The "Forgotten Man" is a valuable piece of revisionist history, and it has both the strengths and weaknesses common among works that attempt to recast history through the eyes of later generations. The greatest strength of the work is that it recasts focus on the people that did and still do largely control the fate of the American economy: the wealthy. The book makes it clear that the resistance of the wealthiest Americans fatally weakened the New Deal. Shale explains in chapter after chapter how the rich moved their investments off shore, filed suit, and lobbied against the New Deal on the radio stations and in the newspapers they owned. However, she never interprets this resistance as a series of selfish un-patriotic choices that only prolonged the nation's agony. Instead, for her the villains are the New Dealers who were concerned about the plight of the average American. Shale lays out a laundry list of failed and misguided New Deal programs and never gives any credit to FDR or his administration or to the New Deal programs that worked. Instead, the book is a one sided polemic against the New Deal. Shale never accounts for the incredible popularity of FDR and the New Deal programs that her heroes worked so hard to sabotage. She fails to mention that the resistance to the New Deal in the South that really started after 1936 was largely driven by fears that the New Deal would weaken Jim Crow and she does not make the connection between some of the successful projects, such as the TVA and Intercoastal Waterway, with the eventual American victory in World War II. If you are really familiar with the New Deal the "Forgotten Man" might be worth a read for a different perspective, but this should not be your introduction to the subject. In fact, among most of the over eighty set FDR is still a hero and I believe that they would disagree with Shale's view of the New Deal as a disaster.
Yes, I would give much more focus on the actual human aspect. How did the politics effect the daily lives of the average citizen.
Names of politicians was overboard. Lost my interest about half way through book.
I'm in the middle of the book now, considering putting it down, as it got very bogged down in giving bios on every conceivable character. I feel like she's going to introduce every living American in the 1930s...
It's a difficult listen with a lot of dates and names that seem to run together. I also expected more analysis on how the FDR admin. wasn't as successful as common history would have you believe. It was more of a run down of events that happened during the 1930s.
A fascinating run through the key players in and around the White House during the period leading up to and during the depression. Such notables as Father Coughlin, Guy Tugwell, Father Divine, and many others are profiled, in chronological sequence. The author provides background on each notable figure. Several major legal challenges to FDR policies are also detailed. I found myself cheering when the Schecter brothers won their case, as though it had just happened.
The Forgotten Man is the perfect book for the times we are in now. It reminds us of the lessons this country learned the hard way through the 1930s. Many of those lessons are not being taught in today's schools. This book lends credence the same philosophy my college economics professor taught. That philosophy is that no one can spend and borrow their way to prosperity. Ms. Shlaes' book taught me that in the 1930s is was possible to go to jail for selecting a specific live chicken for sale rather then grabbing the closest one to the door. She showed us what happens to common stock holders like you and I when government competes against private companies. To compare what happened through the 1930s to what is happening now is frightening. Everyone should read this (or listen to) this book.
Shlaes does a great job of explaining what you will never learn in Public Schools. Don’t be fooled by people who call this “revisionist”. As you read it you also see a lot of similarities in the legislation and arguments that are being used today. Unfortunately some don’t learn what history has to teach.
This book attempts to reform history to fit a particular political narrative.
It is propaganda. As propaganda, i found it kind of interesting. As a history, though, it is shockingly sparse. Your understanding of the Great Depression will be seriously incomplete if you only "read" this book.
The author tell a believable story if you are willing to forget and ignore all the history you have read in the last 75 years. This is a big time revision of the work of many scholars and real historians over the decades. According to the author, any thing good that came out of the New Deal was suggested or "hoped for" by Hoover, and the rest was pushed on the country by a brain trust coomprised of communists and fellow travelers. I walk out of bad movies and I didn't finish part 2. I concede the author put in a lot of research to find material that could be stretched and twisted to further her agenda, and there are a lot of conservatives out there (Bush's 27%)to gobble it up.