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Between 1929 and 1945, two great travails were visited upon the American people: the Great Depression and World War II. This Pulitzer Prize-winning history 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.
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DAVID M. KENNEDY is the author of Freedom from Fear, which won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for History, as well as Over Here: The First World War and American Society, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and Birth Control in America: The Career of Margaret Sanger, which won a Bancroft Prize. He is the Donald J. McLachlan professor of history at Stanford University.Review:
''An engrossing narrative of a momentous time. The best one-volume account of the Roosevelt era currently available. . . Good old-fashioned history.'' -- New York Times Book Review
''A grand historical synthesis...this is the kind of book prizes are made for.'' -- Chicago Tribune
''One of our most broad-gauged American historians brings us that increasing rarity: a big book about a big subject. . . The Stanford scholar takes on the job of tracing the American people through three of the most important and widely written about epochs in the century. . . and provides us with consistently original and sometimes startling conclusions.'' -- Washington Post
''Kennedy skillfully weaves together the era's social, economic, and political strands. Even those who thought they knew it all, or who indeed lived through all or most of these years, will find illuminating information and insights on almost every page.'' -- Los Angeles Times Book Review
''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. . . . 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.'' --Publishers Weekly
''Displaying a literary craft uncommon in survey works, he has woven together narrative, sketches of character, and critical judgment to record and analyze the economic, political, social, and military events of these epic years. . . . This account of the crucial struggles and events of the Depression and war years will lend perspective like few others.'' -- Library Journal
''Kennedy's book is the most illuminating, riveting, comprehensive, and graceful one-volume history of this nation's experiences during the Great Depression, New Deal, and WWII published to date. . . . This is social, political, diplomatic, and military history written magisterially with broad but nuanced strokes across a 16-year span that utterly transformed the lives of Americans and the world. . . . Librarians should order this book for their libraries, faculty members should assign it, and everyone should read it.'' --Choice
''David Kennedy's sweeping, magisterial retelling of America's story during the Depression and World War II, is a riveting, blisteringly good read. . . . Beyond his analytical prowess, Kennedy's writing style brings to mind Mark Twain's one-liner: The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lighting and a lightning bug. Kennedy invariably picks the right word. It's the fastest 900 pages one can imagine reading.'' -- Minneapolis Star Tribune
''The ninth volume in Oxford University Press's United States History series is likely to be a winner. . . It most certainly will get high marks for the impeccable scholarship and great writing skills of its author. . . . What a book this is!'' -- Minneapolis-St.Paul Star Observer
''Hoover, the Depression, Roosevelt, the New Deal, and the transformation of American industry and society all seem fresh and fascinating again. . . . many readers should enjoy the nonpartisan, informed, and thoughtful judgements of a historian working at the height of his craft, conveying the great challenges and choices of ''the greatest generation'' to the present one.'' -- Foreign Affairs
''This is an enormous book, heavy to carry and light and very agreeable to read. David Kennedy, a professor of History at Stanford, is merciless as to fact and detail but very kind to the reader. It gave me, I do not exaggerate, a very pleasant free-time occupation for a full two weeks. . . . The book, nearly all of it, has my very strong approval. As it will have, I cannot doubt, that of the many readers it deserves.'' --John Kenneth Galbraith The Washington Monthly
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