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The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War
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The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  235 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal was a turning point in the role of the federal government and in the expectations of American citizens. Now, Alan Brinkley, whose Voices of Protest won the American Book Award for History, shows how New Deal liberalism was transformed into a new beast during and after World War II--and why it is faring so poorly in the 1990s.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 30th 1996 by Vintage (first published 1995)
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Jun 07, 2008 Megan rated it liked it
Brinkley's thesis is that, rather than the New Deal being the beginning of major reform in the U.S., it is the end of the progressive push for reform that argued for the federal government to intervene in the socially harmful institutions of capitalism. Brinkley details the conversations between New Deal policy makers of all kinds: anti-monopolists, associationalists, and eventually Keynesians, and shows how Roosevelt's administration moves to a form of liberalism that takes a much more compensa ...more
Frank Stein
May 07, 2012 Frank Stein rated it really liked it

Although focusing on a well-trodden area of history, Brinkley provides what is perhaps the most readable and interesting overview of the last years of FDR's administration, from 1937 to 1945. Brinkley sees the rise of Keynesianism in this era as a substitute for the structural reforms that animated the earlier New Deal, and blames economists like Alvin Hansen for turning the New Deal away from its roots.

The book mainly looks at FDR's underlings, and, in contradistinction to historians like Leuc
David Bates
May 23, 2013 David Bates rated it really liked it
The End of Reform explores the shift away from intrusive economic approaches in Roosevelt’s second term. Rather than outsiders, it is a story of insiders and how through a succession of developments and policy battles New Dealers shifted away from a “belief that something was wrong with capitalism and that the government should find a way to repair it” and toward a vision “less statist . . . less concerned with issues of class, less hostile to existing patterns of economic power, and committed a ...more
Mar 02, 2010 Kharpo7 rated it really liked it
Thought provoking book. Details an intellectual evolution of liberal agenda from reform and regulation of business to that of individual rights. Some interesting economic concepts such as consumerism also addressed. Well written and scholarly
Jun 17, 2009 Zach rated it really liked it
A convincingly-argued examination of the shift of liberalism from a focus on the reformation of capitalism in the early New Deal to the promotion of mass consumption by the end of WWII.

A little dry, but an excellently constructed examination of the political economy of American liberalism.
May 03, 2009 Joshua rated it it was amazing
Brinkley is a crackerjack historian.
May 05, 2015 Piker7977 rated it really liked it
The changes to American liberalism at the end of the Great Depression and during World War II are showcased in The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War by Alan Brinkley. Brinkley begins his study by examining the recession years of 1937 and 1938. This period marked the beginning of changes toward governmental policy and the end of additional New Deal legislation. The divisions within the Roosevelt administration, especially concerning the “New Dealers,” are featured as transit ...more
Mike Hankins
Oct 21, 2013 Mike Hankins rated it liked it
Alan Brinkley's study of the end of the New Deal is a valuable piece of insight into the changing nature of liberalism from the 30s, into World War 2, and beyond. Brinkley's writing is excellent, well structured and easy to read, while effectively communicating complex ideas. His main point is that the war changed the nature of liberalism from a reform-based concept, to a consumerism-based concept.

By 1938, the New Deal had pretty much petered out. Much had been accomplished in labor relations an
Joseph Stieb
Mar 11, 2015 Joseph Stieb rated it really liked it
Brinkley's book covers the transformation of liberal politics from the late 1930's to the early postwar period. He starts with the 1937 economic recession that took the wind out of the reform efforts of the New Deal. Liberal politicians and policy-makers then started to go through a transformation from heavily regulating capitalism to an accomodationist stance towards capitalism. WWII only enhanced the imperative to save capitalism by reforming it given the challenge and appeal of communism and ...more
Sep 11, 2015 Ben rated it it was amazing
Brinkley divides the rhetoric and intellectual debates of the New Deal (here 1933-1937) with the 'New Deal Order.' The former was a questioning of the economic and social order, a questioning of capitalism and the search for real alternatives and genuine experimentation. The latter, which would dominate from the Second World War until the rise of the neo-liberal order post 1973 accepted the system, and sought reform within the existing order, rather than radical change. Damned to some degree by ...more
Feb 14, 2012 Mike rated it liked it
Shelves: history, us-history
Documents the changes to the New Deal caused by the 1937 recession and the Second World War. Brinkley briefly discusses the pre-Recession polices and then gets into extreme detail regarding the people and changes after 1937. At times I had a hard time keeping the abbreviations straight, the book could have used a listing of agencies, bureaus, committees, etc , and their abbreviations. Some knowledge of economics would be helpful to the reader. I can't recommend this to the general reader, howeve ...more
Nov 09, 2007 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Those interested in the political and economic issues that influenced FDR's presidency.
This is a pretty boring historical piece, as are most historical pieces. However, Brinkley is top in hios field for a reason. This work is concise and does an excellent job analyzing the political, economic, and military influences to the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Very little coverage of women or the working class. This is definitely an evaluation of political constiuents and not the common man.
Mar 27, 2010 Kate rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
A slightly dreary read, but contains important insight into an emerging consensus around the relationship of government and capitalism: whereas previous debates had been concerned with evaluating reasonable limits on capitalism, by mid-century the focus shifted to how the government could best promote capitalism, particularly mass consumption. Hence: the end of reform.
Aug 21, 2015 Neal rated it liked it
Good history of the major characters behind the New Deal besides FDR. The basic thesis, that US liberalism was an inchoate but ambitious movement at the beginning of the New Deal and a more coherent but conservative force by the end of WWII is solid. Missing a more thorough analysis of the class forces behind these changes. A good narrative complement to work by Thomas Ferguson though.
Apr 30, 2007 Stella rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Revisionist Historians
This is no Tragedy of American Diplomacy, but Brinkley does a remarkably good job writing this intellectual history.
May 04, 2011 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-u-s-history
Excellent look at the late 1930s/early 1940s as a turning point for the New Deal, as well as showing the relative range of policy thinking among the New Deal policy elites.
Timothy McCluskey
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