Season 5, Episode 4 | Derek Leebaert

FDR and the Great Depression

In this episode of How to Fix Democracy, author and historian Derek Leebaert provides a revisionist account of President Franklin Roosevelt and four members of his Cabinet. According to Leebaert, the 1920s were beset by economic distress and labor unrest that culminated in the Great Depression. Supported by Frances Perkins, Harold Ickes, Henry Wallace and Harry Hopkins, the Roosevelt presidency provided new solutions to much of America’s endemic vulnerability, inequality, and instability. Leebaert describes the President as a deeply complex leader—a man of steely ambitions —who worked with the four Cabinet officials to escape the Depression and prepare the United States for world leadership.

Derek Leebaert won the biennial 2020 Truman Book Award for "Grand Improvisation". His previous books include "Magic and Mayhem: The Delusions of American Foreign Policy from Korea to Afghanistan" and "To Dare and to Conquer: Special Operations and the Destiny of Nations", both Washington Post Best Books of the Year. He was a founding editor of the Harvard/MIT journal International Security and is a cofounder of the National Museum of the U.S. Army. He holds a D.Phil from Oxford and lives in Washington, D.C.

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