FDR Goes to War
How Expanded Executive Power, Spiraling National Debt, and Restricted Civil Liberties Shaped Wartime America
Publication Date: October 11, 2011
From the acclaimed author of New Deal or Raw Deal?, called “eye-opening” by the National Review, comes a fascinating exposé of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s destructive wartime legacy—and its adverse impact on America’s economic and foreign policies today.
Did World War II really end the Great Depression—or did President Franklin Roosevelt’s poor judgment and confused management leave Congress with a devastating fiscal mess after the final bomb was dropped? In this provocative new book, historians Burton W. Folsom, Jr., and Anita Folsom make a compelling case that FDR’s presidency led to evasive and self-serving wartime policies.
At a time when most Americans held isolationist sentiments—a backlash against the stunning carnage of World War I—Roosevelt secretly favored an aggressive interventionist foreign policy. Yet, throughout the 1930s, he spent lavishly on his disastrous New Deal programs and slashed defense spending, leaving America vastly unprepared for Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor and the challenge of fighting World War II.
History books tell us the wartime economy was a boon, thanks to massive government spending. But the skyrocketing national debt, food rations, nonexistent luxuries, crippling taxes, labor strikes, and dangerous work of the time tell a different story—one that is hardly the stuff of recovery.
Instead, the war ushered in a new era of imperialism for the executive branch. Roosevelt seized private property, conducted illegal wiretaps, tried to silence domestic opposition, and interned 110,000 Japanese Americans. He set a dangerous precedent for entangling alliances in foreign affairs, including his remarkable courtship of Russian dictator Joseph Stalin, while millions of Americans showed the courage, perseverance, and fortitude to make the weapons and fight the war.
Was Roosevelt a great wartime leader, as historians almost unanimously assert? The Folsoms offer a thought-provoking revision of his controversial legacy. FDR Goes to War will make America take a second look at one of its most complicated presidents.
Burton W. Folsom, Jr., Ph.D., a professor of history at Hillsdale College in Michigan, is the author of several books. A regular columnist for The Freeman, he has also written for The Wall Street Journal, American Spectator, Policy Review, and Human Events.
"FDR Goes to War . . . is the latest and perhaps the most devastating critique of FDR. It is painfully relevant to our current president." -- Thomas Sowell
"FDR Goes to War is a page-turning tour de force -- and a scholarly one, at that -- of the politics and economics of America's involvement in WWII. Be prepared to rethink much of what you think you know about FDR, the war, and the post-Depression U.S. economy." --Don Bordreaux, Chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University
"In New Deal or Raw Deal? Burt Folsom exposed FDR's failed policies during the Great Depression. Now, in FDR Goes to War, he pulls the curtain back even further. Burt and Anita Folsom have produced a book that should be read by all Americans. This is the real history you do not find in textbooks." -- James P. Duffy, author of Lindbergh Vs. Roosevelt
"Few in the history profession have done more to shed light on the real Franklin Delano Roosevelt than Burt Folsom. With FDR Goes to War, Folsom and his wife Anita educate Americans on the facts we should have known but were never taught. You will find this book both shocking and refreshing." -- Lawrence W. Reed, president, Foundation for Economic Education
"A compelling look at a fascinating man in a devastating war. This is the FDR concealed for over half a century by liberal academics and biased journalists. You will learn a lot from this engaging and readable book." -- Paul Kengor, professor of political science, Grove City College, and author of Dupes