Critical Review of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal 1932-1940 by William E. Leuchtenburg.

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Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal 1932-1940. by William E. Leuchtenburg. Harper & Row, 1963.

The Great Depression created a political landscape in the United States that demanded bold action, calling forth people ready and willing to challenge the conventional establishment and allowing them to thrive. Franklin Delano Roosevelt is the prime example of how adversity creates a forging ground were dynamic individuals shape history. In his book Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal Leuchtenburg meticulously describes how Roosevelt changed American during his first two terms and cast some light on why he was the one to succeed in holding the great responsibility of steering the country through the depression without blind praise or unjustified criticism.

The author, William E. Leuchtenburg, was born in the early 1920s, therefore was old enough to remember the atmosphere in which the New Deal was happening, though not from the standpoint of an adult, giving him the edge of knowing the actual feel of the era over a younger historian. This may also account for his admiration of Roosevelt, as he often expresses in his book Roosevelt was widely popular amongst a majority of Americans at the time. He has written several books mainly centered around Roosevelt and became a distinguished professor of history at the University of North Carolina. He has also served as President of the American Historical Association. There is no doubt that he is very qualified to write a book on the subject of Roosevelt and even though he obviously is a great admirer of the President, he never shies away from pointing out Roosevelt’s flaws.

Leuchtenburg begins by setting the stage that brought Roosevelt into power by describing the Great Depression and how the Hoover administration handled it, not completely negatively stating “no president ever worked harder in the White House than Herbert Hoover.” Here he first describes Roosevelt with a brief history and...
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