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President Herbert Hoover
Tim Walch, director of the Hoover Presidential Library-Museum in West Branch, Iowa, writes:
Wonderful exchange about Linda Nyquist's report. Hoover spent more money on public works than all presidents before him combined, but it was not enough to life the US economy out of the most devastating crisis in its history. Ironically, Hoover failed to use his skills as a public relations genius to convince the American people that they could work through the crisis. FDR was no more successful in resurrecting the economy, but he offered hope - a precious commodity. His modest jobs program lifted the spirits of the American people. As we all know, the Depression didn't end until 1940 when we began shipping materials overseas to assist the British.
There are still millions of Americans who, like Linda's parents, believe that Hoover was personally responsible for the Depression and their suffering. No amount of reasoning will change their minds.
By the way, the best new book on Hoover, FDR, the Depression, and World War II is entitled Freedom From Fear by Stanford History Professor David Kennedy. It's available from Oxford University Press and well worth reading. It's very fair to both Hoover and Roosevelt.
My comment: These postings have several times commended David Kennedy's book. What Tim says doesn't lessen the fear that there might be another Depression likewise leading to a war. God forbid.
Ronald Hilton - 10/22/99