FDR Goes to War: How Expanded Executive Power, Spiraling National Debt, and Restricted Civil Liberties Shaped Wartime America

Overview

From the acclaimed author of New Deal or Raw Deal?, called “eye-opening” by the National Review, comes a fascinating exposé of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s destructive wartime legacy—and its adverse impact on America’s economic and foreign policies today.

Did World War II really end the Great Depression—or did President Franklin Roosevelt’s poor judgment and confused management leave Congress with a devastating fiscal mess after the final bomb was dropped? In this provocative new...

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FDR Goes to War: How Expanded Executive Power, Spiraling National Debt, and Restricted Civil Liberties Shaped Wartime America

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Overview

From the acclaimed author of New Deal or Raw Deal?, called “eye-opening” by the National Review, comes a fascinating exposé of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s destructive wartime legacy—and its adverse impact on America’s economic and foreign policies today.

Did World War II really end the Great Depression—or did President Franklin Roosevelt’s poor judgment and confused management leave Congress with a devastating fiscal mess after the final bomb was dropped? In this provocative new book, historians Burton W. Folsom, Jr., and Anita Folsom make a compelling case that FDR’s presidency led to evasive and self-serving wartime policies.

At a time when most Americans held isolationist sentiments—a backlash against the stunning carnage of World War I—Roosevelt secretly favored an aggressive interventionist foreign policy. Yet, throughout the 1930s, he spent lavishly on his disastrous New Deal programs and slashed defense spending, leaving America vastly unprepared for Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor and the challenge of fighting World War II.

History books tell us the wartime economy was a boon, thanks to massive government spending. But the skyrocketing national debt, food rations, nonexistent luxuries, crippling taxes, labor strikes, and dangerous work of the time tell a different story—one that is hardly the stuff of recovery.

Instead, the war ushered in a new era of imperialism for the executive branch. Roosevelt seized private property, conducted illegal wiretaps, tried to silence domestic opposition, and interned 110,000 Japanese Americans. He set a dangerous precedent for entangling alliances in foreign affairs, including his remarkable courtship of Russian dictator Joseph Stalin, while millions of Americans showed the courage, perseverance, and fortitude to make the weapons and fight the war.

Was Roosevelt a great wartime leader, as historians almost unanimously assert? The Folsoms offer a thought-provoking revision of his controversial legacy. FDR Goes to War will make America take a second look at one of its most complicated presidents.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this right-wing polemic, Folsom New Deal or Raw Deal? and his wife argue that FDR's achievements during WWII were merely another episode in the creeping growth of big government. Though FDR can be justifiably criticized for many things, including his refusal to integrate the military, his hesitation in welcoming Jewish refugees, and the internment of more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans, the authors go further, characterizing him as wily or devious, and damning him at every turn. Opponents of government in all its guises, they criticize emergency measures such as rationing, higher taxes, and price controls. The real heroes in their eyes are the American entrepreneurs and CEOs who enriched themselves on federal contracts. Ironically, the type of military they advocate—where government functions are farmed out to private firms, and corporations influence policy—is the neo-conservative vision carried out during the current War on Terror, a conflict that has cost far more civil liberties than any New Dealer could ever have imagined. Oct.
From the Publisher
"FDR Goes to War . . . is the latest and perhaps the most devastating critique of FDR. It is painfully relevant to our current president." — Thomas Sowell

"FDR Goes to War is a page-turning tour de force — and a scholarly one, at that — of the politics and economics of America's involvement in WWII. Be prepared to rethink much of what you think you know about FDR, the war, and the post-Depression U.S. economy." —Don Bordreaux, Chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University

"In New Deal or Raw Deal? Burt Folsom exposed FDR's failed policies during the Great Depression. Now, in FDR Goes to War, he pulls the curtain back even further. Burt and Anita Folsom have produced a book that should be read by all Americans. This is the real history you do not find in textbooks." — James P. Duffy, author of Lindbergh Vs. Roosevelt

