Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Houses of the Founding Fathers or Great Depression and the New Deal

Houses of the Founding Fathers

Author: Hugh Howard

A riveting look at the domestic world of the Founding Fathers — their private lives, families, passions, culture, aspirations.

When they declared independence in Philadelphia in 1776, they changed the course of Western history. But the patriots—a mix of landowners, merchants, and professionals— had private lives too, quite apart from the public personae presented in textbooks. In this breathtaking volume, historian Hugh Howard and photographer Roger Straus examine the everyday lives of the Founding Fathers.

This book takes us on an eye-opening tour of 40 stately 18th-century houses. We see the mansions of such legendary figures as Jefferson, Washington, Adams, and Hamilton, along with the homes of many other signers of the Declaration of Independence or Constitution. With stops in each of the 13 colonies, the grand story of the Revolution emerges from individual domestic perspectives.

These pages are peopled with the wives, children, servants, and slaves of the Founding Fathers. Homes overlooking the sea, in busy towns, or atop mountains reveal these patriots' tastes in architecture, furniture, and horticulture. The text is chock-full of fascinating historical details, from what George Washington ate for dinner to how Alexander Hamilton shopped for a bride.

The result is a penetrating look at the private lives of the men whose ideas ignited an insurrection against England—and who helped create the modern world.

David Soltesz - Library Journal

Howard (Dr. Kimball and Mr. Jefferson: Rediscovering the Founding Fathers of American Architecture), a prolific and popular architecture writer specializing in Colonial and early American historic preservation, teams up with veteran architecture photographer Straus (Wright for Wright) to offer a sumptuously illustrated American history primer-cum-historic house tour. From stately Monticello to the more humble John Jay Homestead, Howard walks us through 40 18th-century houses that sheltered some 50 Founding Fathers, including many signers of the Declaration of Independence and key figures in the Revolutionary War and early republic. A pleasantly flowing text interweaves historic events, details of daily life, personal anecdotes, and architectural insights into descriptions of the homes built and occupied by the era's upper social stratum. An attractive but optional purchase for libraries, this handsome volume would make a welcome gift book for active history buffs-Howard appends a "Visitor Information" directory of the profiled houses, all of which have been restored or rebuilt and are open to the public.

New interesting book: Emergency Psychiatry or Moser on Music Copyright

Great Depression and the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Eric Rauchway

The New Deal shaped our nation's politics for decades, and was seen by many as tantamount to the "American Way" itself. Now, in this superb compact history, Eric Rauchway offers an informed account of the New Deal and the Great Depression, illuminating its successes and failures.
Rauchway first describes how the roots of the Great Depression lay in America's post-war economic policies--described as "laissez-faire with a vengeance"--which in effect isolated our nation from the world economy just when the world needed the United States most. He shows how the magnitude of the resulting economic upheaval, and the ineffectiveness of the old ways of dealing with financial hardships, set the stage for Roosevelt's vigorous (and sometimes unconstitutional) Depression-fighting policies. Indeed, Rauchway stresses that the New Deal only makes sense as a response to this global economic disaster. The book examines a key sampling of New Deal programs, ranging from the National Recovery Agency and the Securities and Exchange Commission, to the Public Works Administration and Social Security, revealing why some worked and others did not. In the end, Rauchway concludes, it was the coming of World War II that finally generated the political will to spend the massive amounts of public money needed to put Americans back to work. And only the Cold War saw the full implementation of New Deal policies abroad--including the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.
Today we can look back at the New Deal and, for the first time, see its full complexity. Rauchway captures this complexity in a remarkably short space, making this book an ideal introduction to one of the greatpolicy revolutions in history.

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