Ira Katznelson’s Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time is a big book, and it addresses a big theme: the historical significance of the New Deal, as a watershed moment in U.S. political history, as a form of “social democracy, American style” that allowed liberal democracy to prevail in competition with Soviet communism and fascism, and as the “origin” of key features of contemporary politics in the United States. The book is a contribution to the study of U.S. politics, but also to the study of comparative politics, international relations, political theory, and comparative history. We have thus invited a range of political science scholars to comment on the book as a work of general political science; as an account of the New Deal and its political legacies in the United States; as a contribution to the comparative analysis of social democracy and the welfare state; and as a way of integrating the study of domestic and foreign policy, and in particular the study of U.S. politics and international relations.
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