Democracies are constantly reminded of the problem of coming to fast compromise and agreement in the face of pressing hardship. The years of FDR and The New Deal were a time of constant uncertainty in America. In Europe possible benefits of Communism and Fascism over this issue seemed promising to some. The United States had to reshape itself in a way that has affected the country’s structure through today. Compromise was made, and Ira Katznelson argues, partially at the cost of accepting the racist tendencies of the era’s southern democrats. Scott Brick performs this expansive, and unique look at one of the most important periods of shaping the modern United States. Brick gives a measured delivery, powerfully articulating this erudite and opinionated history lesson.
Redefining our traditional understanding of the New Deal, Fear Itself finally examines this pivotal American era through a sweeping international lens that juxtaposes a struggling democracy with enticing ideologies like Fascism and Communism. Ira Katznelson, "a towering figure in the study of American and European history" (Cornel West), boldly asserts that, during the 1930s and 1940s, American democracy was rescued yet distorted by a unified band of southern lawmakers who safeguarded racial segregation as they built a new national state to manage capitalism and assert global power. This original study brings to vivid life the politicians and pundits of the time, including Walter Lippmann, who argued that America needed a dose of dictatorship; Mississippi’s five-foot-two Senator Theodore Bilbo, who advocated the legal separation of races; and Robert Oppenheimer, who built the atomic bomb yet was tragically undone by the nation’s hysteria. Fear Itself is a necessary work, vital to understanding our world - a world the New Deal first made.
©2013 Ira Katznelson (P)2013 Audible Inc.
"Fear Itself deeply reconceptualizes the New Deal and raises countless provocative questions." (David Kennedy, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Freedom from Fear)
Thy guy who read this book apparently thought the point of the exercise was to demonstrate his acting talents rather than to enable the listener to think about the text. Either that or Katznelson's prose is overwrought gobbledygook. But I suspect the reader, especially because he neglected to find out how to pronounce such words as "Manichean" and "Keynes."
I have taken a hard copy out of the library and will see whether I can make anything of Katznelson's thesis, very likely improving my opinion of the book.
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