Sunday, May 26, 2013

FDR and the New Deal, FDR and the "Jewish Question," and More: This Week in the Book Pages

At David E. Bernstein (George Mason School of Law) reviews Ira Katznelson's Fear Itself:  The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time (Liveright).  Bernstein notes two themes:
One is that, to an extent previously either ignored or underemphasized, politicians from the Jim Crow South controlled key committees in both houses of Congress, and therefore exerted a huge influence on the course of the New Deal. That part is true. Katznelson also indicates that the New Deal would have been more “progressive” but for the Southern Democrats. That part is more dubious.
Read on, here.

For more on FDR, in the Washington Post James McAuley reviews FDR and the Jews (Harvard) by Richard Breitman and Allan Lichtman.  According to McAuley, "[a]t long last, two historians have sought to provide an analysis of Roosevelt’s stance on the “Jewish question” that avoids the tempting urge to judge the past through the lenses of the present."  And, also on the Holocaust and the United States, the LA Times has a review of Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-1939 (Columbia) by Thomas Doherty.

Three two take up books on the Civil War: In the Washington Post Tony Horwitz reviews Peter Carlson's Junius and Albert's Adventures in the Confederacy: A Civil War Odyssey (PublicAffairs).  The Wall Street Journal has a review of Thomas Fleming's A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War (De Capo). 

The New York Times this has a piece on  Mary Louise Roberts's What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American G.I. in World War II France:
“What Soldiers Do,” to be officially published next month by the University of Chicago Press, arrives just as sexual misbehavior inside the military is high on the national agenda, thanks to a recent Pentagon report estimating that some 26,000 service members had been sexually assaulted in 2012, more than a one-third increase since 2010. 
Other reviews of interest this week: