Your audiobook is waiting…

The Revolution of ’28

Al Smith, American Progressivism, and the Coming of the New Deal
Narrated by: Peter Lerman
Length: 11 hrs and 38 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

The Revolution of ’28 explores the career of New York governor and 1928 Democratic presidential nominee Alfred E. Smith. Robert Chiles peers into Smith’s work and uncovers a distinctive strain of American progressivism that resonated among urban, ethnic, working-class Americans in the early 20th century. The book charts the rise of that idiomatic progressivism during Smith’s early years as a state legislator through his time as governor of the Empire State in the 1920s, before proceeding to a revisionist narrative of the 1928 presidential campaign. As Chiles points out, new-stock voters responded enthusiastically to Smith's candidacy on both economic and cultural levels.

Chiles offers a historical argument that describes the impact of this coalition on the new liberal formation that was to come with Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, demonstrating the broad practical consequences of Smith’s political career. Chiles sets the record straight in The Revolution of ’28 by paying close attention to how Smith identified and activated his emergent coalition and put it to use in his campaign of 1928, before quickly losing control over it after his failed presidential bid.

The audiobook is published by University Press Audiobooks.

"May galvanize readers currently feeling cheated by a shortage of contemporary political heroes." (The New York Times)

"An engaging, boldly argued critique of Al Smith’s influence on American politics and policy making."(Daniel O. Prosterman, Associate Professor of History at Salem College)

"The most finely-nuanced portrait of Smith as legislator, administrator, and presidential candidate that I have ever read." (John D. Buenker, author of Urban Liberalism and Progressive Reform)

©2018 Cornell University (P)2018 Redwood Audiobooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Al Smith paved the way for FDR

Al Smith gets little press today. It is a shame as he was probably as important in 1928 as Bernie Sanders is today. Without Smith there may never have been a New Deal and much of the important things we take for granted today like Social Security might not even exist.

Peter Lerman does great job telling the story with just the right combination of seriousness and respect.

Something you will listen to again.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Revisionist history about a failed candidate

Very well written revisionist book about a specific failed Presidential candidate. The author admits revisionism in the introduction and is very well versed in his subject matter. Accentuates the positive and writes about an interesting time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Book That Reminds Democrats of Their Roots

After the shellacking the Democrats and progressives took in the 2016 election, they managed to retake the House of Representatives this November. Now they are arguing about whether Nancy Pelosi should retain her leadership role and disagreeing about what Democrats and progressives stand for. This book, The Revolution of 28, takes the reader back to the roots of progressivism in the last century. It was born out of urban working-class beliefs about pluralism (big tent), excessive income inequality, labor safety, minimum wage, and lack of positions of power for immigrants, women, Catholics, and the poor. In the early 1900s that progressivism was embodied in the 1928 Democratic candidate for President, Alfred E. Smith. The book follows his fascinating journey from an operative in the corrupt Tammany Hall political organization, later embracing the progressive agenda of his day, and becoming the beloved, three-term Governor of New York. He lost to Herbert Hover in the 1928 Presidential election, but the legislation he championed as Governor of New York later provided a blueprint for New Deal legislation under Franklin D. Roosevelt. The counter-point of progressivism as an ideal and progressivism as played out by a flesh and blood politician brings this story to life.

So, Democrats (and fair-minded Republicans), unsure about what progressivism stands for, should read and ponder Robert Chiles excellent book. In some ways, upper-middle-class Democrats are pulling the party away from its roots with their concerns about mortgage interest deductions and forgiveness of student debt. The narration by Peter Lerman is superb. You will not miss a word.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Al Smith—a surprisingly fascinating character

The Revolution of ’28 Al Smith American Progressive, and the Coming of the New Deal by Robert Chiles. As we all know from high school history classes, the phrase Tammany Hall is a synonym for absolute political corruption. (For the record, I tend to think of myself as relatively well-read in American history, but every time I stumble upon a book like this one about New York politician Al Smith, I realize (again) how little I know.) If you’ve not heard of Tammany Hall, it was a New York Democratic political machine that wielded considerable clout from the mid-19th century through the early 1930s, with additional but sporadic success into the 1950s. It was known not just for power, but for corruption that is an inevitable handmaiden of political power. Al Smith was a product of Tammany Hall, serving four terms as the governor of New York before running for President in 1928 when he was soundly defeated by Herbert Hoover. What I was surprised to learn was that Mr. Smith, despite his political roots (and arguably trunk, branches, and leaves) was a Progressive in the mold of F.D.R., another New York Governor (1929 to 1932) who actually made it to the White House. Among the many things I learned, was that Smith was the first Catholic to win the Presidential nomination. Like JFK later, he faced heated and bigoted religious opposition. A sizable portion of his political base were urban working class immigrants, including many Catholics and newly enfranchised women voters. As Governor he instituted numerous social welfare programs, many of which were substantive progenitors of New Deal programs, though Chiles takes pains to deny a direct link between Smith’s programs and those enacted by F.D.R. He does not adhere to the popular belief FDRs New Deal was the direct result Smith’s work. Rather, he argues his programs and the people they served were influential but not determinative of what followed. His view of the evolution of Democratic progressives was more nuanced than what other historians have posited. What I found interesting, bordering on fascinating, was Smith’s compassionate interest in the welfare of the working poor, many of whom became the backbone of the modern Democratic Party, notwithstanding some seismic shifts in the electorate along the way. My greatest takeaway was how this remarkable politician pursued social programs that exist in one form or another to this day. Smith eventually lost a second run at the Presidency in 1932, losing to Roosevelt. Moving into the private sector, Smith evolved into a conservative who abandoned much of his earlier progressive beliefs and disassociated himself from the monumental successes of the New Deal. In doing so, he put himself on the backbench of history, at least for most of us with only a superficial understanding of Progressive politics. Bottom line: great book about an important character in American politics.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.




