Customer Reviews for

Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945

Average Rating 4.5
( 13 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2006

    Good, not great

    This book was at its best when explaining the ecomomic, industrial, and political reasons for the Depression, and the policies that led up to war in the Pacific. The author also did a good job of explaining what life was like for the poor before the Depression and how it had changed little since Reconstruction. The rest of the book was average, in my opinion. The details of FDR's new deal and the various agencies created became a jumble of acronyms that lost meaning. His discussion of WWII - especially in Europe - added very little new information. The title of the book was also mis-leading. I expected more insight into the lives of everyday Americans and soldiers. There was far too little of that and far too much standard Depression and WWII historical information in the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2001

    Wonderful and engrossing coverage of this period in our history.

    This, perhaps, was the most interesting and intense period in U.S. history. I've read numerous books and articles covering this subject matter and I believe David Kennedy's treatment of it is among the best. I concur with the reviews for the hard cover copy of this work.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 1999

    Oxford Does It Again...

    David Kennedy's Freedom From Fear does for the Depression and World War II what James M. McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom did for the Civil War. Freedom From Fear is a masterly account of the most tumultuous times for this country in the 20th Century. Both accounts are separate, yet somehow inexorably linked. Kennedy closely examines the depression and the agony it inflicted on the people. His history of World War II is simply superb. He handles this massive array of material with ease and the book is beautifully written. This book should be read by any who wish to understand those times.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2002

    Outstanding

    There's not much I can say that other reviewers haven't already mentioned. I will say that Kennedy approaches history from 3 angles: (1) Historical facts; (2) Political forces influencing certain events; (3) The effects of the historical events on the people living through those times. Kennedy, in addressing point (2) for example gives a very good discussion on the causes of the Great Depression, the forces in Germany that allowed Hitler to come to power, the thinking in Japan that led to the attack on the US, the thinking of FDR in fighting the depression and an assessment of his performance. In addressing point (3), Kennedy provides rich insights into how people lived in the 1920's, the Great Depression, and WW2. He talks extensively about important socio-political issues such as women in the workforce, different races in the military, the treatment of Japanese-Americans, the feelings of Americans toward Hoover and Roosevelt, etc. It is a long book, and not all the reading is quick and smooth, but the information is there and the writing style is excellent. Allow yourself a month to get through it and absorb it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2001

    Fantastic

    This book not only is wonderful in its content but the presentation of words by Kennedy is spectacular. For example he describes Truman as a man as staight forward as a sentence without a comma. Read this book and you will be a long way towards being an expert on this most spectacular period in our country's history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2000

    Kennedy won't let us forget history's lessons

    As a former student of Professor Kennedy's at Stanford, I confess bias. Nevertheless, David illuminates America's past like no other historian, contemporary or past. He has a unique talent for captivating readers, setting the stage and making the reader feel they are at ringside. We often forget the ordeal and emotion of the Great Depression and World War II, the Fireside Chats, Pearl Harbor, D-Day, Roosevelt and Hiroshima. Kennedy has painstakingly researched this book, inserting commentaries from those who made history plus his own penetrating insights. You will find balance and fairness here, not partisan rhetoric or pedantry. Hoover was in many respects ahead of his time (although some accuse Kennedy wrongfully of a Stanford bias), McArthur knew how to stroke the PR machinery, Roosevelt was a shrewd politician, Churchill was a master manipulator, Stalin a man whose patience ran thin waiting for a promised Second Front. Other great portraits include John L. Lewis, Huey Long, Father Coughlin, General Patton ... what a great read! Buy this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2000

    Sweepingly engrossing reading

    I found this book enthralling, even tho I have read heaps on the subjects covered by it. The treatment of the New Deal is full of things I had not known much about, such as the genesis of Social Security. The account of the war rivals what I have always thought the best one volume history thereof, Robert Leckie's Delivered From Evil: The Saga of World War II.

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    Posted June 10, 2013

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