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Extended Audio Sample Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929–1945 Audiobook, by David M. Kennedy Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,125 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David M. Kennedy Narrator: Tom Weiner Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2006 ISBN: 9781455199044
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Between 1929 and 1945, two great travails were visited upon the American people: the Great Depression and World War II. This Pulitzer Prize–winning history tells the story of how Americans endured, and eventually prevailed, in the face of those unprecedented calamities.

The Depression was both a disaster and an opportunity. As David Kennedy vividly demonstrates, the economic crisis of the 1930s was far more than a simple reaction to the alleged excesses of the 1920s. For more than a century before 1929, America’s unbridled industrial revolution had gyrated through repeated boom-and-bust cycles, wastefully consuming capital and inflicting untold misery on city and countryside alike.

Freedom from Fear explores how the nation agonized over its role in World War II, how it fought the war, why the United States won, and why the consequences of victory were sometimes sweet, sometimes ironic. In a compelling narrative, Kennedy analyzes the determinants of American strategy, the painful choices faced by commanders and statesmen, and the agonies inflicted on the millions of ordinary Americans who were compelled to swallow their fears and face battle as best they could.

Both comprehensive and colorful, this account of the most convulsive period in American history, excepting only the Civil War, reveals a period that formed the crucible in which modern America was formed.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “We expect the best from David Kennedy and he will not disappoint anybody…A major and thoroughly fine piece of work.”

    John Kenneth Galbraith, New York Times bestselling author

  • “An engrossing narrative of a momentous time. The best one-volume account of the Roosevelt era currently available…Good old-fashioned history.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “One of our most broad-gauged American historians brings us that increasing rarity: a big book about a big subject…The Stanford scholar takes on the job of tracing the American people through three of the most important and widely written about epochs in the century…and provides us with consistently original and sometimes startling conclusions.”

    Washington Post

  • “Kennedy skillfully weaves together the era’s social, economic, and political strands. Even those who thought they knew it all, or who indeed lived through all or most of these years, will find illuminating information and insights on almost every page.”

    Los Angeles Times Book Review

  • “Splendid…It is a worthy addition to the multi-volume Oxford History of the United States and deserves to become the standard work of introduction to its three subjects—the Depression, the New Deal, and America’s part in the second world war…Mr. Kennedy is master of his material in a double sense. He exhibits a comprehensive knowledge of events, making very few factual slips...The benefit, in terms of clarity, is immense…This is one of the most valuable forms of scholarly originality, and it will make itself felt over a long time.”

    Economist

  • “A grand historical synthesis…the kind of book prizes are made for.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “This is modern America’s story—modern America’s most thrilling, most irresistible, and most significant story—and in this massive volume, David M. Kennedy makes it his story in a way that no one has before. Freedom from Fear, the fourth installment of the new Oxford History of the United States to appear, is as much a triumph as its predecessors, providing every indication that the series, once completed, will stand as the most comprehensive and most compelling narrative history of the nation.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Kennedy’s grasp of deep-rooted social problems and his enlightening, analytical style are very much in evidence…His narrative style is in the grand tradition of American historical writing, an unfaltering display of clarity and detail.”

    Philadephia Inquirer

  • “Kennedy’s book is the most illuminating, riveting, comprehensive, and graceful one-volume history of this nation’s experiences during the Great Depression, New Deal, and WWII published to date…This is social, political, diplomatic, and military history written magisterially with broad but nuanced strokes across a sixteen-year span that utterly transformed the lives of Americans and the world…Librarians should order this book for their libraries, faculty members should assign it, and everyone should read it.”

    Choice

  • “David Kennedy is one of America’s most distinguished historians, and Freedom from Fear is a remarkable achievement: deeply researched, insightful, and beautifully written. Fast-paced, it presents vivid portraits of major actors such as Roosevelt, Churchill, and Hitler, as well as of the hopes and fears of millions of lesser-known people caught up in the tumultuous years of the Great Depression and of World War II.”

    James T. Patterson, Bancroft Prize–winning author of Grand Expectations

  • “From its dramatic prelude…to its moving climax…this panoramic narrative pulses with life, color, incident, and action. We know how it all comes out, yet the fate of the nation seems to hang in the balance as Kennedy captures history’s throat-catching contingency.”

    Jack Beatty, author of The World According to Peter Drucker

  • “Rarely does a work of historical synthesis combine such trenchant analysis and elegant writing as does Kennedy’s spectacular contribution to the Oxford History of the United States…Because of its scope, its insight and its purring narrative engine, Kennedy’s book will stand for years to come as the definitive history of the most important decades of the American century.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “As Franklin Roosevelt said at his inauguration in 1932, ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’ The Great Depression was destroying America, and voters elected Roosevelt to save the country. The initials of New Deal programs—the WPA, CCC, and NRA—became common vocabulary but did little to cure unemployment. The recovery of the US economy came with WWII and the gearing up to fight a two-ocean war. Narrator Tom Weiner transforms the author’s Pulitzer Prize–winning prose into a 32-hour experience worth every minute of listening. Weiner’s brisk and sonorous delivery keeps the interest level high without missing a well-chosen word. Both he and the author speak the language of the war in its vast reaches. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award.”