1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Oh, The Happy Warrior!

Al Smith - for whom a yearly dinner has held by the Archdiocese of New York since 1945 and attended by political and press luminaries - celebrates what may be considered by many to be the birth of Liberal Progressive-ism in both small D and large D Democratic politics in the U.S. But, alas, it wouldn't be until the election of JFK in 1960 that the religious prejudice of a Catholic holding the highest office in the land would be shattered.

Even though Theodore Roosevelt may be credited as being the first true Progressive POTUS, Al Smith changed the face of Progressive and Liberal political leanings in the Democratic party in his failed bid for the presidency in 1928 and paved the way for FDR to wrest the office away from Herbert Hoover (who defeated Smith) in 1932.

This is a long academic tome that can be listened to is smaller chunks without missing the overall theme, message and timeline.

Peter Lerman's narration is smooth and consistent throughout, setting just the proper tone for the work. His natural vocal style lends a personable touch, as if he were telling this history to the listener over a cup of coffee. His slight "vocal fry" is refreshingly honest, as opposed to a more studied announcer-type vocal delivery. The sound quality is excellent and consistent as well. Mr. Lerman easily delineates the narrative text from quotations in a way that the listener knows who and when someone is being quoted by the author, without resorting to vocal "tricks" of trying to imitate the speaker. A good, solid narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Progressiveness and a lost Presidential run

'The Revolution of ’28' tells the rise and fall of NY Governor and US Presidential candidate Al Smith, and his relationship to progressivism. Going into reading this book I knew very little of him. I knew he had lost a Presidential election to Herbert Hoover, and I knew he was sometimes mentioned as an inspiration for FDR's New Deal. This book goes into details on both those things and more.

The book doesn't tell his full biography. That is not it's focus. It's focus is on his gubernatorial work, and subsequent presedential run. It focuses on his political positions and progressiveness, not on the man himself.

Much of the presidential election discussion focuses on the opposition to him (and also the support given to him for the same reasons) based on the fact that he was Catholic, and no the fact he has stood against the KKK. It very much presents the idea that these two things added together to bring people against him. Having only got 40% of the popular vote, and only 87 electoral college votes, he was soundly beaten.

The author never draws any conclusions or comments on this to our current political climate, but it is hard for a reader to not notice the similarities in recent elections, with the 'Obama is Muslim' concerns, and the 'is Trump aligned with the KKK' comments.

There is also a section within the presidential election period where the book goes off on a tangent around textile factories, the unions and how the downturn at the time was affecting wages and costs. I found this section very interesting, but it was a little bit too removed from the main story of Al Smith. Yes, it fed into the election, and the climate of the times, but it was beyond the detail needed to

The book doesn't go into much detail of after the election. it talks about how Smith started to become much, much more conservative and actually disagreed with many of the New Deal policies, many of which were once his own policies. It talks briefly about how and why his post election self became a contradiction of who he once was.

Certainly an interesting book, on a person and subject that you don't hear much on - a losing Presidential run.

Narration by Peter Lerman was good. Clear, precise, well paced and easy to follow. no particular issues in his narration or the recording.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this review voluntarily.

#tagsgiving #sweepstakes #presidential #GreatDepression #politics

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Lerman owns it!

If you like to get your history from the Wikipedia summary, this nearly 12 hour work will not be for you. But if you like your history researched, documented and thoughtfully analyzed and contextualized - and humanized - you may find this to your liking. At a time when women's suffrage and government "interference" to limit child labor and abominable working conditions were hot button items, and Progressives were accused of trying to usher communism into the U.S., Al Smith rose from the Lower East Side to improve the conditions of the less privileged. He had a knack for creating alliances among constituencies with some common goals as "The Happy Warrior." From street runner for Tammany Hall (where he learned but never became beholden) to State Assemblyman to Sheriff to multi-term Governor of the State of New York, he advanced Progressive causes, working through the Democratic Party. This ascendancy hit a brick wall when he was defeated for the Presidency of the United States by Herbert Hoover in 1928. His return to business just before the Great Depression and his break with FDR over New Deal policies, and later the death of his wife, all led to a sad ending to the story of The Happy Warrior. Sad, but a lifew well worth studying and appreciating today, when the concept of inspired and inspiring leadership has suffered so. This was a most rewarding listen.

Narrator Peter Lerman has just the right mix of energy and emotion, informing a straightforward presentation of facts that are complex and fascinating. He is so easy to listen to. Like all good narrators, I sometimes forgot that the voice I was hearing was not that of the author. I have no idea what the author "sounds like" when he speaks. I am referring to "owning the story." Lerman owns it.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Maddie
  • Sun Prairie, WI USA
  • 05-30-19

Good introduction to the progressive movement.

Good account of Al Smith's leadership in the progressive movement. Overall worthwhile and enjoyable read.