For the survival of democracy : Franklin Roosevelt and the world crisis of the 1930s

by Hamby, Alonzo L.

Format: Print Book 2004
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction E806.H293 2004
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  E806.H293 2004
Franklin D. Roosevelt is remembered as one of America's greatest presidents, a leader who guided us through depression and war. Yet for the period prior to World War II, we rarely think of him in a global context, active as an extraordinary international figure during the crisis years that destroyed the old order and catalyzed the changes that created the world we still inhabit. Truly, it was a time of struggle for the survival of democracy. In For the Survival of Democracy, master historian Alonzo Hamby offers a gripping and revisionist comparative history of this turbulent era, allowing Roosevelt to be viewed in comparison with Stanley Baldwin in Britain, Adolf Hitler in Germany, and a host of supporting yet crucial players. Combining deft character sketches with surprising interpretations of world leaders, Hamby takes us back to a time when nationalism seized the West, when Hitler cloaked his evil in tactical brilliance, and when passive leaders were destined to be swept aside. Franklin Roosevelt emerges as the Depression's most imposing leader. A charismatic personality committed to radical change, a masterful popular communicator, Roosevelt saw no inconsistency between democracy and personal power. Like many great men, he achieved great things but also made great mistakes. Hamby describes in detail his inspiring leadership and the social transformations he wrought, and also examines his failure to achieve economic recovery in the United States long after Germany and Britain accomplished it.The economic catastrophe of the decade before World War II, coupled with the rise of fascism, contains all the drama and high stakes of a fight for survival, during which FDR proved himself to be an essential warrior. In America, in no small part thanks to Franklin Roosevelt, democracy survived to fight another day, and to prevail. Never before has the decade prior to the war been brought to life so vividly, and never have Franklin Roosevelt's achievements been made so clear.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "The West tends to view the spread and triumph of representative democracy as almost inevitable. So it is valuable to be reminded how tenuous the survival of democratic institutions seemed as the world faced the onslaughts of the Great Depression and the advance of totalitarian systems in the 1930s. History professor Hamby has chosen to focus on the three economic powerhouses of the 1930s: the U.S., Great Britain, and Germany. He examines how each nation coped with the economic and political obstacles, and his analyses and conclusions are often surprising and provocative. Despite his obvious disdain for fascism, Hamby credits Hitler and some of his cohorts with creativity in responding to various challenges. British leaders Baldwin and Chamberlain are usually portrayed unfavorably, but Hamby views them as rather unfairly maligned. At the center of the story is Roosevelt, whose skill as an inspirational leader and advocate for democratic ideals made him almost indispensable. This is a fine, balanced account that should remind us that democratic political systems must periodically be tested under fire. --Jay Freeman Copyright 2003 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "It may be hard to believe that there's anything new to say about the place of FDR's New Deal in American and world history. But Hamby (Beyond the New Deal, etc.) does so in this sobering account of how well the U.S. managed its affairs during the Great Depression. What makes Hamby's approach fresh is his comparisons among the U.S. and the world's other great economic powers at the time, Great Britain and Germany. In the midst of an international whirlwind, each country went its own, nationalistic way. But as Hamby shows, their independent approaches to a universal crisis yielded benefits that go-it-alone policies now probably can't yield. In fact, while by 1940 both Britain and Germany had recovered from the Depression, the U.S. had not, despite FDR's huge efforts. The cost of recovery to Germany and the world of course was Nazism, war and genocide. Britain's integrity was better spared, and its social programs grew. But the U.S.? Hamby credits FDR with saving American democracy if not its economy, which was saved by the war. The president thus made possible the survival of free government elsewhere. The author's clarity and balance of judgment are marred somewhat with a cascade of facts. But his characterizations of people are always deft and occasionally surprising. He revives the reputation of Britain's Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and even has good things to say of the often reviled Neville Chamberlain. But at the center of this somewhat old-fashioned political and economic history is FDR's leadership. And that's what will draw readers to this solid, authoritative history. (Jan. 12) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Roosevelt, Franklin D. -- (Franklin Delano), -- 1882-1945.
Depressions -- 1929 -- United States.
New Deal, 1933-1939.
Depressions -- 1929 -- Great Britain.
Depressions -- 1929 -- Germany.
World politics -- 1919-1932.
World politics -- 1933-1945.
United States -- Politics and government -- 1933-1945.
Great Britain -- Economic conditions -- 1918-1945.
Germany -- Economic conditions -- 1918-1945.
Publisher New York :Free Press,2004
Language English
Description xiv, 492 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages [439]-473) and index.
ISBN 0684843404
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