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David M. Kennedy (1)

This page covers the author of Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945.

For other authors named David M. Kennedy, see the disambiguation page.

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David M. Kennedy
Booknotes, Sunday, June 20, 1999
David M. Kennedy discusses Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945.

In FREEDOM FROM FEAR: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945, the first comprehensive study that spans the Depression, the New Deal and World War Il eras, Bancroft Award-winning historian David M. Kennedy tells the story of three of the most formative events in modern American history. Here Kennedy situates American history in the context of the world historical events of the era, including global economic crisis, the rise of Nazism, and Japan's quest for empire in Asia. In FREEDOM FROM FEAR, an important addition to the award-winning The Oxford History of the United States series, Kennedy examines in detail America's greatest economic crisis ever, and sheds light on all contemporary comparisons with that event. It also documents the techniques of presidential leadership developed by Franklin Roosevelt, arguably the most effective and consequential president of the century, and critically discusses the nature of FDR's great reform legacy. Finally, the book rehearses the momentous debate between 1935 and 1941 about American foreign policy, a debate that ended with American intervention in World War II and the end (for a time, at least) of a century and a haIf of isolationism—a debate that still echoes in discussions for foreign policy today. Kennedy addresses major controversies, such as: causes of the Depression, the Hoover presidency, the failures and successes of the New Deal, the role of Depression-era demagogues like Father Coughlin and Senator Huey Long, the rise of organized labor, the origins of Social Security, the "Constitutional Revolution" of 1937, the origins of WW II, the Pearl Harbor attack, the emergence of the American-British-Russian "Grand Alliance," the internment of Japanese-Americans in wartime, the American society in wartime, the Second Front debate, the liabilities of the "unconditional surrender" policy, the nature of the air war waged against Germany and Japan, the development of atomic weapons, and the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Ultimately, FREEDOM FROM FEAR tells the story of how Americans endured, and finally prevailed in the face of two back-to-back calamities: The Great Depression and WW II. Kennedy describes the Depression's impact in vivid detail, and documents the New Deal's effort to wring lasting social and economic reform out of the Depression crisis. Kennedy also offers a compelling narrative of America's engagement in World War II, including fresh analyses of how and why America won, and the lasting consequences of American victory. Covering what are the most influential years of the 20th century, FREEDOM FROM FEAR is an exciting narrative of the foundations of modern America. —from the publisher's website (timspalding)… (more)

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