Wonkblog book club: Ira Katznelson’s “Fear Itself”

April 22, 2013

It looks like there's a lot of reader interest in a Wonkblog book club, which is excellent. So let's get the first one underway!

The book we're reading is Ira Katznelson’s, “Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time.” The back cover says it's all about how, “during the 1930s and 1940s, American democracy was rescued yet distorted by a unified band of southern lawmakers who safeguarded racial segregation as they built a new national state to manage capitalism and assert global power.” (Here’s one great review from Rich Yeselson.)

Here's how this will work: We're all planning to read the book (Ezra, Sarah, Dylan, Neil, and me), and every other week, we'll put up a post with some thoughts on the section we're reading and then have a discussion in comments. We may try to invite a few special guests to join us, too.

To make reading easier, we'll split the book up into four sections:

Friday, May 10. Part 1, "Fight Against Fear." pp. 1-130.

Friday, May 31. Part 2, "Southern Cage." pp. 131-224.

Friday, June 14. Part 3, "Emergency." pp. 225-364.

Friday, June 28. Part 4, "Democracy's Price" and Epilogue. 365-486.

We'll plan to put up a discussion post on each of those Fridays. If this schedule turns out to be too quick or too slow for people, we can adjust for future book clubs. But let's stick with this for now.

Happy reading, all.

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Brad Plumer · April 22, 2013