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Customer Review

24 May 1999
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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