In the 1930s a band of smart and able young men, some still in
their twenties, helped Franklin D. Roosevelt transform an American
nation in crisis. They were the junior officers of the New Deal.
Thomas G. Corcoran, Benjamin V. Cohen, William O. Douglas, Abe
Fortas, and James Rowe helped FDR build the modern Democratic Party
into a progressive coalition whose command over power and ideas
during the next three decades seemed politically invincible.
This is the first book about this group of Rooseveltians and
their linkage to Lyndon Johnson's Great Society and the Vietnam War
debacle. Michael Janeway grew up inside this world. His father,
Eliot Janeway, business editor of Time and a star writer
for Fortune and Life magazines, was part of this
circle, strategizing and practicing politics as well as reporting
on these men. Drawing on his intimate knowledge of events and
previously unavailable private letters and other documents, Janeway
crafts a riveting account of the exercise of power during the New
Deal and its aftermath. He shows how these men were at the nexus of
reform impulses at the electoral level with reform thinking in the
social sciences and the law and explains how this potent fusion
helped build the contemporary American state. Since that time
efforts to reinvent government by "brains trust" have largely
failed in the U.S. In the last quarter of the twentieth century
American politics ceased to function as a blend of broad coalition
building and reform agenda setting, rooted in a consensus of belief
in the efficacy of modern government.
Can a progressive coalition of ideas and power come together
again? The Fall of the House of Roosevelt makes such a
prospect both alluring and daunting.
Subjects: History, Political Science
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