Through a long public life and short presidency, Herbert Hoover carefully cultivated reporters and media owners as he rose from a relief administrator to president of the United States. During his service to government, he held the conviction that journalists were to be manipulated and mistrusted. When the nation fell into economic disaster, Hoover's misconceptions about the press and press relations exacerbated a national calamity. This book traces the entire history of Hoover's relationship with magazines, newspapers, newsreel organizations, and radio, and demonstrates how an attitude toward the U.S. press can help or hinder a public figure throughout his career. The book draws upon diaries of Hoover aides, oral histories from journalists and other media figures, newspaper and magazine clippings, radio broadcasts, newsreels, public documents, archival manuscripts, and a plethora of published secondary books and articles. This may be the most complete and best-documented study of a single president and the media.
Carl Sandburg called Chicago the "City of the Big Shoulders," and those shoulders withstood the stock market crash of 1929. Chicagoans rallied to collect funds to celebrate the centennial of the city's incorporation in 1833. A Century of Progress International Exposition, held in 1933 and 1934, brought jobs and businesses to Chicago and cheered people with the prospect of new technology and the promising face of the future. Neighborhood churches and community organizations helped each other, and the Great Migration brought new arrivals from the American South. Together, these factors helped to hasten the end of Prohibition and the fall of notorious gangsters like Al Capone and John Dillinger. Jazz rolled in, with Chicagoans dancing along to the tunes of the big bands. Even if pocketbooks were bare, souls were full of hope.
During the Depression, Roy Emerson Stryker, head of the Farm Security Administration Historical Section, hired some of the best photographers in the United States--including Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks, Walker Evans, Ben Shahn, Marion Post Walcott, John Delano, John Vachon, and Arthur Rothstein--to record the state of the country during its direst days. While Stryker made many demands on his photographers, he also gave them a great deal of freedom. Asking for sociology, he received great art. It is that combination which makes the FSA collection so special.
A goal of the FSA photographers was to inspire the country to care about the people the New Deal programs were trying to help. With regard to children, they were masterful. The photographs show us the young of every ethnicity living in conditions we associate today with Third World countries. Behind virtually every shot taken of a child by these remarkable chroniclers is the dream of a world in which childhood is a time of play, happiness, and safety. The reality, shown in the photographs assembled in Children of the Depression, reveals the betrayal of that dream. But the pictures also are a testament to resilience and hope.
Editors Kathleen Thompson and Hilary Mac Austin have chosen images that represent different regions and ethnic backgrounds. Some pictures may challenge preconceptions about the Depression era; others will give concrete meaning to the facts and figures that we know about deprivation and hardship. Thompson and Austin use a few of the very familiar FSA photographs, in addition to many pictures that have seldom or never been published.
More than 100 black-and-white images are arranged by category, each chapter depicting a specific element of the daily lives of children. Although the photographs are the defining feature of the book, compelling quotes transcribed by social workers of the era are interspersed throughout.
Children of the Depression will appeal to lovers of great photography. It will also serve as graphic representation for the generations that followed of the conditions that formed the values and aspirations of many of their parents and grandparents.
For the first time in paperback, the highly acclaimed, remarkably intimate, and surprisingly revealing secret diary of the woman who spent more private time with FDR than any other person during his years in the White house. At once a love story and a major contribution to history, it offers dramatic new insights into FDR--both the man and the president.- Bestselling author: Geoffrey C. Ward is an award-winning biographer of FDR and the bestselling coauthor of many books with Ken Burns, including The Civil War and Baseball. - Widely acclaimed: "A fascinating, very personal view of the man and his life" (USA TODAY). "A remarkable portrait" (The Washington Post). "A new mirror on Roosevelt" (The New York Times). "engrossing" (The New York Review of Books). - Intimate portrait of a president: FDR trusted Margaret "Daisy" Suckley completely--she was allowed to photograph him in his wheelchair, was privy to wartime secrets, and documented his failing health in great detail. - Major contribution to history: Daisy's diary offers unique insights into FDR's relationship with Winston Churchill and other wartime leaders, his decision to run for an unprecedented fourth term, and his hopes for the postwar world.
This book challenges generally accepted views by concluding that the critical press, so often characterized by pro-New Deal historians as conservative or reactionary, was in fact a good deal more liberal than Roosevelt and his advisors. Without its opposition to Roosevelt's policies during the years before Congress began to reassert its constitutional responsibilities, the United States might well have deviated considerably from the path of constitutional and democractic government.
From 1933 to 1938 the critical press (both newspapers and journalists) fulfilled much of the function of (and perceived of itself as) the equivalent of a parliamentary opposition to Roosevelt's policies and programs, since this was a period when the Republican opposition was moribund and Congress was generally submissive to the executive branch. Best describes the reaction of the critical press to FDR's domestic policies toward enhancement of the power of the White House at the expense of Congress and the Supreme Court. This enhancement gradually led many in the press to conclude that the basis for dictatorial rule was being laid by Roosevelt and/or those around him. This study will be of interest to historians and students of history.
Hailed as one of the best books of 2009 by the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, this vibrant portrait of 1930s culture masterfully explores the anxiety and hope, the despair and surprising optimism of distressed Americans during the Great Depression. Morris Dickstein, whom Norman Mailer called "one of our best and most distinguished critics of American literature," has brought together a staggering range of material-from epic Dust Bowl migrations to zany screwball comedies, elegant dance musicals, wildly popular swing bands, and streamlined Deco designs. Exploding the myth that Depression culture was merely escapist, Dickstein concentrates on the dynamic energy of the arts, and the resulting lift they gave to the nation's morale. A fresh and exhilarating analysis of one of America's most remarkable artistic periods, with Dancing in the Dark Dickstein delivers a monumental critique. A New York Times Notable Book, Los Angeles Times Favorite Book, San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2009, and Huffington Post Best Book.
