Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan

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Yayasan Obor Indonesia, 2009 - History - 356 pages
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Starting in the mid-1930s, a handful of prominent American businessmen forged alliances with the aim of rescuing America--and their profit margins--from socialism and the "nanny state." Long before the "culture wars" usually associated with the rise of conservative politics, these driven individuals funded think tanks, fought labor unions, and formed organizations to market their views. These nearly unknown, larger-than-life, and sometimes eccentric personalities--such as GE's zealous, silver-tongued Lemuel Ricketts Boulware and the self-described "revolutionary" Jasper Crane of DuPont--make for a fascinating, behind-the-scenes view of American history.

The winner of a prestigious academic award for her original research on this book, Kim Phillips-Fein is already being heralded as an important new young American historian. Her meticulous research and narrative gifts reveal the dramatic story of a pragmatic, step-by-step, check-by-check campaign to promote an ideological revolution--one that ultimately helped propel conservative ideas to electoral triumph.


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I'm giving this book three stars, because this book is clearly well-researched, and Phillips-Fein is obviously extremely knowledgeable about the New Deal and how conservative businessmen fought for their rights. As far as readability was concerned, I would give it one star. The book was soaked with background information on each man that came into the picture, details that I viewed were sometimes unnecessary, and often took away from the story. The content, though very rich, was extremely dry. I would recommend this book for a history scholar, but not for the average person who likes to learn about political and economical history.  


Paradise Lost
Down from the Mountaintop
Changing the Climate
Churches Radio Stations and Magazines
How to Break a Union
Suburban Cowboy 1 1 5
The Attack on the Free Enterprise System
Making the Moral Majority
Bibliographic Essay and Note on Sources
Selected Bibliography

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About the author (2009)

Kim Phillips-Fein won the Bancroft Dissertation Prize for her research on Invisible Hands. She has written for The Nation, The Baffler, and many other publications. She is an assistant professor at the Gallatin School of New York University and lives in New York City.

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