I have been reading Amity Shlaes’s The Forgotten Man the last week or so in Malta. It’s a generally interesting read, if at the very least only for its obscure anecdotes and often overlooked characters who played a part politically during the Great Depression. I’m a little more than halfway through the book, so I won’t make any sweeping general statements regarding its arguments.
Also, I wholeheartedly understand that no politician is 100% bad or 100% good. Every dictator does something right and every hero has a couple flaws. However, I do find it fascinating that FDR is applauded so much despite:
- Slaughtering 3 million pigs in one month, while people are starving, so that farmers could benefit from higher prices caused by the decreased supply.
- Putting Japanese in internment camps after Pearl Harbor.
- Refusing to invite black olympians to the White House in 1936 (yes, he snubbed Jesse Owens).
- Never having unemployment go below 14%.
Whether the New Deal actually saved America from the Great Depression or made a recession into the Great Depression is a matter for another time. Still, I find it bizarre that people completely overlook the above facts when evaluating his Presidency.