Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Defining Moment by Jonathan Alter

Illuminating.

Timely.

Eminently readable.

I read it because it's one of the books our new president is reading because, you know, our new president reads.

From the start, I was learning. There were many details of the Depression of which I was unaware. It was troubling how many of them mirrored today's headlines. But do the solutions attempted during the Depression have any applicability to today's circumstances?

Alter makes the argument that the key to the New Deal was the persona of the newly elected president and his willingness to basically just keep throwing darts at the dart board. According to Alter, Roosevelt didn't have so much a vision regarding what to do as a drive to simply do something. The appearance of activity went a long way in creating optimism.

Alter creates a revealing, well-balanced portrait of FDR. While his focus is the first 100 days of FDR's presidency, he provides plenty of lead in and follow up which gives the reader a solid overview of the entire era and a great deal of detail about the defining moment.

1 comment:

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