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The people and the president : America's conversation with FDR /
[compiled by] Lawrence W. Levine and Cornelia R. Levine.
Boston : Beacon Press, c2002.
xii, 612 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
0807055107 (acid-free paper)
More Details
Boston : Beacon Press, c2002.
0807055107 (acid-free paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 573-594) and indexes.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2002-04-15:
FDR delivered a total of 31 "Fireside Chat" radio addresses during his presidency, the first just one week after taking office in 1933. At the end of each chat, he invited his listeners to write and tell him their concerns. McArthur Award-winning historian Lawrence Levine (The Opening of the American Mind) and his wife, Cornelia, an independent scholar, here assemble a representative sample of the American people's responses, arranged chronologically through 1945. Set into historical context by the Levines, the letters range from the engaging to the banal. Of course, the critical correspondence (of which there is plenty) makes for far more interesting reading than do the fawning letters of approval, of which there are also plenty. "I would feel more confident if you didn't have so many smart alex young Jews and Irish around you," wrote a farmer in 1940. "I am amazed that after the `pump priming' you have already poured into the Country you should have nothing better to offer than a repetition..." wrote a North Carolina conservative in '38. And then we have this, from 1942: "When you talk so glibly of drafting our... boys, it is absolute proof that you are war-mad." Perhaps a few of these missives, such as the several bearing asinine poems written to honor the president, should have been left to decay in the files of the FDR Library. Overall, however, the letters comprised variously of love, spite, wit and bigotry combine to offer a new and intriguing lens through which to view FDR and his America. 6 b&w photos not seen by PW. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2002-04-15:
Franklin Delano Roosevelt is widely considered by scholars as the father of the modern presidency. His ability to transform the office from one that responded to policy created by Congress to one that initiated public policy was due in no small part to his mastery of the new medium of radio. In this fine volume, award-winning historian Lawrence Levine (The Opening of the American Mind) and independent scholar Cornelia Levine present a sample of letters written by Americans from all walks of life in response to each of Roosevelt's "Fireside Chats." In an excellent introduction, the authors place the chats and the correspondence they generated in a larger context. FDR delivered 31 such talks, spaced unevenly over all 12 years of his presidency. Each chapter contains a summary of the chat with accompanying commentary, followed by a representative sample of letters received by the White House in response to the talk. These letters "help re-create a conversation between FDR and the American people." Indeed, these fascinating and touching letters provide much more insight into the lives of average Americans of that time than simply reading a historical account of the period. Recommended for all libraries. Thomas J. Baldino, Wilkes Univ., Wilkes-Barre, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2003-06-01:
Historians Lawrence Levine and Cornelia Levine have delivered a masterful work. Some books, such as FDR's Fireside Chats, ed. by Russell Buhite and David Levy (1992), examine those speeches as important historical documents. The Levines, on the other hand, focus on the American people's reaction to each of FDR's 31 radio addresses. In a thoroughly engaging preface, the Levines note that many social and fraternal organizations met to listen to the president's chats and discuss his message afterwards. Workers and family members rearranged their day so that they could be stationed in front of a radio when the president spoke. The Levines culled through tens of thousands of letters at the National Archives and the FDR Presidential Library to research letters that responded directly to the fireside chats. The letters predictably ranged in sentiment from the praiseworthy--often referring to FDR as "Your Excellency"--to the critical. After FDR's failure in a May 1940 chat to directly challenge Hitler's aggression, for example, one writer bluntly informed the president "he blew it." This is one of those rare books that will appeal to casual readers as well as specialists. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels and libraries. B. Miller University of Cincinnati
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews, April 2002
Library Journal, April 2002
Publishers Weekly, April 2002
Choice, June 2003
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Table of Contents
Introductionp. 1
The Nadir: 1933-1936
Closing the Banksp. 29
A New Dealp. 60
The First Hundred Daysp. 78
"Relief, Recovery, Reform and Reconstruction"p. 93
Order out of Chaosp. 108
Protecting the Weakp. 128
"An Orderly Economic Democracy"p. 147
The Continuing Crisis: 1937-1938
"Packing" the Supreme Courtp. 163
Balancing the "Human Budget"p. 201
Combatting Renewed Depressionp. 219
"Purging" the Democratic Partyp. 247
Looking Abroad: 1939-1941
"True Neutrality"p. 269
"The Approaching Storm"p. 285
"The Great Arsenal of Democracy"p. 308
An Unlimited National Emergencyp. 340
The Attack on the USS Greerp. 374
Pearl Harborp. 393
America at War: 1942-1945
"The Battle Ground of Civilization"p. 413
"Hard Work and Sorrow and Blood"p. 432
"The Folks Back Home"p. 451
The Coal Strikep. 476
The GI Billp. 490
An Economic Bill of Rightsp. 515
Planning for Peacep. 539
Epiloguep. 559
A Note on the Fireside Chatsp. 571
Notesp. 573
Acknowledgmentsp. 595
Index of Letter Writersp. 597
General Indexp. 603
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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