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A Concise History of the New Deal

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Part of Cambridge Essential Histories

  • Date Published: May 2014
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781139989374

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About the Authors
  • During the 1930s, Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal carried out a program of dramatic reform to counter the unprecedented failures of the market economy exposed by the Great Depression. Contrary to the views of today's conservative critics, this book argues that New Dealers were not 'anticapitalist' in the ways in which they approached the problems confronting society. Rather, they were reformers who were deeply interested in fixing the problems of capitalism, if at times unsure of the best tools to use for the job. In undertaking their reforms, the New Dealers profoundly changed the United States in ways that still resonate today. Lively and engaging, this narrative history focuses on the impact of political and economic change on social and cultural relations.

    • Captures how political change took place during an economic depression
    • Ideal for students of American history and American politics
    • Accessible to non-specialists
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Jason Scott Smith's book could not be more timely. He has written what now must be regarded as the best one-volume history of the New Deal. His easy mastery of the vast historical literature and his sensitivity to political realities provide a compelling account of FDR's dramatic efforts to save capitalism and create a more humane society. Smith's clear-eyed assessment of what the New Deal did, and did not, achieve is a refreshing antidote to the simplistic debates of today's politics. A tour de force.' Tony Badger, Paul Mellon Professor of American History, University of Cambridge

    'With an enduring legacy that, despite repeated efforts by critics to minimize and denigrate its contributions, literally redefined modern American politics, the New Deal of President Franklin Roosevelt continues to captivate the attention of scholars and engaged citizens alike. Such an audience will greatly enjoy Jason Scott Smith's new book - a refreshingly succinct overview that vividly portrays the efforts of an inspired generation of leaders, one determined to ameliorate the worst impacts of unprecedented economic instability while, at the same time, striving to preserve the core virtues of capitalist enterprise.' Michael A. Bernstein, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, Tulane University, Louisiana

    'Thanks to Jason Scott Smith, twenty-first-century undergraduates now have a highly readable account of the Great Depression and the New Deal. Written in the shadow of our own great recession, Smith's account is notable for its emphasis on New Deal infrastructure spending, a long-ago 'stimulus' that put millions to work, boosted the economy, and permanently transformed the nation.' Nelson Lichtenstein, MacArthur Foundation Chair in History, University of California, Santa Barbara

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2014
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781139989374
    • contains: 1 b/w illus. 4 tables
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. A global depression
    2. Saving capitalism, 1933–4
    3. The New Deal at high tide, 1934–6
    4. Society and culture in the 1930s
    5. Opposition and backlash, 1937–9
    6. Legacies of the New Deal.

  • Author

    Jason Scott Smith, University of New Mexico
    Jason Scott Smith is Associate Professor of History at the University of New Mexico, where he teaches courses on the history of capitalism and liberalism. Smith is the author of the award-winning Building New Deal Liberalism (Cambridge University Press, 2005). He is often quoted in the media, and his scholarly work has appeared in a number of journals, including the Journal of Social History, the Pacific Historical Review, Reviews in American History, and the Journal of Interdisciplinary History. From 2004 to 2006 he held a Mellon Fellowship in American Studies at Cornell University, where he was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of History and the Department of Government. In 2001–2 he was the Harvard-Newcomen Fellow at the Harvard Business School. He received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.

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