counter create hit Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin & the Great Depression - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin & the Great Depression

Availability: Ready to download

The study of two demagogues, whose vast popularity explains much about Depression-era America. This is a book about two men: Huey P. Long, a 1st-term US Senator from the red-clay, piney woods country of northern Louisiana; & Charles E. Coughlin, a Catholic priest from an industrial suburb near Detroit. From modest origins, they rose together at the beginning of the Depress The study of two demagogues, whose vast popularity explains much about Depression-era America. This is a book about two men: Huey P. Long, a 1st-term US Senator from the red-clay, piney woods country of northern Louisiana; & Charles E. Coughlin, a Catholic priest from an industrial suburb near Detroit. From modest origins, they rose together at the beginning of the Depression to become the two most successful leaders of national political dissidence of the era. Preface Prologue The kingfish ascending Beyond Louisiana Crisis & renewal The radio priest "Roosevelt or ruin" Searching for power The dissident ideology Organizing Followers Uneasy alliances The last phase Epilogue Appendices 1-3 Notes Locations of Manuscript Collections Index


Compare

The study of two demagogues, whose vast popularity explains much about Depression-era America. This is a book about two men: Huey P. Long, a 1st-term US Senator from the red-clay, piney woods country of northern Louisiana; & Charles E. Coughlin, a Catholic priest from an industrial suburb near Detroit. From modest origins, they rose together at the beginning of the Depress The study of two demagogues, whose vast popularity explains much about Depression-era America. This is a book about two men: Huey P. Long, a 1st-term US Senator from the red-clay, piney woods country of northern Louisiana; & Charles E. Coughlin, a Catholic priest from an industrial suburb near Detroit. From modest origins, they rose together at the beginning of the Depression to become the two most successful leaders of national political dissidence of the era. Preface Prologue The kingfish ascending Beyond Louisiana Crisis & renewal The radio priest "Roosevelt or ruin" Searching for power The dissident ideology Organizing Followers Uneasy alliances The last phase Epilogue Appendices 1-3 Notes Locations of Manuscript Collections Index

30 review for Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin & the Great Depression

  1. 4 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    This book was interesting to me because, while I knew quite a lot about Huey Long, I knew virtually nothing about Father Coughlin except a story told me by Melville Steinfels, the liturgical artist. The story is good and went something like this (loosely paraphrased): 'After the war, work being hard to get, I was offered a commission at Coughlin's chapel outside of Detroit. Interested, I went to check it out. The job was to paint a mural depicting the different professions in heaven, major figur This book was interesting to me because, while I knew quite a lot about Huey Long, I knew virtually nothing about Father Coughlin except a story told me by Melville Steinfels, the liturgical artist. The story is good and went something like this (loosely paraphrased): 'After the war, work being hard to get, I was offered a commission at Coughlin's chapel outside of Detroit. Interested, I went to check it out. The job was to paint a mural depicting the different professions in heaven, major figures portrayed at meal together in paradise. I was willing to go along with the inclusion of Babe Ruth with the Holy Family, Coughlin being quite a fan, but the inclusion of Man'O War, the racehorse, seemed out of line, theologically speaking. Additionally, I never could get the dresses of the dancers short enough to satisfy Father. Finally, with a further proposal for an enormous, brilliantly-colored Virgin enclosed in bulletproof glass on the street corner, the Board put its collective foot down and I was relieved of responsibility.'

