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American-made : the enduring legacy of the WPA : when FDR put the nation to work
Nick Taylor
Adult Nonfiction HD5724 .T34 2008

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Launched in 1935, at the bottom of the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) served as a linchpin of FDR's "New Deal." Through the WPA, Roosevelt put millions of unemployed Americans to work on public construction projects, from dams and courthouses to parks and roads. The WPA's Federal Writers Project employed a host of artists and writers (among them Jackson Pollock, Saul Bellow, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston and Studs Terkel); theater and musical artists also received funding. Taylor (Ordinary Miracles: Life in a Small Church) vividly and painstakingly paints the full story of the WPA from its inception to its shutdown by Congress in 1943, at which point the war boom in manufacturing had made it unnecessary. In an eloquent and balanced appraisal, Taylor not only chronicles the WPA's numerous triumphs (including New York's LaGuardia Airport) but also its failures, most notably graft and other chicanery at the local level. Taylor details as well the dicey intramural politics in Congress over which states and districts would get the largest slice of the WPA pie. All told, Taylor's volume makes for a splendid appreciation of the WPA with which to celebrate the upcoming 75th anniversary of the New Deal's beginnings in 1933. (Mar. 4) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Taylor (coauthor, John Glenn: A Memoir) acknowledges 2008's 75th anniversary of the New Deal (dated to FDR's first inaugural), followed in 2010 by that of the Works Progress Administration (1935-42)--later called the Work Projects Administration (WPA). His is a balanced summary of one of FDR's most prolific agencies. Although introductive for general readers and younger scholars on the subject of what a government can accomplish in a time of need, it is also informative for professional historians. The WPA's famous first commissioner, Harry Hopkins, was reassigned from the Civil Works Administration, later to move to the Commerce Department and then to become a presidential adviser. Taylor shows that the WPA also evolved from diverse programs to those focused on construction. The post office murals; the Federal Writers, Theater, and Music programs; what is now known as Camp David; and numerous parks, zoos, recreational areas, and airports are iconic products of the WPA. It also did work in the library field and offered a pavilion at the 1939-40 New York World's Fair. Its follies and triumphs are praised and critiqued here in a readable, often investigative, and apparently first full retrospective. Lavishly illustrated, the book also has a list of New Deal organizations, a partial list of construction projects, a New Deal chronology, and endnotes. It will be a boon to all 20th-century history collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/07.]--Frederick J. Augustyn Jr., Library of Congress (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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