    AudioFile

  • “Displaying a literary craft uncommon in survey works, he has woven together narrative, sketches of character, and critical judgment to record and analyze the economic, political, social, and military events of these epic years…This account of the crucial struggles and events of the Depression and war years will lend perspective like few others.”

    Library Journal

  • “A major achievement in objective historical writing that should be a legacy to generations of students seeking authoritative reference material on the period.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for History
  • Winner of the 1999 Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Title
  • Winner of the 2000 Parkman Prize
  • Winner of the 2000 Ambassador Book Award for American Studies
  • Winner of the 1999 California Gold Medal for Literature: Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicole | 1/30/2014

    " This is an excellent book that helps us to understand our grandparents. I loved it and it allows for so much understanding of our country. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elaine Mayes | 1/13/2014

    " A very readable account of the American people during the run-up to the Depression and through World War II. The author was very even-handed in his account of Hoover and his attempts at bringing the US out of the Depression; he was equally even-handed in his treatment of FDR - describing faults and accomplishments. There are sections on women, the labor movement, a broad view of the European and Pacific fronts, Negroes and several other sections that don't come to mind right now. I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants a 900 page overview of the Great Depression and WW II. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alan Tulppo | 1/3/2014

    " A great look at the United States during the Great Depression and World War II. This is not a light read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nate | 12/2/2013

    " Best of the Oxford History of the United States series that I've read so far. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara | 11/1/2013

    " I am so grateful I caught a prepublication interview by the author on BookTV. This 1000-pager dives into the 16-year period from the Great Depression through the end of WWII and defines American History leading into my generation. A MUST for history interests! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rod Zemke | 10/22/2013

    " A very comprehensive look at the 16 years in the history of the US. One thing positive about this book is the perspective it gives you and maybe some optimism for my country. A lot of both good and bad happened in this time period. The pattern of growing inequity of wealth will eventually be reversed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Converse | 10/1/2013

    " Unsuprisingly, a history book with this time frame focuses on the Great Depression and the Second World War. I was surprised to learn that Roosevelt and many others thought that economic growth had basically come to a permanent end and public works projects would be needed permanently to maintain employment. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ja | 9/22/2013

    " One of the best books I ever read. One fo 2 books that helped make me the conservative Republican that I am today. That is no small accomplishment given what a long-haired, hippe, pinko commie I used to be! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Martin | 9/6/2013

    " You won't read a better overview of this era. Kennedy's study is superb. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Donna Herrick | 6/20/2013

    " How many cases can Rebus handle at once. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barry | 11/9/2012

    " This is not exactly a light read but it is an amazingly readable book. I've read several volumes of the Oxford History of the United States. They are all good but this is one of the better ones. It's a great introduction to one of the most fascinating and significant periods of U.S. history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shannon | 11/4/2012

    " It took me quite some time, and some complaining to finish this dense tome, but it was worth it. I really learned a great deal about the Great Depression and World War II. For such a text, it was very enjoyable to read. Kennedy is brilliant. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachael MacLean | 10/20/2012

    " Extremely well written and compelling! If you're interested in the Roosevelt administration it's a must! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robin | 10/10/2012

    " This book was excellent. I learned great deal about the depression and about world war two. FDR was a fascinating and brilliant man. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Berchele | 5/23/2012

    " Being a history nut, this was, and is, one of my favorite sources of time specific information. Very easy read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Justin | 10/24/2011

    " Kennedy provides an incredibly detailed history that is worthy of the Pulitzer Prize it won. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dave | 11/18/2010

    " Great book so far, interesting to find out that much of what FDR got credit for were actually Herbert Hoovers policies. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Larry | 8/6/2010

    " Insight into FDR and depression "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mark | 7/14/2010

    " An excellent history of the last great depression. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alan | 4/4/2010

    " A great look at the United States during the Great Depression and World War II. This is not a light read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 3/16/2010

    " Unusual to find a series of books so strong. This is another hit in the outstanding Oxford History of the United States. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Martin | 12/16/2009

    " You won't read a better overview of this era. Kennedy's study is superb. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathryn | 8/30/2009

    " An excellent book, spanning the years of the Great Depressions through World War II. Kennedy's writing is clear, accessible, and insightful making the 800+ pages fly by. Kennedy, instead of relying on interviews, uses primary sources and meticulously footnotes them - which I love. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joshua | 5/3/2009

    " Very engaging, but mostly fluff. The chapter on the New Deal is ridiculously celebratory. "

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About the Author
David M. Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, is Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History Emeritus at Stanford University and codirector of the Bill Lane Center for the American West. He has served as editor of the Oxford History of the United States series since 1999.
About the Narrator

Tom Weiner, a dialogue director and voice artist best known for his roles in video games and television shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Transformers, is an Earphones Award winner and Audie Award finalist. He is a former member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.