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Right Out of California : The 1930s and the Big Business Roots of Modern Conservatism
by Kathryn S. Olmsted


Overview - In a major reassessment of modern conservatism, noted historian Kathryn S. Olmsted reexamines the explosive labor disputes in the agricultural fields of Depression-era California, the cauldron that inspired a generation of artists and writers and that triggered the intervention of FDR s New Deal.  Read more...

 
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More About Right Out of California by Kathryn S. Olmsted
 
 
 
Overview
In a major reassessment of modern conservatism, noted historian Kathryn S. Olmsted reexamines the explosive labor disputes in the agricultural fields of Depression-era California, the cauldron that inspired a generation of artists and writers and that triggered the intervention of FDR s New Deal. Right Out of California tells how this brief moment of upheaval terrified business leaders into rethinking their relationship to American politics a narrative that pits a ruthless generation of growers against a passionate cast of reformers, writers, and revolutionaries.
Olmsted reveals how California s businessmen learned the language of populism with the help of allies in the media and entertainment industries, and in the process created a new style of politics: corporate funding of grassroots groups, military-style intelligence gathering against political enemies, professional campaign consultants, and alliances between religious and economic conservatives. The business leaders who battled for the hearts and minds of Depression-era California, moreover, would go on to create the organizations that launched the careers of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. A riveting history in its own right, Right Out of California is also a vital chapter in our nation s political transformation whose echoes are still felt today.
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Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781620970966
  • ISBN-10: 1620970961
  • Publisher: New Press
  • Publish Date: October 2015
  • Page Count: 288


Related Categories

Books > History > United States - State & Local - West
Books > History > United States - 20th Century
Books > Political Science > Political Ideologies - Conservatism & Liberalism

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-07-13
  • Reviewer: Staff

Olmsted (Real Enemies), chair of the history department at the University of California, Davis, suggests that the New Deal’s National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933, which lacked protection for agricultural workers who wanted to unionize, served as the catalyst for the organization of the political right as it is known today. Olmsted’s research goes beyond newspaper archives and government transcripts, many of which, she points out, purposely did not record statements and speeches made by union organizers. Instead, she delves into oral histories and personal papers to tell the stories of how growers used violence, espionage, and virulent anti-Communist rhetoric to invoke the idea that unions would destroy the family, traditional gender roles, and whites’ ability to subjugate non-whites. Olmsted expressly places a larger focus on women’s involvement in the struggle for fair treatment of pickers, writing at length on Communist organizer Caroline Decker and political activist Ella Winter. This fuller perspective—along with sections on famous literary figures of the time, including Upton Sinclair, Langston Hughes, and John Steinbeck—cements Olmsted’s authority on the subject of labor organization. This is an accessible work that aids in contextualizing the rise of future conservative leaders such as Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. B&w photos. (Oct.)

 
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