Ihis sentimentalized oollectivist viewpointnwas no doubt behind Roosevelt’sninsistence on choosing a man with evenna more muddled mind, Henry Wallace,nas his running mate in 1940. And in hisnState of the Union message for 1944nRoosevelt enunciated an Economic Billnof Rigjits which granted everyone a rigjitnto everything: job, food, clothing, recreation,na home, adequate medical care,neducation, a secure old age. Even thenbusinessman, he said, had the right “tontrade in the atmosphere of freedom fromnunfair competition,” which probablynmeant price competitioa TTius if FranklinnRoosevelt had had his way in domesticnpolicy, the United States would havenmoved to a totally socialized economynin the name of saving capitalism fromnitself.nFortunately for us, however, FDR wasntoo littie of an intellectual to be an ideologue.nOnce when a journalist asked himnabout his “philosophy,” Roosevelt—afterndenying that he was a communist, a socialist,nor a c^italist—replied, somewhatnpuzzled: “I am a Christian and a Democrat—that’snall.” Though he had an instinctivenpredilection for collectivism,nhe also displayed a strong streak of Americannpragmatism which led him to experimentnwith anything that might work.nBut since he operated within the politicalnsystem, which inherently tendsntoward collectivism, his experimentsnw^ere usually coUectivist. As for thenpeople, they were simply pleased thatnhe appeared to be “doing something,”nwhether it worked or not.nLeft to their own devices, most AmericannPresidents ignore foreign policy,nbut foreign relations have a way of makingnthemselves felt Roosevelt was nonisolationist: he traveled widely for hisnday and was quite cosmopolitan. But henhad as much diflftculty as most AmericannPresidents do in distinguishing truenfriends from incorrigible enemies. Hisnimplacable hostility to the British Empirenand his treatment of Charles de Gaullenillustrate his treatment of friends, whilenhis attempts to curry fevor with Stalin ex­nemplify his illusions about his enemies.nMiller tries to exculpate Roosevelt for hisndealings with Stalin, maintaining that FDRnwas no “innocent” in foreign aflEairs, thatnhe appreciated the importance of powernrelationships in the world. But Miller’snargument is internally contradictory:nRecognizing the reality of power asnWoodrow Wilson never did, Rooseveltnsaw that international security had becomenprimarily a police problem fornthe superpowers. The old Europeannbalance-of-power system was bankrupt,nand he sought to guide the shiftnto a new world system in which thenSoviet Union, along with the UnitednStates would be the arbiters of peace.nRoosevelt £iiled—not through naivetenbut because Stalin had differentnobjectives.nOf course the contradiction is that it isnthe height of naivete to negotiate withnanother leader on the assumption thatnhe is interested in promoting internationalnstability when in feet he is not, andnwhen it is easy enough to learn from hisnown doctrinal sutements that he is not.nBut then Roosevelt had no political “philosophy,”nand therefore could not comprehendna dictator who did.nIn The Possessed (1871-72), thatntreasure trove of the modem mentality,nDostoevski’s radical protagonist PyotrnVeikhovenski argues that “socialism amongnus spreads chiefly because of sentimentality.”nDoivn & Out in the Great Depres-nviduals from the great majority who donsupport themselves, then it is incumbentnupon government to attend to thenwelfere of all its citizens indiscriminatelynwithin the framework of a socialist welfarenstate. Down & Out also stems fromnthe recent approach to history which reconstructsnthe experience of the commonnman rather than “historical figures”nlike FDR. This book, by the way, wasnpublished on the 50th anniversary ofnFDR’s inauguration.nDown & Out is a compendium ofnletters preserved in various governmentnarchives and written by ordinary peoplenduring the 1930’s, primarily over thencourse of Roosevelt’s first term. Thenanonymity of the authors is preserved,nbut the letters themselves are reproducednwith all their grammatical and orthographicalnwarts, in the hope that theynwill provide an immediate’ grass-rootsnnotion of what it was like to be at theneconomic bottom during the Depression.nMost of them were sent to the centralnpolitical figure of that troubled time,nFrariklin Roosevelt, but quite a few werenaddressed to Eleanor Roosevelt. Therenare also scattered letters dispatched tonlesser political figures.nThe editor has arranged the letters inn13 chapters and four subdivisions. Thenfirst subdivision contains letters vmttennduring the outbreak of the Depressionnunder Hoover, and the last with positivenand negative views of Franklin RooseveltnThe second and third subdivisions, containingn10 chapters and entitied “Conditionsnof Life in the Thirties” and “Reactionsnto the Depression,” comprise then” ‘Down and Out in the Great Depression’ isan illuminating contribution to the historynd a bad time half a century ago. But ^^teit a fortunate people, to have had a Governmentnthat responded to their miseries!”n—Ardiur Sdblesinger, Jr.nNew York Times Book Reviewnsion is partly the fruit of that mind-set,nthe sort that holds that since certain individualsnin any society cannot care fornthemselves and charity compels us to assistnthem, and that since it is somehown”demeaning” to distinguish such indi-nnnmeat of the book: pathetic accounts ofnthe lives of people out of work for monthsnor years, feeing eviction, without moneynto feed thefr children, without suflftcientnclothing, people at the brink of desperationnwho can think of nowhere else tonwmmmm^^i^nI^Iovemberl983n