Customer Reviews for

New Deal or Raw Deal?: How FDR's Economic Legacy Has Damaged America

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

Great book about FDR and the Great Depression

It took reading this book to make me realize how little I knew about the Great Depression. I also realized how wrong my thinking was about what caused the Great Depression and why it lasted so long. This book should be required reading in high school.

posted by Tricia88 on February 5, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

9 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

Actually government spending was the right thing to do. Lots of it.

Idyllic??

The good feelings for F.D.R. were based on the real suffering he alleviated.

It is easy for the armchair economist, who has plenty to eat and a warm place to sleep, to suggest a hands off approach to solving the depression era downturn.

The problem ...
Idyllic??

The good feelings for F.D.R. were based on the real suffering he alleviated.

It is easy for the armchair economist, who has plenty to eat and a warm place to sleep, to suggest a hands off approach to solving the depression era downturn.

The problem is the length of time that approach might take would have meant prolonged suffering to those at the bottom of the income brackets. Many who were elderly and children.

People were going hungry and suffering during the depression. And the federal programs created by F.D.R. helped alleviate it. Hence F.D.R.'s reelection.

There is no perfect system, but the lesser of two evils is the approach which was used. And used correctly. However imperfect.

The fact is, massive government spending during WWII, helped lift the United States out of its depression era.

So F.D.R. was not guilty by failure of ideology, but by scope. The problem with F.D.R. was not that he spent, but that he spent too little until WWII.

Government spending was the solution.
It was not perfect, but it solved the problem.

Fiscal austerity sounds great as long as you're not the one in the breadline.

posted by DavidCA on February 23, 2009

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  • Posted February 5, 2010

    Great book about FDR and the Great Depression

    It took reading this book to make me realize how little I knew about the Great Depression. I also realized how wrong my thinking was about what caused the Great Depression and why it lasted so long. This book should be required reading in high school.

    12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 23, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Setting the Record Straight

    To the previous reviewer -- those entitlement programs are broke, so I guess they didn't work, did they?

    The book is well-researched and even offers citations. Its hard to argue with any conclusions that the author draws, because the facts back them up. This book is full of information that you didn't learn in school. The Obama administration looks moderate, when you read what happened in the Roosevelt years. If you're want to know where Obama is taking our country, read this book.

    10 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2009

    Actually government spending was the right thing to do. Lots of it.

    Idyllic??

    The good feelings for F.D.R. were based on the real suffering he alleviated.

    It is easy for the armchair economist, who has plenty to eat and a warm place to sleep, to suggest a hands off approach to solving the depression era downturn.

    The problem is the length of time that approach might take would have meant prolonged suffering to those at the bottom of the income brackets. Many who were elderly and children.

    People were going hungry and suffering during the depression. And the federal programs created by F.D.R. helped alleviate it. Hence F.D.R.'s reelection.

    There is no perfect system, but the lesser of two evils is the approach which was used. And used correctly. However imperfect.

    The fact is, massive government spending during WWII, helped lift the United States out of its depression era.

    So F.D.R. was not guilty by failure of ideology, but by scope. The problem with F.D.R. was not that he spent, but that he spent too little until WWII.

    Government spending was the solution.
    It was not perfect, but it solved the problem.

    Fiscal austerity sounds great as long as you're not the one in the breadline.

    9 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2009

    Revealing

    I read this for a book club last month. It was great. Although the author is plainly biased in his views, he does give credit where credit is due, to Roosevelt, and certainly backs up with fact everything he writes about. This is a well researched book revealing Roosevelt's economic recovery plans for what they were--criminal and wrong. It also provides an in-depth look at a man that has been revered for too long, and for all the wrong reasons. The author does a great job of revealing what really went on during FDR's administration and how economically crippling it was back then, but more importantly, in my view, how crippling it will be today if the same course is followed.

    It provided for good discussion during our book club as everyone had different insights. It also provided good discussion, debate, and insight on our current economic situation.

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2010

    Not the greatest read

    I was honestly hoping for this book to be great, and while exposing the New Deal for the sham that it was isn't all that difficult, the author unfortunately fails to deliver.

    I'm not a leftist, a Socialist, a Democrat, or a Progressive. I'm a Conservative, Republican, and a Capitalist.

    This book was actually difficult to get through, it was written from an extremely biased point of view, which you would expect, however the bias at some points was so thick, it caused this book to lose relevance.

    It could have been a great book, and if nothing else is an anthology of the failings of FDR and the New Deal, however this cannot be considered a serious academic work.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    Sets the record straight!

    One of the best discussions of the New Deal to date. Finally, someone has burst the bubble the progressives (liberals), academia, & the media created regarding FDR & the new deal.

    This should be required reading in the government sponsored public school systems!