  2. 5 out of 5

    John Bellamy

    Who would have guessed that Alan Brinkley’s sober study of Great Depression demagogues Huey Long and the Reverend Charles E. Coughlin, originally published nearly 30 years ago, would be far more relevant now? The early Reagan years, admittedly, were not without significant economic trouble and political discontent—but their problems were as nothing to the gravity of our contemporary financial upheavals and partisan hatreds. And while Sarah Palin (like Huey Long a somewhat improvisational ex-gove Who would have guessed that Alan Brinkley’s sober study of Great Depression demagogues Huey Long and the Reverend Charles E. Coughlin, originally published nearly 30 years ago, would be far more relevant now? The early Reagan years, admittedly, were not without significant economic trouble and political discontent—but their problems were as nothing to the gravity of our contemporary financial upheavals and partisan hatreds. And while Sarah Palin (like Huey Long a somewhat improvisational ex-governor of a small state) and Rush Limbaugh (like Coughlin a radio rabble-rouser of no little talent) may not offer the same caliber of menace, the parallels between the two eras and their respective mouthpieces of populist rage remain striking. Alan Brinkley’s analysis of the Long and Coughlin phenomena is a careful one, and he is particularly wary of the usual reductionism perpetrated by liberal historians on Long and Coughlin, which has generally caricatured Long as a Deep South Mussolini-style fascist and Coughlin as the apoplectic anti-Semite he eventually became. Both men were more complicated than that, as were their movements and the people they appealed to, and Brinkley dispenses meticulous justice to both men and the political and ideological complexities of that great national unraveling we call the 1930s. As with our current demagogues, Long and Coughlin articulated some genuine political grievances, even if—again like their contemporary counterparts—they were much better at proffering simplistic heroes-and-villains explanations for such woes than contriving any practical solutions. It was America’s great luck in the 1930s, however, to have a leader so shrewd as Franklin D. Roosevelt, who, as Brinkley chronicles, subtly and often even silently, co-opted and undercut both of his malignant adversaries. Brinkley’s tale is ultimately a rather sad story, and Voices of Protest provides another valuable if depressing case study in the problematic history of American populist movements.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Katie Hanna

    2.5 stars. It's a good, well-written study as far as it goes; but the author shoehorns literally ALL discussion of Coughlin's and Long's connections to fascism/anti-Semitism into an appendix at the very end, and that's not okay with me. You can't just "gloss over" what they did like that. 2.5 stars. It's a good, well-written study as far as it goes; but the author shoehorns literally ALL discussion of Coughlin's and Long's connections to fascism/anti-Semitism into an appendix at the very end, and that's not okay with me. You can't just "gloss over" what they did like that.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    This in-depth look at two of the most controversial (and popular) political figures of the 1930's leaves as many questions unanswered as it answers. Basically, because there are no firm answers for either man or the movements they wound up leading. Was Huey Long a Fascist dictator, Socialist, or Populist? Did he desire to take over the government of the United States and rule by fiat? Was Father Coughlin a Socialist and an anti-Semite? Yes and No and Maybe, Sort of. Of the two, Huey Long is by an This in-depth look at two of the most controversial (and popular) political figures of the 1930's leaves as many questions unanswered as it answers. Basically, because there are no firm answers for either man or the movements they wound up leading. Was Huey Long a Fascist dictator, Socialist, or Populist? Did he desire to take over the government of the United States and rule by fiat? Was Father Coughlin a Socialist and an anti-Semite? Yes and No and Maybe, Sort of. Of the two, Huey Long is by any account the most interesting. Father Coughlin rose to fame through relatively benign sermonizing and a beautiful radio voice. He developed a huge following and began politicizing his sermons around his somewhat confusing money theories. His apparent need to remain in the public arena and feed his sense of personal importance eventually turned him into a vicious Anti-Semite to attract an ever dwindling audience when his political ideas were disavowed by the public. Huey Long, Governor of Louisianna and afterward Senator, made himself the virtual dictator of his state and was becoming a national powerhouse by the time he was assassinated in 1935. Despite the corruption of his regime and the fact that he destroyed the democratic governance of the state, he actually accomplished quite a lot for the ordinary man whose cause he took up. With his "Every man a King and no one wears a crown" slogan, he managed to provide roads, hospitals, free textbooks, and LSU just to name a few. He became rich but not directly on the backs of the common people. He took his money from the favors he did for the rest and the fees he required of folks who wanted gov't jobs. As Senator, he developed his Share The Wealth program which resonated across the country although it could never be actually explained in any workable manner. He doesn't appear to have been personally corrupt even if he corrupted his state. In fact, the most interesting thing about Huey is that he seems to have wanted Power just for the sheer need to exercise it. Voices of Protest does a very good job of portraying the personalities and rise of these two men. The author has a tendency to explain the same thing repeatedly and the last chapter really does try to do too much. It is a long explanation of pretty much every other dissident group active in the thirties. Upton Sinclair and his EPIC movement, Townsend and The Old-Age Revolving Pension fund, the LaFollette brothers progressive movement and many more. Too many, in fact, to make good sense out of. Overall, this was well presented and interesting history.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Matt Shaw

