Thursday, February 5, 2015
Above: What if President Franklin Roosevelt had lived a much longer life and decided to write a memoir of the New Deal? In the book The FDR Memoirs: A Speculation on History (1973), author Bernard Asbell utilizes historical research and interviews with family members to write such a memoir, stepping into the persona of FDR. The book is well written, very interesting, and I highly recommend it. Here is one of "FDR's" many recollections: "The 'laziness' of WPA workers now became a target for New Deal opponents, as expressed by a new brand of jokes. Have you heard of the doctor who announced the discovery of a new medicine for cancer, but nobody can get any? The medicine is sweat from a WPA worker...Let me tell you what several million lazy reliefers accomplished leaning on their shovels. By October 1937 they had built 1,634 schools and improved 16,421 others; built or improved more than twenty thousand gyms, stadiums, firehouses, hangars, courthouses, hospitals, and other public buildings...The story of WPA--of men and women in trouble who wanted to give generously for what they got--is a story of accomplishment that changed the physical face of America" (p. 220). (The image above is a scan from my personal collection).