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Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (Oxford History of the United States) [Paperback]

By David M. Kennedy (Author)
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Item description for Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (Oxford History of the United States) by David M. Kennedy...

The Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the U.S. during the Great Depression and World War II retraces the traumatic birthpains of this nation into a world power, rising from the ashes of economic ruin to fight and win a world war. Reprint.

Publishers Description
Between 1929 and 1945, two great travails were visited upon the American people: the Great Depression and World War II. This book 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.
The Oxford History of the United States
The Atlantic Monthly has praised The Oxford History of the United States as "the most distinguished series in American historical scholarship," a series that "synthesizes a generation's worth of historical inquiry and knowledge into one literally state-of-the-art book. Who touches these books touches a profession."
Conceived under the general editorship of one of the leading American historians of our time, C. Vann Woodward, The Oxford History of the United States blends social, political, economic, cultural, diplomatic, and military history into coherent and vividly written narrative. Previous volumes are Robert Middlekauff's The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution; James M. McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (which won a Pulitzer Prize and was a New York Times Best Seller); and James T. Patterson's Grand Expectations: The United States 1945-1974 (which won a Bancroft Prize).

Citations And Professional Reviews
Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (Oxford History of the United States) by David M. Kennedy has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Wilson Senior High Core Col - 01/01/2011 page 852
  • New York Times - 04/29/2001 page 24
  • Wilson Senior High Core Col - 01/01/2002 page 568
  • Books & Culture - 11/01/2004 page 24
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/2004 page 980
  • Wilson Senior High Core Col - 01/01/2007 page 701
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 12/31/2008 page 1235

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Oxford University Press, USA
Pages   936
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.4" Width: 6.1" Height: 2.1"
Weight:   2.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 19, 2001
Publisher   Oxford University Press
ISBN  0195144031  
ISBN13  9780195144031  

Availability  5 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 28, 2016 12:29.
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More About David M. Kennedy

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David M. Kennedy is Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History at Stanford University. He is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945. He is also the author of Over Here: The First World War and American Society, which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and Birth Control in America: The Career of Margaret Sanger, which won the Bancroft Prize. He lives in Stanford, California.

David M. Kennedy currently resides in the state of Massachusetts. David M. Kennedy was born in 1958 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Stanford University John Jay College of Criminal Justice, USA John Jay.

David M. Kennedy has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Oxford History of the United States (Paperback)

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Americas > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > 20th Century > General
3Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > General
4Books > Subjects > History > Military > World War II > General
5Books > Subjects > History > Military > World War II

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Reviews - What do customers think about Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (Oxford History of the United States)?

Great Non-Romanticized Story-Telling  May 15, 2008
I read "Freedom from Fear" to get some idea of what my parents went through and what they talked about. Even though the times were hard in the Depression and in WWII, they seemed to look back on it with nostalgia. Just ask them about Roosevelt and they would almost get misty saying he was just about the greatest person who had ever lived. Sure the Depression and War were hard, but the enemies were definitely bad guys, and there was no gray area to worry about, as in Vietnam and Iraq. Also, the families and society pulled together in a common cause as in no time since.

But this was only part of the picture, and I'm afraid that David M. Kennedy attempts to tell us the whole story, and it was thoroughly unromantic, and even blunt. He has the cold, objective eye of a historian separated emotionally and by years from the events he covers. In my opinion, it is really the way it should be covered, and he did a good job of it.

Roosevelt, for example, gets a mixed grade for his heroic efforts to get the country back on track economically and through the War. For example, he approved the fire-bombing and atomic-bombing of enemy cities for morale-defeating purposes. He also required unconditional surrender of Germany and Japan early in the War, which may have unnecessarily cost hundreds-of-thousands of lives at the end of the War, when Germany and Japan felt obliged to fight to the bitter end (very bitter indeed for atom-bombed Japan). Also, some of the decisions made by Roosevelt and the Allies led to the sectoring of Europe after the War, and initiated the Cold War which lasted until 1989 when the Wall came down.

On the other hand, Roosevelt gets good grades for the way he stimulated the economy. The Depression was NOT caused by the 1929 Crash per Kennedy, but was due in effect to the Industrial Revolution and the massive shift from an agrarian to an industrial society. The priming of the war machine not only won the War but stimulated the economy to such an extent that its effects are still felt today. His innovative so-called Keynesian (essentially governmental action) economic initiatives were keys to this remarkable turn-around. The US economy has roared for the decades since then, though punctuated by recessions from time-to-time to catch its breath.

The War stories were good too. I was surprised that Churchill was so hesitant to support the go-ahead of Overlord, the invasion of Europe that started on D-Day. Stalin was just as bad as you might imagine, though his Russia suffered immensely while waiting impatiently for a second front (Overlord) to finally begin. The Japanese were demonized by strong racial animosity, but lived up to it by their cruel and inhumane treatment of foreign prisoners, especially with the Bataan Death March. I was disturbed that the Allies, as it turned out, could be pretty bad as well (something you don't hear much about). American racial discrimination also prevailed during much of the War with the segregated African Americans left often on the sidelines. On a much different note, I was fascinated by the Battle of the Philippine Sea that was arguably the largest sea battle in history, and was enjoined by over 100,000 sea-faring combatants in hundreds of ships and planes, often miles apart! That was amazing to me! And then there was the saying that Eisenhower's smile was worth 20 divisions: I thought that perfectly captured his contagious spirit of optimism.

Also, the War lifted the country out of a massive country-wide psychological depression in which most folks apparently felt inadequate to cope with the economic trials. You might picture massive protests and uprisings, but surprisingly it was just the opposite: unhappy resignation and everyone feeling like a failure. I certainly didn't hear that part of the story from my family; they probably didn't want to talk about it.

I still think Roosevelt was a great man and a great president! He navigated the country through our most dangerous period since the Civil War. He simply had feet of clay like the rest of us.

What a great story "Freedom from Fear" tells, even though it is not romanticized.

Freedom From Fear  Apr 5, 2008
A fabulous reference for the era of the "Great Depression" and the F. D. Roosevelt administration (1933-1945).
An Iluminating Book  Mar 22, 2008
I've never read a book this long (858 pp) before for pleasure, but I found the Freedom book so illuminating. I am 87 yr old and the book covers my youth, from age 8 to 23--and oh, did I experience personally the depression and the war! It was good to fill in the details and understanding of things where I had fragmentary but profound experiences. I remember farmers dumping milk because they couldn't sell it. I remember FDR's fireside chats and the hope he gave my family. And I remember at night walking around holding my 3 week old colicy baby while listening to the radio reports of D-day landings.

Kennedy has done a superb job and I owe him great thanks. Lu Ann Darling
Interesting, Well Researched and Well Written!  Dec 18, 2007
A very well written and detailed account of The events leading up to the New Dead and the Second World war. Kennedy has written a high quality scholarly work which is so well written that iit makes for a good read.
I highly recommend it whether for scholarly use or for an interesting read.
Freedom from Fear  Nov 14, 2007
I had to purchase this book for an upper level history course on the FDR Era. I usually don't like course related material, but this book is very informative and it's an easy read. Great for references too! Make sure you have strong arms though...cause this is the biggest paperback book I've ever seen!

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