"A grand historical synthesis...this is the kind of book prizes are made for."--Chicago Tribune
"This is modern America's story--modern America's most thrilling, most irresistible, and most significant story--and in this massive volume, David M. Kennedy makes it his story in a way that no one has before. Freedom From Fear, the fourth installment of the new Oxford History of the United States to appear, is as much a triumph as its predecessors, providing every indication that the series, once completed, will stand as the most comprehensive and most compelling narrative history of the nation." --Boston Globe
"Rarely does a work of historical synthesis combine such trenchant analysis and elegant writing as does Kennedy's spectacular contribution to the Oxford History of the United States. Kennedy uses a wide canvas to depict all aspects of the American political, social and economic experience from 1929 to 1945. He also provides a stunningly original reinterpretation of the competing forces and interests that combined to shape the New Deal under FDR's direction. The book's final 400 pages admirably demonstrate exactly how the U.S. emerged victorious in WWII.... Because of its scope, its insight and its purring narrative engine, Kennedy's book will stand for years to come as the definitive history of the most important decades of the American Century." --Publishers Weekly
"An engrossing narrative of a momentous time. The best one-volume account of the Roosevelt era currently available.... Good old-fashioned history."-- The New York Times Book Review
"An indispensable account of the two great formative events of 20th century American history--the Great Depression and the second World War."--The Economist
"The book...has my strong approval. As it will have, I cannot doubt, that of the many readers it deserves."--John C. Gilbraith, The Washington Monthly
"An invaluable compendium of the hyperactive period that contains the Great depression and the Second World War."--The Washington Times
"Kennedy's book is the most illuminating, riveting, comprehensive, and graceful one-volume history of this nation's experiences during the Great Depression, New Deal, and WWII published to date.... This is social, political, dipolmatic, and military history written magisterially with broad but nuanced strokes across a 16-year span that utterly transformed the lives of Americans and the world.... Librarians should order this book for their libraries, faculty members should assign it, and everyone should read it."--Choice
"Kennedy's grasp of deep-rooted social problems and his enlightening, analytical style are very much in evidence.... [he] brilliantly explores the conflicting nuances of [Roosevelt's] character and program.... Kennedy has achieved a judicious balance in his treatment of the Depression and the military operations and diplomatic maneuvers of World War II. His narrative style is in the grand tradition of American historical writing, an unfaltering display of clarity and detail."--Philadephia Inquirer
"No other book so vividly captures the spirit of those 17 years that forever changed America."-- Christian Science Monitor
"One of our most broad-gauged American historians brings us that increasing rarity: a big book about a big subject.... The Stanford scholar takes on the job of tracing the American people through three of the most important and important and widely written about epochs in the century...and provides us with consistently original and sometimes startling conclusions."--The Washington Post
"A major achievement in objective historical writing that should be a legacy to generations of students seeking authoritative reference material on the period."--Kirkus Reviews
"David Kennedy...is absolutely masterful in this literate and lively history of the American people in the Depression and World War II."--The Waterbury Republican-American
"From its dramatic prelude depicting Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, and Joseph Stalin hearing the news of the end of World War I on November 11, 1918, to its moving climax on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, this panoramic narrative pulses with life, color, incident, and action. We know how it all comes out, yet the fate of the nation seems to hang in the balance as Kennedy captures history's throat-catching contingency." --Jack Beatty, author of The Rascal King: The Life and Times of James Michael Curley and The World According to Peter Drucker
"We expect the best from David Kennedy and he will not disappoint anybody with this competent, complete and literate volume. Covering a time of large and intense change, it is all here. A major and thoroughly fine piece of work."--John Kenneth Galbraith
Freedom from Fear brings together in one place the epic story of how America faced the greatest challenges in its history. At a time when we tend to bemoan our selfish preoccupations, it is bracing to read David Kennedy's moving account of our better selves. This is history the way it ought to be.-- Alan Wolfe, Boston University, author of One Nation After All
"Displaying a literary craft uncommon in survey works, he has woven together narrative, sketches of character, and critical judgment to record and analyze the economic, political, social, and military events of these epic years.... This account of the crucial struggles and events of the Depression and war years will lend perspective like few others."--Library Journal
"David Kennedy is one of America's most distinguished historians, and Freedom from Fear is a remarkable achievement: deeply researched, insightful, and beautifully written. Fast-paced, it presents vivid portraits of major actors such as Roosevelt, Churchill, and Hitler, as well as of the hopes and fears of millions of lesser-known people caught up in the tumultuous years of the Great Depression and of World War II."--James T. Patterson, Bancroft Prize-winning author of Grand Expectations
This is an enormous book, heavy to carry and light and very agreeable to read....the book, nearly all of it, has my strong approval.