Impoverished young Americans had no greater champion during the Depression than Eleanor Roosevelt. As First Lady, Mrs. Roosevelt used her newspaper columns and radio broadcasts to crusade for expanded federal aid to poor children and teens. She was the most visible spokesperson for the National Youth Administration, the New Deal's central agency for aiding needy youths, and she was adamant in insisting that federal aid to young people be administered without discrimination so that it reached blacks as well as whites, girls as well as boys.
This activism made Mrs. Roosevelt a beloved figure among poor teens and children, who between 1933 and 1941 wrote her thousands of letters describing their problems and requesting her help. Dear Mrs. Roosevelt presents nearly 200 of these extraordinary documents to open a window into the lives of the Depression's youngest victims. In their own words, the letter writers confide what it was like to be needy and young during the worst economic crisis in American history.
Revealing both the strengths and the limitations of New Deal liberalism, this book depicts an administration concerned and caring enough to elicit such moving appeals for help yet unable to respond in the very personal ways the letter writers hoped.
During the Great Depression, black intellectuals, labor organizers, and artists formed the National Negro Congress (NNC) to demand a second emancipation in America. Over the next decade, the NNC and its offshoot, the Southern Negro Youth Congress, sought to coordinate and catalyze local antiracist activism into a national movement to undermine the Jim Crow system of racial and economic exploitation. In this pioneering study, Erik S. Gellman shows how the NNC agitated for the first-class citizenship of African Americans and all members of the working class, establishing civil rights as necessary for reinvigorating American democracy.
Much more than just a precursor to the 1960s civil rights movement, this activism created the most militant interracial freedom movement since Reconstruction, one that sought to empower the American labor movement to make demands on industrialists, white supremacists, and the state as never before. By focusing on the complex alliances between unions, civic groups, and the Communist Party in five geographic regions, Gellman explains how the NNC and its allies developed and implemented creative grassroots strategies to weaken Jim Crow, if not deal it the death blow they sought.
In this insightful study, Braatz and Rowland examine how Wisconsin's Winnebago County negotiated nagging issues such as unemployment, debt relief, and sluggish industry during the Great Depression, while attempting to understand the effect these times had on the people who called the county home. In the fall of 1929, the Great Depression descended hard upon Winnebago County. Although the county suffered debilitating effects from the economic collapse, the pain was not evenly distributed amongst this largely industrial region in the southern Fox Valley. At the northern edge of Winnebago County, the cities Neenah and Menasha, driven by the paper industry, suffered far less than Oshkosh, a city greatly reliant upon the woodworking mills lining the Fox River. When new housing disappeared, demand for Oshkosh's doors and window sashes went with it_and the jobs were quick to follow. The searing hardships caused by the Great Depression ravaged the economy and social fabric of the Winnebago County community.
This is the story of a political miracle--the perfect match of man and moment.Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office in March of 1933 as America touched bottom. Banks were closing everywhere. Millions of people lost everything. The Great Depression had caused a national breakdown. With the craft of a master storyteller, Jonathan Alter brings us closer than ever before to the Roosevelt magic. Facing the gravest crisis since the Civil War, FDR used his cagey political instincts and ebullient temperament in the storied first Hundred Days of his presidency to pull off an astonishing conjuring act that lifted the country and saved both democracy and capitalism. Who was this man? To revive the nation when it felt so hopeless took an extraordinary display of optimism and self-confidence. Alter shows us how a snobbish and apparently lightweight young aristocrat was forged into an incandescent leader by his domineering mother; his independent wife; his eccentric top adviser, Louis Howe; and his ally-turned-bitter-rival, Al Smith, the Tammany Hall street fighter FDR had to vanquish to complete his preparation for the presidency. "Old Doc Roosevelt" had learned at Warm Springs, Georgia, how to lift others who suffered from polio, even if he could not cure their paralysis, or his own. He brought the same talents to a larger stage. Derided as weak and unprincipled by pundits, Governor Roosevelt was barely nominated for president in 1932. As president-elect, he escaped assassination in Miami by inches, then stiffed President Herbert Hoover's efforts to pull him into cooperating with him to deal with a terrifying crisis. In the most tumultuous and dramatic presidential transition in history, the entire banking structure came tumbling down just hours before FDR's legendary "only thing we have to fear is fear itself" Inaugural Address. In a major historical find, Alter unearths the draft of a radio speech in which Roosevelt considered enlisting a private army of American Legion veterans on his first day in office. He did not. Instead of circumventing Congress and becoming the dictator so many thought they needed, FDR used his stunning debut to experiment. He rescued banks, put men to work immediately, and revolutionized mass communications with pioneering press conferences and the first Fireside Chat. As he moved both right and left, Roosevelt's insistence on action now did little to cure the Depression, but he began to rewrite the nation's social contract and lay the groundwork for his most ambitious achievements, including Social Security. From one of America's most respected journalists, rich in insights and with fresh documentation and colorful detail, this thrilling story of presidential leadership--of what government is for--resonates through the events of today. It deepens our understanding of how Franklin Delano Roosevelt restored hope and transformed America. The Defining Moment will take its place among our most compelling works of political history.