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Download American-Made: The Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR Put the Nation to Work Audiobook

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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (135 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Nick Taylor Narrator: James Boles Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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When President Roosevelt took the oath of office in March 1933, he was facing a devastated nation. Four years into the Great Depression, a staggering thirteen million American workers were jobless and many millions more of their family members were equally in need. Desperation ruled the land.

What people wanted were jobs, not handouts—the pride of earning a paycheck. And in 1935, after a variety of temporary relief measures, a permanent nationwide jobs program was created. This was the Works Progress Administration (WPA), and it would forever change the physical landscape and the social policies of the United States.

The WPA lasted for eight years, spent $11 billion, employed 8.5 million men and women, and gave the country not only a renewed spirit but a fresh face. Under its colorful head, Harry Hopkins, the agency’s remarkable accomplishment was to combine the urgency of putting people back to work with its vision of physically rebuilding America. Its workers laid roads and erected dams, bridges, tunnels, and airports. They stocked rivers, made toys, sewed clothes, and served millions of hot school lunches. When disasters struck, they were there by the thousands to rescue the stranded. And all across the country the WPA’s arts programs performed concerts, staged plays, painted murals, delighted children with circuses, and created invaluable guidebooks. Even today, more than sixty years after the WPA ceased to exist, there is almost no area in America that does not bear some visible mark of its presence.

Politically controversial, the WPA was staffed by passionate believers and hated by conservatives; its critics called its projects make-work, and wags said WPA stood for “We Piddle Around.” The contrary was true. We have only to look about us today to discover its lasting presence.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Taylor has written a passionate defense of a program that millions saw as a godsend.”

    Booklist

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Gloria | 2/4/2014

    " A pretty comprehensive review of the WPA, including specific examples to illustrate the work. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Lucinda | 1/16/2014

    " Not quite just a paean to the WPA. Some great descriptions of Washington wheeling and dealing; some not as fabulous descriptions of individual WPA projects (such as Timberline lodge); and a little too much World War II. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Tracy | 1/10/2014

    " Interesting book; may be too uncritical of the WPA at times, but it has many good anecdotes. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Erika Olson | 12/28/2013

    " The author is a fan of FDR and makes that clear from the start. It's a very affectionate tone throughout. I really liked the personal stories of WPA workers and leadership - makes that time in history really come to life. So many parallels with our situation today, including the conflict btw President and Supreme Court! "

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About the Author

Nick Taylor is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Virginia. His debut novel, The Disagreement , won the 2009 Michael Shaara Prize for Excellence in Civil War Fiction. Taylor is currently an associate professor of English at San Jose State University.