...Kennedy...has written an account of those times that is seemingly determined to leave out nothing at all....impressively cogent....[He] adheres to his course of intelligent disenchantment.
The ninth volume in Oxford University Press's United States History series is likely to be a winner...It most certainly will get high marks for the impeccable scholarship and great writing skills of its author....What a book this is!
Minneapolis-St.Paul Star Observer
David Kennedy's sweeping, magisterial retelling of America's story during the Depression and World War II, is a riveting, blisteringly good read....Beyond his analytical prowess, Kennedy's writing style brings to mind Mark Twain's one-liner: The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lighting and a lightning bug. Kennedy invariably picks the right word. It's the fastest 900 pages one can imagine reading.
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Kennedy's book in the most illuminating, riveting, comprehensive, and graceful one-volume history of this nation's experiences during the Great Depression, New Deal, and WW II published to date....This is a social, political, diplomatic, and military history written magisterially with broad but nuanced strokes across a 16-year span that utterly transformed the lives of Americans and the world.
Choice Magazine, October 1999
This is the third volume of an Oxford series covering U.S. history and a Pulitzer Prize winner on its own. The book is a wonderful blend of research, writing and thinking skills, with vivid portraits of key historical players (Roosevelt, Hitler, Churchill). It is also sure-handed in its description of social, political and economic undercurrents. It has clear and sensible chapter divisions, a concise bibliographic essay, and a solidly detailed index. It's a book that can be read for enjoyment as well as research projects, an old-fashioned narrative with new-fashioned techniques. Because of its size, libraries might want this in hardcover; it will be heavily used. (The Oxford History of the United States) KLIATT Codes: SARecommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1999, Oxford Univ. Press, 936p. illus. bibliog. index., $19.95. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Daniel J. Levinson; History & English Teacher, Thayer Acad., Braintree , September 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 5)
With this history of the Depression, New Deal, and World War II, Stanford University's Kennedy becomes the latest contributor to Oxford's distinguished series on U.S. history. Kennedy has a distinguished record of his own, with two acclaimed books, Birth Control in America: The Career of Margaret Sanger (LJ 8/70) and Over Here: The First World War and American Society (LJ 10/1/80). Displaying a literary craft uncommon in survey works, he has woven together narrative, sketches of character, and critical judgment to record and analyze the economic, political, social, and military events of these epic years. Readers who feel they live in an era of tumultuous change might well consult Kennedy's book. This account of the crucial struggles and events of the Depression and war years will lend perspective like few others. For all libraries.--Robert F. Nardini, North Chichester, NH
...[A]n engrossing narrative of a momentous time, the best one-volume account of the Roosevelt era currently available....[N]othing can top his pages describing how a basically isolationist nation entered the war....They are the high point...
The New York Times Book Review
Splendid…deserves to become the standard work of introduction to its three subjects…This is one of the most valuable forms of scholarly originality and it will make itself felt over a long time.
The latest volume of the Oxford History of the United States, an exhaustive survey spanning 16 years of crises, ordeals, fears, and insecurities. Kennedy (History/Stanford Univ.; Over Here: The First World War and American Society, 1980) writes of post-WWI disillusionment, the collapse of farm prices that had been driven higher by the war, and the great movement of rural people to the cities. President Hoover, the laissez-faire whipping boy of the Great Depression, emerges here as a well-intentioned workaholic who tried valiantly with many plans and experiments, despite some faulty philosophy, to bring his country out of the economic free fall that resulted from the effects of the Treaty of Versailles (huge and ruinous war reparations imposed on Germany, record tariffs that severely damaged international trade), a gold standard that restricted the money supply, and an unregulated, speculative stock market that fed on excess credit and caused widespread bank failures and massive unemployment. Kennedy describes the great fear paralyzing the country when FDR came to power. The flood of New Deal legislation attempted to use the government to build social and economic security for its citizens. It didn't end the Depression, but it did create permanent monuments in American life, including Social Security, unemployment insurance, and banking and stock market reforms. Full economic recovery followed the US entrance into WWII, from which a newly prosperous, confident America emerged, despite the loss of more than 400,000 lives. The author does well in selecting salient events and colorful, representative details to illuminate this critical period in the American Century. A majorachievement in objective historical writing that should be a legacy to generations of students seeking authoritative reference material on the period. (First printing of 50,000; first serial to the Atlantic Monthly; author tour)