What can we learn from The New Deal

September 19th, 2011

We study history not only to tell us what we should do, but also what we should avoid. For it is the task of succeeding generation to escape history, to escape its repetition, that is to avoid the mistakes of other times. The problem is that too often the history we study and try and learn from is seeped in mythology and falsehood.

Today as we continue to face the most severe and complex financial crises since the Great Depression, we look back at Roosevelt's New Deal for guidance and answers. The problem is, often the rehorthic and reality of that time are at odds. That's why Pulitzer Prize winner and LA Times columnist Michael Hiltzik's new book The New Deal: A Modern History is so important. He gives us not the FDR iconography and myth, but the flesh and blood story of human beings doing their best, often by trial and error, to right the nation at one of its great historical inflection points. My conversation with Michael Hiltzig:

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