    Not without its flaws, like its being unreadable to most non-academics, this book is SO timely right now as to be prophetic. Huey Long and Charles Coughlin were the voices of fear and xenophobic outrage in the 1930s now represented by the right-wing majority. Shall we again suffer the shrill screams of hate and rancor against our own neighbors? FDR had help in sailing around those cesspools, but now we're stuck in the midst. Read this if you want to understand the past and the present. Not without its flaws, like its being unreadable to most non-academics, this book is SO timely right now as to be prophetic. Huey Long and Charles Coughlin were the voices of fear and xenophobic outrage in the 1930s now represented by the right-wing majority. Shall we again suffer the shrill screams of hate and rancor against our own neighbors? FDR had help in sailing around those cesspools, but now we're stuck in the midst. Read this if you want to understand the past and the present.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Newsweek says this book is among the books I should be reading right now. Since I read this over 20 years ago, I am clearly ahead of my time ;)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    an succinct and insightful history on the rise and fall of two of the the most prominent depression era voices of protest - huey long and father coughlin. both stories are fascinating simply as biographical narratives and as political guideposts — how does one develop substantial political clout outside of mainstream political mechanisms. particularly in our currently politically dysfunctional era, the stories of the rise (and fall) of these (often) demagogic outsiders is germane. its fairly cle an succinct and insightful history on the rise and fall of two of the the most prominent depression era voices of protest - huey long and father coughlin. both stories are fascinating simply as biographical narratives and as political guideposts — how does one develop substantial political clout outside of mainstream political mechanisms. particularly in our currently politically dysfunctional era, the stories of the rise (and fall) of these (often) demagogic outsiders is germane. its fairly clear that drumpf either read their playbook or is inspired by the same spirits. brinkley's most valuable contribution is identifying the key elements that linked the rise of the two.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bryan

    Voices of Protest by Allan Brinkley is a great way to obtain an alternative view of the Great Depression. The book goes through the political movements that Huey Long and Father Coughlin help to foster. These movements were very critical of the New Deal and the Roosevelt administration. They were pushing for further redistribution of wealth, and an end of big money. This might lead one to think that the movement was socialist or communist but in fact was critical of these movements. The Communis Voices of Protest by Allan Brinkley is a great way to obtain an alternative view of the Great Depression. The book goes through the political movements that Huey Long and Father Coughlin help to foster. These movements were very critical of the New Deal and the Roosevelt administration. They were pushing for further redistribution of wealth, and an end of big money. This might lead one to think that the movement was socialist or communist but in fact was critical of these movements. The Communist party saw there movements as a great threat.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Colleen Browne

    This is an informative book which does a good job of analyzing the roles of Long and Coughlin on American life. I would recommend the book although it was a bit redundant in parts and tended to drag a bit about 2/3 of the way through. We have all heard of the two demagogues from Depression era America but the details of their activities have been all but forgotten. Brinkley presents a very balanced and fair look at them, their methods, their power, and their eventual demise. This book is an impo This is an informative book which does a good job of analyzing the roles of Long and Coughlin on American life. I would recommend the book although it was a bit redundant in parts and tended to drag a bit about 2/3 of the way through. We have all heard of the two demagogues from Depression era America but the details of their activities have been all but forgotten. Brinkley presents a very balanced and fair look at them, their methods, their power, and their eventual demise. This book is an important contribution to the study of 20th Century America and politics of the 30's.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tom Leland

    Still trying to square with how a hateful, empty demagogue like Trump could win? This book will clear it all up. Because Huey Long and Father Coughlin preyed on the very same one-dimensional thinking. The only remaining point to be astonished about isn't that Trump won -- it's how generations since the 1930s, so many Americans still think in such simplistic terms. Still trying to square with how a hateful, empty demagogue like Trump could win? This book will clear it all up. Because Huey Long and Father Coughlin preyed on the very same one-dimensional thinking. The only remaining point to be astonished about isn't that Trump won -- it's how generations since the 1930s, so many Americans still think in such simplistic terms.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Steve Smits

