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Three New Deals: Reflections on Roosevelt's America, Mussolini's Italy, and Hitler's Germany, 1933-1939

3.49  ·  Rating Details  ·  88 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal is regarded today as the democratic ideal, a triumphant American response to a crisis that forced Germany and Italy toward National Socialism and Fascism. Yet in the 1930s, before World War II, the regimes of Roosevelt, Mussolini, and Hitler bore fundamental similarities. In this groundbreaking work, Wolfgang Schivelbusch investigates t ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published November 27th 2007 by Picador (first published 2005)
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Lauren Albert
Aug 09, 2010 Lauren Albert rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-american
Fascinating and surprising comparison of the administrations of Roosevelt, Mussolini and Hitler. Remember, as the author writes, quoting someone else "to compare is not the same as to equate." Schivelbusch is comparing some very specific features of the administrations including their promotion of large, even grandiose, public works projects, their use of propaganda and social pressure to create "voluntary compulsion" as he writes, and their skill at seeming to be addressing the "common man."

Fred R
Apr 11, 2011 Fred R rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book opens up the under-explored connections between The New Deal in America, and similar programs of revitalization and unification carried out simultaneously in Europe. I am not sure why he omits any discussion of the Soviet Union, which surely would provide similarly resonant examples. To the close-minded or excessively political reader this may seem an unwarranted book, but I suggest that before dismissing it one meditate, for a moment on the TVA or the NRA blue eagle campaign. Unfortuna ...more
Dec 19, 2012 Aaron rated it liked it
A fascinating examination of the similarities between Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, and Roosevelt’s America. The comparisons are interesting, but the thesis is shallow and non-confrontational. A nice inquiry into the general mind of western politics in the 1930’s and that’s about all you get. It wasn’t disappointing, just underwhelming.
Jan 31, 2010 Paul rated it it was ok
Not a bad book, but not quite the book I had hoped for. It felt as if it was seen from a little too high up, too many generalities, which were then repeated in different combinations. Once again I read a book that felt padded.
Anthony Mercando
Didn't take long to get through this niche title. The author even alludes to the now non-existent field on American Fascism, though any basic analysis of history explains why. Interesting to look at the New Deal and the burgeoning fascist regimes developing at the same time with a handful of the same ideas, but Schivelbusch overlooks that all three leaders/nations had no other viable choice but to innovate. As the previous systems had been doing the same thing for the past two decades, the only ...more
bibliotekker Holman
Sometimes books sit on the shelf, aging like a bottle of wine, waiting for the proper moment. A student, who had served in various military combat roles across the globe, lamented during a presentation recently how insulated many Americans are regarding the real state of the world. This and the bizarre political season we are in, prompted me to pick up this book. An interesting and thought provoking read.
Aug 02, 2008 Iben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Besides having the world's best name, Schivelbusch is also a fantastic writer. While this book is primarily based on existing research, he is able to pull together various sources to make a compelling argument: that the various governmental projects under Roosevelt, Mussolini and Hitler had certain aspects in common (e.g. public works, propaganda, focus on the land). Schivelbusch also constantly reminds us (smartly) that to compare is not to equate, and his argument is a fascinating one. This bo ...more
May 15, 2014 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i'm just smitten with schivelbusch. it is limited in scope, but i sheds important like on the changes in the nature of the state in the 1930s.
John Schneider
I wish that I could rate this book more highly, but I found its pace and lack of wit significant drawbacks. Although always illuminating this book has a very dry and matter of fact style that prevents the reader from enjoying it greatly. Schivelbusch firmly establishes his thesis that Roosevelt, Hitler, and Mussolini shared much in common in how they changed their nations. That accomplishment makes this book a good read for historians and lovers of politics; its lack of style, however, will make ...more
Jun 17, 2008 Walid rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"[propaganda] is to the will of a regime what the automatic transmission is to an automobile engine."

more like a 3.5 stars review. in keeping with schivelbusch's writing style, the book is clearly written and articulated, and quite informative. a few unsupported claims are sprinkled here and there, which brought the review down.
Stephen Hines
May 11, 2013 Stephen Hines rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Crappy book, that I decided to throw out rather than finish. Someone decided to publish their long and boring thesis, trying to draw lines between three very different systems of government.

Might be okay as a magazine article, but the author just couldn't avoid boorishly putting on paper too many words.
Sheryl Tribble
Schivelbusch makes a good case for the parallels between Roosevelt's America, Mussolini's Italy, and Hitler's Germany, but I pretty much believed that going in. I thought a lot of his observations were interesting, less impressed with his conclusions.
Jul 13, 2012 arjuna rated it it was ok
Can't really disagree with this review - limited discussion, barely mentions Italy really, would have liked a bit more meat. Enjoyable but hardly world-shattering.
Jul 11, 2012 Ja rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good.
Jan 16, 2010 Divinus rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While agreeing with the central point, that all three grew in a large part from the same sort of soil, and enjoying the writing style, much of the book kinda turned me off. I'm still trying to figure out what it was that did that.
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