Nick Taylor is the author of seven nonfiction books and collaborated with John Glenn on his memoir. He lives in New York City.
More than jobs: the Works Progress Administration left behind roads, schools, bridges, and landmarks like the Ellis Island murals. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Launched in 1935, at the bottom of the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) served as a linchpin of FDR's "New Deal." Through the WPA, Roosevelt put millions of unemployed Americans to work on public construction projects, from dams and courthouses to parks and roads. The WPA's Federal Writers Project employed a host of artists and writers (among them Jackson Pollock, Saul Bellow, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston and Studs Terkel); theater and musical artists also received funding. Taylor (Ordinary Miracles: Life in a Small Church) vividly and painstakingly paints the full story of the WPA from its inception to its shutdown by Congress in 1943, at which point the war boom in manufacturing had made it unnecessary. In an eloquent and balanced appraisal, Taylor not only chronicles the WPA's numerous triumphs (including New York's LaGuardia Airport) but also its failures, most notably graft and other chicanery at the local level. Taylor details as well the dicey intramural politics in Congress over which states and districts would get the largest slice of the WPA pie. All told, Taylor's volume makes for a splendid appreciation of the WPA with which to celebrate the upcoming 75th anniversary of the New Deal's beginnings in 1933. (Mar. 4) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
"A must-read for history buffs and government wonks.... Taylor is at his best in describing the different projects and the lives of the people who worked on them. "--USA Today
"Brisk.... Taylor's American-Made is bigger than its
title suggests; he provides a succinct survey of the Great
Depression and particularly its consequences for workers.... he
interweaves personal stories with explanations of
policy."--Washington Post Book World "Vividly rendered--a
near-definitive account of one of the most massive government
interventions into domestic affairs on American history.... The
book is filled with plucky, fast-talking characters who by dint of
charm and grit pulled themselves up by their bootstraps to
participate."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review "Eloquent and
balanced.... A splendid appreciation of the WPA."--Publishers
Weekly, starred review "A paean to the WPA ... balanced and
engaging."--Boston Globe "An immensely detailed book telling
the epic story of an equally immense agency, American-Made
does an incomparable job of chronicling an important chapter in
American history, one which many of us only know from the classroom
and some of us know all too well."--New Hampshire Business
Review "A quick read ... engagingly written.... There is something
here for everyone to learn."--San Francisco Chronicle
"Well-written and helpfully structured.... Taylor intersperses individual stories to give body to stark statisticsan admiring, as well as admirable, history of FDR's main job-creation program."--Chicago Sun-Times "A lively 'people's history' of the WPA."--Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Vastly informative, popular history at its finest.... A straightforward, relentlessly chronological, clearly written account."--Dallas Morning News "Chock-full of facts.... Taylor captures the drama and idealism of the program's early years."--Time Out New York "[Taylor] has produced what is likely the most complete account yet of the much-written-about agency, just in time for the 75th anniversary of the New Deal."--Milwaukee Express "A lively and uplifting look at hard times--and a government program that worked."--Arizona Republic "American-Made might be one of the most empathetic stories ever told.... It also is among the greatest."--Miami Sun Post "Pertinent and timely.... Filled with both insight and wisdom. It is highly readable, absolutely terrific and highly recommended."--Tucson Citizen "Brilliant. American-Made...is the story of how American energy, administration, and improvisation coalesced in one of the country's finest hours." --California Literary Review "The WPA...returned to the nation what FDR called 'the joy and moral stimulation of work.' Taylor's book is both a paean to American resourcefulness and a staunch defense of the New Deal." --New Yorker