FDR: The First Hundred Days

The furiously busy first hundred days of Franklin D. Roosevelt?s presidency have become a benchmark against which all later presidents have been measured. FDR?s New Deal, Professor Badger tells us, "was an emergency response to the crisis of the Depression." Contrary to six decades of Republican rhetoric that?s depicted FDR as a radical proponent of Big Government, Badger explains that FDR was neither anti-business nor in favor of massive government budget deficits. Indeed, in confronting his first crisis, the propping up of the nation?s failing banking system, FDR borrowed his program directly from his predecessor, Herbert Hoover. Moreover, Badger explains that several of FDR?s New Deal programs relied heavily on local authorities for their implementation. In setting up much-needed controls on prices, wages, and production, whether for farmers (through the Agricultural Adjustment Act) or businesses (through the National Recovery Act), FDR pursued a bottom-up policy that relied on volun-
tary cooperation, local involvement, and minimal federal intervention. "The New Deal put its faith in grass-roots democracy," writes Badger. FDR viewed business as vital, but he loathed the sort of corporate and financial irresponsibility that he believed fostered the 1929 stock market crash. FDR?s goal, notes Badger, was "to get the market to operate in a more open and transparent way" so as to protect the public interest. Badger?s fresh and admirably fair-minded look at the New Deal?s beginnings takes readers inside the White House as a new president deals day-to-day with the greatest economic crisis in this nation?s history.

July 23: Jessica Mitford died on this day in 1996.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).

Watching Them Be

What makes a film actor into a larger-than-life movie star? James Harvey's passionate, freewheeling essays explain why there are some faces (from Greta Garbo's to Samuel L. Jackson's) from which we cannot look away.

Landline

What if you called up the spouse on the verge of leaving you -- and instead found yourself magically talking to his younger self, the one you first fell for?  Rainbow Rowell, author of the YA smash Eleanor & Park, delivers a sly, enchanting take on 21st-century love.