Between 1929 and 1945, two great travails were visited upon the American people: the Great Depression and World War II. This book tells the story of how Americans endured, and eventually prevailed, in the face of those unprecedented calamities.
The Depression was both a disaster and an opportunity. As David Kennedy vividly demonstrates, the economic crisis of the 1930s was far more than a simple reaction to the alleged excesses of the 1920s. For more than a century before 1929, America's unbridled industrial revolution had gyrated through repeated boom and bust cycles, wastefully consuming capital and inflicting untold misery on city and countryside alike.
Freedom From Fear explores how the nation agonized over its role in World War II, how it fought the war, why the United States won, and why the consequences of victory were sometimes sweet, sometimes ironic. In a compelling narrative, Kennedy analyzes the determinants of American strategy, the painful choices faced by commanders and statesmen, and the agonies inflicted on the millions of ordinary Americans who were compelled to swallow their fears and face battle as best they could.
Both comprehensive and colorful, this account of the most convulsive period in American history, excepting only the Civil War, reveals a period that formed the crucible in which modern America was formed.
The Oxford History of the United States
The Atlantic Monthly has praised The Oxford History of the United States as "the most distinguished series in American historical scholarship," a series that "synthesizes a generation's worth of historical inquiry and knowledge into one literally state-of-the-art book. Who touches these books touches a profession."
Conceived under the general editorship of one of the leading American historians of our time, C. Vann Woodward, The Oxford History of the United States blends social, political, economic, cultural, diplomatic, and military history into coherent and vividly written narrative. Previous volumes are Robert Middlekauff's The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution; James M. McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (which won a Pulitzer Prize and was a New York Times Best Seller); and James T. Patterson's Grand Expectations: The United States 1945-1974 (which won a Bancroft Prize).
Rarely does a work of historical synthesis combine such trenchant analysis and elegant writing as does Kennedy's spectacular contribution to the Oxford History of the United States. A Stanford history professor and winner of the Bancroft Prize (for Birth Control in America: The Career of Margaret Sanger), Kennedy uses a wide canvas to depict all aspects of the American political, social and economic experience from 1929 to 1945. Throughout, he takes care to detail parts of the American story often neglected by more casual histories. For example, he introduces readers to the "old poor," the third of the country that had not prospered during the '20s and were among the most ravaged by the '30s. He also provides a stunningly original reinterpretation of the competing forces and interests that combined to shape the New Deal under FDR's direction. And he gives deliberate and enlightening attention to the "Great Debate" between isolationists and internationalists in the '30s. The book's final 400 pages admirably demonstrate exactly how the U.S. emerged victorious in WWII: not just through military prowess, but also through capably managed homefront economics and propaganda. Because of its scope, its insight and its purring narrative engine, Kennedy's book will stand for years to come as the definitive history of the most important decades of the American century. 48 halftones; 10 linecuts. 50,000 first printing; first serial to the Atlantic Monthly; History Book Club main selection; author tour. FYI: Previous volumes in the Oxford History of the United States are Robert Middlekauff's The Glorious Cause, James M. McPherson's Pulitzer Prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom and James T. Patterson's Bancroft Prize-winning Grand Expectations.