    This 25-year old book that recounts the political scene over 85 years ago resonates to our political sensibilities even today. Professor Brinkley analyzes the populist dissident movements of the 1930's led by Huey Long and Father Charles Coughlin. (Although he distinguishes the differences between the populism of the 1890's and Long's and Coughlin's campaigns, the grass-roots populist reactions to the prevailing power institutions of the former time are conceptually akin to what happened in the This 25-year old book that recounts the political scene over 85 years ago resonates to our political sensibilities even today. Professor Brinkley analyzes the populist dissident movements of the 1930's led by Huey Long and Father Charles Coughlin. (Although he distinguishes the differences between the populism of the 1890's and Long's and Coughlin's campaigns, the grass-roots populist reactions to the prevailing power institutions of the former time are conceptually akin to what happened in the 1930's and the early 21st century in American politics.) The onset of the Depression sent shock waves throughout the country's political and social milieu. Long and Coughlin inspired mass protests against the purported causes of economic calamity and put forth solutions that they held would right things. Although their depictions of the causes of economic distress and their solutions were different they shared a common belief that the excesses of the capitalist system were, in a sense, the work of corporate and financial "villians". These elite classes created a system that resulted in gross inequities in the distribution of wealth among the people. Both Long and Coughlin were charismatic figures extraordinarily adept at capturing widespread public support for their ideas. Both men were flamboyant and masterful at shaping public opinion through the use of publicity, especially the new phenomena of radio. Both were considered by their critics to be demagogues whose solutions were deeply flawed and unworkable. Long's approach was to redistribute personal wealth in excess of 1 million dollars to the rest of the nation so as to provide enough for a comfortable living for everyone. Coughlin pushed for reforms of the banking system by re-monetizing silver to back currency and eliminate private banks. While their solutions had a tinge of Socialism, both men were decidedly anti-Communist; indeed, they held that the excesses of capitalism presented the danger of pushing public sentiment toward Communism. Both men had a love-hate relationship with the new Roosevelt administration, trying at first to ingratiate themselves to gain influence over policy and later turning against Roosevelt when their overtures were rebuffed. The nation's political leaders considered Long and Coughlin politically dangerous opponents whose influence over millions of people could sway the outcome of political campaigns. The threat of third-party intervention in congressional and presidential elections was a major concern to the political establishment. This did not materialize because of two factors. While Long and Coughlin were quite able to stimulate episodic public outcry on issues neither had truly effective national political organizations. Long's "Share the Wealth Clubs" and Coughlin's "National Union for Social Justice" affiliates were undisciplined and ineffective as true political parties. Moreover, when, in the 1936 election, their adherents had to choose between Roosevelt and the maverick third-party candidates they stayed loyal to Roosevelt. Both movements faded quickly after 1936. Huey Long was assassinated in 1935 and without his personal charisma his successors could not sustain his hold on the public. Coughlin was chastened by the overwhelming rejection by the voters of his candidate in 1936 and dropped out of view. He did re-emerge a short time later, but he adopted an anti-Semitic message that brought him to general disrepute. It is interesting to consider the similarities between the appeal of these two figures and the successes of the Trump phenomena in 2016. There is the attack on the political establishment; in Trump's case against the Republicans, but also generally on the Washington political classes. There is the employment of demagoguery to attack opponents and to put forth simplistic solutions that were claimed to readily fix complex problems. There is the use of new media technology to communicate directly to people without needing to rely on existing institutional channels of communication. Perhaps most significant is the strategy of tapping into the angst of the middle class who have lost, or perceive they are about to lose, the economic and social status they have held.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Moses

