This book is the first major reinterpretation of the New Deal in thirty years. Employing archival research and insights from history, political sociology, and economics, the author reassesses the origins and premises of the industrial, labour, and welfare policies of the 1920s and 1930s. Gordon argues that the labour and welfare law of the latter New Deal - indeed the origins of the modern welfare state - grew from a piecemeal private response to the competitive instability of the 1920s. This study is both an economic history of the interwar era, and an examination of the relationship between political and economic power in the United States.
"Gordon's most original contribution to the literature on corporate influence on the New Deal is developed in his discussion of labor policy...Gordon gives us a much better understanding of the complexities of business' relationship with the New Deal." Elizabeth Fones-Wolf, Business History Review "Gordon's account is well researched and carefully argued...readers will find Gordon's perspective on business, labor, and the New Deal fresh and stimulating..." West Virginia History "...valuable, synthesizing work...one of the first to delineate clearly changing patterns of business legislative actions during the depression decade. Thoroughly grounded in secondary and primary sources, and including an up-to-date bibliographic essay, this work is especially suitable for upper-division undergraduate and graduate students studying recent American history." Choice "This is an impressive book. The argument throughout is presented in a cognent, lucid style. The research in new or seldom-used sources and the command of a wide range of business histories is exceptional. The analysis is always provocative...Gordon demands the serious attention of any scholar interested in the New Deal and the history of the 20th century's political economy." David E. Hamilton, Labour/Le Travail