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Description de l’éditeur
The fascinating story of Franklin Roosevelt, the Greatest Generation, and the freedoms they won, is a “stirring, heady dose of American history by a…progressive thinker” (Kirkus Reviews).
On January 6, 1941, the Greatest Generation gave voice to its founding principles, the Four Freedoms: Freedom from want and from fear. Freedom of speech and religion. In the name of the Four Freedoms they fought the Great Depression. In the name of the Four Freedoms they defeated the Axis powers. In the process they made the United States the richest and most powerful country on Earth. And, despite a powerful, reactionary opposition, the men and women of the Greatest Generation made America freer, more equal, and more democratic than ever before.
Harvey Kaye gives passionate voice to the Greatest Generation and argues not only that the root of their “greatness” stemmed from their commitment to equality, change, and progressive politics, but why modern generations should follow their lead. In Kaye’s hands, history becomes a call for action. Now he retells this generation’s full story and reclaims their progressive influence throughout the twentieth century.
Through the words of civil rights protestors, authors, and congressmen, Kaye argues that the most progressive generation in America history not only stopped Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan, but made America and the world freer, more equal, and more democratic—and that modern generations only honor them by following their lead. The Fight for the Four Freedoms “will stir its intended audience, while illustrating what astute politicians and historians recognize: Political struggle is as much a battle over our past as it is over our present and future” (Cleveland Plain Dealer).
In his latest history of American democracy, Kaye (Thomas Paine and the Promise of America) traces the repercussions that followed in the wake of one of our country's most influential presidents, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He effectively details how F.D.R. and his Four Freedoms rhetoric freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear fostered a more open and equal American populace. These freedoms, explicitly or not, shaped the 12 years in which F.D.R. and his generation combated an economic depression, a world war, and a plethora of civil injustices. Kaye is attuned to the power of F.D.R.'s speeches, using powerful and eloquent quotes to further his stance that F.D.R. and the generation of Americans who fought in WWII mobilized to spread these ideals worldwide. Kaye's story goes further, illustrating how subsequent presidencies misunderstood, manipulated, or failed to uphold F.D.R.'s four freedoms. Though Kaye hopes to inspire readers to again believe in the American democratic system, the implication that this greatest generation failed in their attempts to achieve a fully democratic way of life leaves one pessimistic about such possibilities. Regardless, the book offers insight into the path that led to the politics and democracy of modern-day America.