FDR and The New Deal For Beginners

Paul Buhle and Sabrina Jones, For Beginners (Random, dist.), $14.99 trade paper (200p) ISBN 9781934389508
The incredibly farsighted and productive presidential career of Roosevelt is handled in smart, dramatic fashion in this long-overdue addition to Steerforth's impressive "For Beginners" line of introductions to concepts, thinkers, and historical events. Buhle (The Beats) gives a clean overview of FDR's early years before heading into the meat of his story about America's most populist president. Dividing Buhler's text chapter are graphic renditions of many of the events by Jones (The Real Cost of Prisons), whose dramatic, woodcut-inspired art recalls political broadsides of the early 20th century. While avoiding lecturing, Buhle and Jones proudly speak from the left of the spectrum, a tricky balancing act. An introductory note states that the writer and artist were moved to create this book by the 2008 election of President Obama, which "created a popular, democratic and egalitarian excitement that, even now, after a considerable letdown, has hardly faded in memory." Buhle and Jones do such a good job of illustrating FDR's staggering legacy, however, that shutting the book and returning to 2010 comes as a considerable letdown. (July)
Reviewed on: 09/13/2010
Release date: 07/01/2010
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