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    Should be required reading for all

    This was an excellent book and it points out how misguided government policies, programs, and federal spending prolonged the Great Depression. It gives you a glimpse into what is occurring today and possible outcomes. The book illustrates how government intervention in the free market can lead to market distortions and unintended consequences. What sounds good and popular to the average person on the street inevitably creates more problems than are solved and unfortunately it is the avearge person on the street that gets hurt. I was also captivated by FDR's ego and how destructive he could be if you opposed him. What a shame. After reading this book, I was left with a much different attitude about FDR, politicians, and government over-reach. Hence, the less government the better. It is simply wrong to use taxpayer money to curry favor through "patronage." FDR was a master of this, along with using other arms of the government to manipulate the voters: "the dole spoils the soul" or to attack his opponents e.g. IRS. Couldn't agree more. Fasinating book. A must read for anyone who is trying to understand why we are where we are today.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2009

    Informative

    The book clearly outlines how bad economic decision-making and party-first politics extended the length of the Great Depression. There are many vaulalbe lessons for today's politicians. If we can learn from our past then maybe we can avoid making the same mistakes and another depression. History and economics show that a country can't spend its way out of a recession. Money taken away from the private sector and businesses is money taken away from a quick recovery. Individuals and businesses are what drive the economy, and Burton Folsom provides a clear and accurate picture of how our government and politics held our country back and damaged the fabric of our nation.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Sets the record straight!

    This is excellent reading, although it deals with the process of converting the US into a welfare and government depending state in the early 1900s (Depression Era), it is completely relevant today. Socialists always try to gain control of the population with ill conceived plans during trying and desperate times. This book isn't deep or confusing, it is simple and easy to grasp. I will definitely pass along my copy to others.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 29, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Raw Deal

    Raw Deal is what this book is about. It tells you what really happened in the the great depression. It tell how the polices of FDR made things worse. Also it the same plan Oboma is using to try and run this country He is trying the same things that did not work then and will not work know.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2010

    A Biased Opinion

    It's sad that the other reviews for this book now seem to take it as factual. I guess you find the "facts" for which you search. This book is yet another opinion-based book. The facts are used to interpret history the way they want it interpreted. Obviously written by regressives who don't like the social safety net formed by the New Deal, it's sad they don't admit that programs like Social Security and laws like Glass-Steagall actually have helped stabilize people's retirement incomes and the financial system. I bet they won't be returning those SS checks once they start coming in..

    4 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2010

    Another book on FDR and how he prolonged the Great Depression

    Here is another book on FDR and the Great Depression. The author tries to present FDR and the Democratic administration of the time as prolonging the Great Depression. Yes some of their policies did interfere with the economy, but it does not address the fact that FDR was following a lot of polocies advocated by Herbert Hoover. FDR basically tok these policies much further and at a national level. The book does not say anything about the individual states interfering with the economy. Nor anything abouth the federal government interference since the Progressive era. The author tends to be somewhat biased toward FDR. Yes he is probably right about the interference in the economy, but just imanigined what would have happened if Hoover had been reelected and the same policies had been continued as from 1929-1932. Want to bet that things probably have been worse? I do agree with the author in priciple, but if nothing had been done, I think things would have been even worse in the political sense.

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 15, 2009

    Outstanding Book

    EVERYONE should read this book!!!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    Interesting and Instructive

    It is good that FDR's tensure is coming under critical rather than adoring review.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 22, 2009

    Very Enlightening

    I was familiar with much of the information offered in this book, but it did offer some new, and very enlightening, information that I had not previously known. I think it would be good for the U.S. if more Americans would read this book, especially now. I highly recommend it to everyone.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2011

    Insightful!

    I read this book a few years ago and found the book quite interesting about how government intervention, although well-intended, can be quite destructive to an economy, a nation, and its people. This book is well worth the read. It will give the average reader insight into the policies of FDR during the Great Depression. Some of these policies still remain today, namely Social Security. This should be a wake-up call given the circumstances today. Government spending seems like a good idea for those who are sitting on the sidelines eager for an economic turnaround as a result of government spending,"the 870 billion stimulus". However, as was the case, the government stimulus failed to energize the economy. Reading Folsom, only reminds the reader, that well intended government spending that is not properly directed at the engine of economic develop falls short and is often wasted, as was seen with the latest stimulus. I am looking forward to the next book by Folsom, FDR Goes to War.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Waste of time

    The only thing that has damaged America is the Party of Hate on the Right who's philosophical view is so twisted against the average citizen. What a bunch of ill-informed extremists that have no concept of humanity.

    1 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 4, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Read. Germane to Modern America.

    This is the first book that I've read by this author. I've read other books on the subject matter. The author does not go into exhaustive detail to make his points, and the book is not replete with economic idiom. The book's content is shaped around his argument, and he discusses causality of the depression, as well as impacts of the NRA, AAA, TVA, WPA, taxation, FERA, financial interference, patronage, IRS abuses, attempts at court packing, labor relations, social security, and minimum wages. Once again he does not go into great detail in discussing the impacts. Readers looking for a more in depth read may be disappointed. He also discusses the abilities, ethics, and actions of FDR. FDR evangelists will also not be pleased with this book's subject matter. The book is an easy read. The subject matter is clearly germane to present day events.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 6, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    FDR is overrated and the myth of the New Deal is exposed. This i

    FDR is overrated and the myth of the New Deal is exposed. This is a must read for younger people as well as older. You won't learn this in school and a true story of history that must be shared. I would first like to debunk  one argument: That is the notion if the government doesn't spend people will go hungry well people did go hungry because of the government. When government chooses winners only small groups will benefit and the majority of the people suffer. You don't punish good behavior and subsidize bad behavior. More people suffered for more years under these policies than in anytime in the history of the US. 

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  • Posted January 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Must Read

    Easy flow of content; draw your own conclusion on subject matter.

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