Analyses the causes of the Great Depression, with important implications for assessing the prospects of a comparable calamity in our own era. · Makes clear the relationship between America’s deepest economic crisis and the most prolific moment of political and social reform in American history. · The first major re-interpretation of the New Deal era in a generation or more. · Shows the importance of immigrant and minority communities to the shaping of the New Deal, and the creation of the fabled "New Deal Coalition" that made the Democrats the dominant political party for nearly two generations after WWII. · Explains the origins of the great New Deal reforms that have shaped American life for the last three generations: The Social Security Act, the National Labor Relations (Wagner) Act, the Securities Exchange Commission Act, Fair Labor Standards (minimum wage) Act, etc. · Documents the achievement of Franklin Roosevelt in guiding the country through both the Depression and the war. · Presents the "Great Debate" on foreign policy between isolationists and internationalists, from 1935 to the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941. · Provides the best account of America in World War II, taking into account homefront, military, and diplomatic aspects of the war, bar none. · Makes clear the grand strategic architecture that informed America’s wars in both Europe and Asia. · Vividly and clearly renders major military and naval engagements, including Pearl Harbor, North Africa, Italy, D-Day, Midway, the Battle for Northwest Europe, the Battle of the Bulge, the air war against Germany, Guadalcanal, Leyre Gulf, Tarawa, Iwo Jima, the Marianas, Okinawa, and the final air assault on Japan. · Explains why and how the United States emerged victorious in World War II, with emphasis on strategy, the homefront economy, and the character, training, and deployment of the 16-million men and women who served in the armed forces. · Argues that Franklin Roosevelt was a shrewd and pragmatic war leader who nevertheless failed to prepare his countrymen for the post-war world they inherited. · Graphically illustrates the transformation of America from a surprisingly backward, still heavily rural nation in the 1920s to the "affluent society" of the post-war era. · Shows how the seeds of the Cold War were planted during WWII.

DON’T BLAME HOOVER!

Public opinion made him the villain of the Great Depression. In fact, as FREEDOM FROM FEAR, a new book from historian David Kennedy, shows the 31st president was a visionary – but a hopelessly inept politician.

By 1932, Herbert Hoover, once the most respected man in America, had become the most loathed, his name forever synonymous with the Great Depression. But, according to Stanford historian David Kennedy, history’s indictment of Hoover is flawed. His failure in the face of the Depression has obscured his achievement as an activist president who pointed the way to the New Deal.

· Hoover’s vigorous response to the stock market crash dazzled most commentators. "No one in his place could have done more," said the New York Times of March 2, 1930. · A Roosevelt advisor conceded: "Practically the who --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Format: Paperback
There is much to like about David Kennedy's history of the United States during the 1930s and early 1940s. His book is an excellent overview of the political and economic history of the period. His examination of the New Deal is both insightful and judicious, while his description of America in the Second World War is gripping and informative. Throughout the book Kennedy offers a penetrating analysis of events, discerning approaches that reshaped many of the fundamental relations that existed between the American people and their government.
Yet in some respects the volume is something of a disappointment. The book is a contribution to the superb 'Oxford History of the United States' series, which has set a high standard with its earlier volumes. It is by this measure that Kennedy's book is wanting; it is hardly the comprehensive examination of its topic that the earlier volumes were, as his focus on politics and economics gives short shrift to American culture and society during the period. Moreover, his prose often seems excessively grandiose. Efforts to create soaring metaphors often become too labored and fall flat, making for a stark contrast with the clear descriptions and jargon-free analysis they buttress.
Nevertheless, Kennedy's achievement with this book is impressive. He has provided a well-written account of America's efforts to deal with some of the greatest challenges that the nation ever faced. Readers seeking a history of the period would be hard pressed to find a better and more readable book with which to start.
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Format: Hardcover
Professor Kennedy has given us a monumental work on a critical period in the history of the United states and the world. Kennedy displays an intuitve understanding of the causes of the great depression. He gives us a new and positive inter- pretation of Herbert Hoover. In Kennedy's view the ''Great Engineer'' is a closet liberal who paved the way for the new deal. Kennedy clearly is an admirer of Franklin Roosevelt,but is not blind to his hero's shortcomings. The author frankly admits that the new deal did not end the depression and that during WWII Roosevelt was decieved by Joseph Stalin. Kennedy gives a superb account of the political radicalism of the thirties complete with unforgetable portraits of Huey Long and Father Coughlin. The account of the second world war also rises to the occassion. I found this book to be a fascinating read and I highly reccomend it. Thank you Professor Kennedy.
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Format: Hardcover
Kennedy's prose surges to climax after climax as he takes the reader through the traumas and transitions of Depression and World War 2. He is especially good capturing the social calamities of the Depression, the labor struggles and the brave tentativeness of the New Deal (to at least secure the lives of the citizenry, in the absence of a successful economic remedy). The book is revealing on many matters: the radicalism of politics in the mid to late1930s (a 2% 'magic' tax advocated back then resurfaced in Australian fringe politics only recently ); the focus by Americans on the Depression as an internal issue; and the chimeral character of Roosevelt. The half of the book devoted to the War does not flag, but there is less insight into the lives of those at the 'home front' and perhaps too much battle description. Against that, the account of the nation's reluctant shift from isolationism into world conflict is superbly done. In the wonderful Oxford series so far, Freedom From Fear stands beside the great Civil War volume, Battle Cry of Freedom.
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By F Henwood TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 23 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Who, living in the United States of 1929, could have foreseen how the country would develop over the next sixteen years? This book gives a survey of the dramatic transformations the United States underwent in these sixteen years, transformations that no one foresaw.

It does so by focussing principally on social, political and economic developments during this time and I learned a lot of interesting things from reading it. Among them, Hoover, the President whose fate it was to preside over the beginnings of the Great Depression, has his reputation restored somewhat by this book. He was not the blinkered lasses-faire lame duck President of the stereotype. He was well aware of the nature of the economic calamity engulfing his county and much of what he did in response was to anticipate what Roosevelt was going to do; if he tarried, it was because contemporaries struggled to comprehend the magnitude of what was happening, and disagreed as the causes and proper remedy of the Great Depression.

The book also offers a fair-minded summary of the achievements and shortcomings of the New Deal. Many of its ambitions were not realised. But during these years, many of the harsher features of the previous seven decades of capitalist expansion were ameliorated. Sustained economic growth was not achieved but, intriguingly, and with echoes of contemporary doubts about the necessity and sustainability of economic growth, the New Deal was not predicated on restoring growth as such. FDR ignored Keynes' advice to bolster government deficits to restore growth (this was of course to happen during the war, with phenomenal results). The object was stabilisation, and of ensuring greater economic and social security. It was assumed that the era of growth was over.
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