"Few in the history profession have done more to shed light on the real Franklin Delano Roosevelt than Burt Folsom. With FDR Goes to War, Folsom and his wife Anita educate Americans on the facts we should have known but were never taught. You will find this book both shocking and refreshing." — Lawrence W. Reed, president, Foundation for Economic Education

"A compelling look at a fascinating man in a devastating war. This is the FDR concealed for over half a century by liberal academics and biased journalists. You will learn a lot from this engaging and readable book." — Paul Kengor, professor of political science, Grove City College, and author of Dupes

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439183205
  • Publisher: Threshold Editions
  • Publication date: 10/11/2011
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Burton W. Folsom, Jr., Ph.D., a professor of history at Hillsdale College in Michigan, is the author of several books. A regular columnist for The Freeman, he has also written for The Wall Street Journal, American Spectator, Policy Review, and Human Events.

Anita Folsom has pursued a career in both politics and the teaching of history. Anita served as county chairman for the Reagan/Mitch McConnell campaigns in 1984, and she worked for U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell for two years after he was elected. She currently blogs at BurtFolsom.com.

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 18, 2012

    Must Read!

    I just finished this book. This was a fanastic book and details the FDR administration and how the New Deal policies were suspended so the war effort come be addressed first and foremost according to FDR. How ironic that the New Deal policies demonized capitalist, productivity, work, and innovation during the 30's, but was a must to enable the U.S. to provide the necessary war materiels to win the war. Despite the efforts of the business during the war period, FDR was not going to forego the New Deal policies. FDR was determined to start again a New New Deal after the war was won. FDR's death put a stop to any additional New Deal policies and programs. Truman was a New Deal follower, but after 4 years of rationing, Americans were eager for the American Dream to be realized. Tax rates were cut and New Deal policy attempts shelved permitted an economic expansion not see since the 20's. I have have read other works by the author, as well as from Jim Powell and convinced that government interb=vention is the problem and the wishful thinking that goes along with it. A command and control economy does not work and will not work as long as we are human beings and have an interest in the pursuit of our own self-interests. Progressives don't want to recognize this fact about human beings. It is about their own self-interest, their families, wants, and needs that drive the economy and the productive endeavors in our society. Imagine tax rates at 94%. No wonder there was an underground economy. This is a must read for those who have an interest in history and to know and understand the roots of payroll taxes, tax withholdings, personal exemptions, and health insurance benefits. It all began in some form or another with the policies of FDR.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2011

    Essential WW2 reading

    Another excellent book by Dr. Folsom. His wife, Anita joins him in covering a neglected aspect of the conflict. Little has been written on the political and logistical background and much new, revealing material will be found here. It shows how FDR had to reach out to the very businessmen he had villified during the Depression in order to have the materials and munitions necessary to win. Thomas Sowell has just put this on his list of recommended books to give for Christmas and I agree. Outstanding scholarship and new insights into "behind the scenes" actions that have parallels to today. I consider it an illuminating addition to my WW2 library.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    With the facts revealed this book is a must read. Very surprising, easy to read. Very well done.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2012

    Great Book!

    This was a great book from the standpoint of the events leading up to the U.S.A entry into the WWII. Folsom discusses the the various events of the time; the politics, the New Deal, and gives the reader insight in what was going on inside and outside the government. Industry was suspicious of FDR, but came through to provide the U.S.A with what was needed to defeat Germany and Japan. If you like to know what was happen below the waterline, then you will enjoy this book. Things are not always what they seem. After you read this book, you'll understand that hwta FDR did would not be allowed now days. Despite it all, what FDR did surrounding the war effort was likely necessary to turn the tide and permit the U.S.A entry into WWII and its eventual victory. All-in-all, the magnitude of the events of the 1940's drove FDR's decision-making.

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    Posted December 1, 2011

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    Posted November 16, 2011

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    Posted February 19, 2012

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