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CHF 2008: Thinking Big

David Kennedy: Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal

A Visionary and His Vision

Click play to listen. Recorded on November 8, 2008.

Historian David Kennedy discusses themes and personalities from his 1999 Pulitzer Prize–winning book Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945 to mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of the start of the New Deal, which he presents as a profound turning point in American history.

Teachers: Interactive Lesson Plan

The Chicago Humanities Festival has prepared an interactive lesson plan for this program. Visit the Facing History and Ourselves Lesson Plan now!

Speakers and Performers

David Kennedy

Professor Kennedy's scholarship integrates economic and cultural analysis with social and political history. Over Here: The First World War and American Society used the history of American involvement in World War I to analyze the American political system, economy, and culture in the early twentieth century. Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War recounts the history of the United States in the two great crises of the Great Depression and World War II.

CHF Suggests      Related links and resources for further study

Leaders And Thinkers

David M. Kennedy
Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (1999) and emeritus historian at Stanford University
Columbia University: Alan Brinkley
Author of The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War (1995) and professor of American history at Columbia University
Jonathan Alter (b. 1957)
Author of The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope (2006)

Related Events

The National Museum of American History
Current exhibitions at the Smithsonian

Good Reads

Kennedy's Bibliography
The historian on Google Books
"The First Measured Century" Interviews
Measurements and Myths of the Great Depression (PBS)
David M. Kennedy’s Great Depression Reading List
From John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath to Ben Bernanke's Essays on the Great Depression

Online Resources

Video: Conversations with History
Kennedy at Berkeley
Library of Congress
Resource guide on Franklin Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelet Presidential Library and Museum
Photos, audio, book catalog, and educational resources