    Brinkley takes us back to the 1930’s, when America was in the throes of the worst depression it has ever faced, and shows us the rise and fall of two demagogues, Father Charles Coughlin and Huey Long. America has a long history of populism and demagogues, and Brinkley shows how Coughlin and Long were in some ways inheritors of those demagogues, while at the same time steering things in a different direction. Reflecting on the life and times of these two is especially interesting today, since we Brinkley takes us back to the 1930’s, when America was in the throes of the worst depression it has ever faced, and shows us the rise and fall of two demagogues, Father Charles Coughlin and Huey Long. America has a long history of populism and demagogues, and Brinkley shows how Coughlin and Long were in some ways inheritors of those demagogues, while at the same time steering things in a different direction. Reflecting on the life and times of these two is especially interesting today, since we have just elected our first demagogue in a while. Brinkley covers a wide range of topics, and spends much of the book comparing and contrasting them. His most striking points were around the way in which Long and Coughlin took advantage of the communications revolution of the radio, how Long, Coughlin, and other contemporary demagogues had clear, principled visions, and the way in which Long and Coughlin were the direct inheritors of the populist movement in America. When the radio came out, it was the first innovation other than the newspaper that allowed you to reach many people. Furthermore, it felt much more personal than the newspaper. Other than Coughlin and Long, their main antagonist, FDR also used the radio to great advantage. His “fireside chats” were instrumental in shaping public opinion around the New Deal and later around WWII. Later, Kennedy used television to clobber Nixon, and even later, Reagan took advantage of his acting ability to figure out how he could act enough like the president that people decided he could do it! Donald Trump figured out that people treated the presidency like a reality television show, and was able to play the campaign as if it was one. As a reality TV expert, he dld much better than he had any business doing. He was also able to take advantage of social media in a way that only Obama had also succeeded in. Long’s famous “Share the Wealth” argument was that there should be a confiscatory wealth tax, and that everyone should be given enough cash to fund the American dream. He thought that there was too much income and wealth inequality, and that we should redistribute it directly. Coughlin worried that banks were illiquid and that there wasn’t enough cash in the system. He wanted to double the price of gold, remonotize silver and dissolve the Fed in exchange for a nationalized central bank that would answer to the people. Unlike Long and Coughlin, Trump doesn’t have a clear, principled policy. His original big issue, immigration, he has walked back significantly from. The only policy he has stuck with for almost the entire election has been protectionism. Was Coughlin and Long’s clear vision irrelevant to their success as demagogues? Or has something changed about the structure of demagoguery in America that we’re more vulnerable to ambiguous messages today? I don’t know that much about previous populist movements in America, but Brinkley points out that although Coughlin and Long inherited that tradition, their tactics, rhetoric, and specific policies are often quite different. The one shared policy idea that he points out is monetizing silver. Other than that, Coughlin and Long seem to be paving their own way–although they seek to gather power by taking advantage of what the people wanted, they don’t seem to seek to be responsive to the people, but rather to provide a solution and get people excited about it so that they personally accrue power. This reminded me a lot of Trump’s rhetoric of, “Only I can fix this.” Voices of Protest paints a clear picture of how people felt in the throes of the great depression, and how they became susceptible to these kinds of demagogues. This book is useful for anyone grappling with the recent election, or who is curious about the lives of these influential public figures.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Liam

    "And while the President considered Long vaguely engaging, he harbored a genuine dislike of Coughlin, whose arrogance and presumptuousness he tolerated only with difficulty." (109) "The most troubling feature of modern industrial society, Long and Coughlin maintained, was the steady erosion of the individual's ability to control his own destiny. Large, faceless institutions; wealthy, insulated men; vast networks of national and international influence: all were exercising power and controlling we "And while the President considered Long vaguely engaging, he harbored a genuine dislike of Coughlin, whose arrogance and presumptuousness he tolerated only with difficulty." (109) "The most troubling feature of modern industrial society, Long and Coughlin maintained, was the steady erosion of the individual's ability to control his own destiny. Large, faceless institutions; wealthy, insulated men; vast networks of national and international influence: all were exercising power and controlling wealth that more properly belonged in the hands of ordinary citizens. These same forces had created the economic crisis of the 1930s and threatened, if left unchecked, to perpetuate it. Out of such concerns emerged the central element of the messages of both men: an affirmation of the ideal of community." (144) "There was little question in the months following Long's assassination that the immediate political future, at least, belong to his heirs. Oscar K. Allen, nearing the end of his term as governor, called tearfully upon his associates on the day of Huey's funeral to honor the memory of their martyred leader by 'perpetuating ourselves in office.' ... Long himself, however, had more accurately predicted the future when he once warned, 'If those fellows ever try to use the powers I've given them without me to hold them down, they'll all land in the penitentiary.'" (263)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    Why? I saw this on some list about understanding America today. I knew a little bit about the subject, but not enough to really hold a conversation with anyone. What I thought: This was a really good read and really helped me develop an understanding of the two protest/populist movements that occurred during the Depression Era: Huey Long and Father Coughlin. Not only did this book describe the rise of such movements, but also the quick fall of them, which was pretty fascinating. I have a much bette Why? I saw this on some list about understanding America today. I knew a little bit about the subject, but not enough to really hold a conversation with anyone. What I thought: This was a really good read and really helped me develop an understanding of the two protest/populist movements that occurred during the Depression Era: Huey Long and Father Coughlin. Not only did this book describe the rise of such movements, but also the quick fall of them, which was pretty fascinating. I have a much better understanding of the politics of the era, and what makes populist movements (like the Trump death cult) rise and grow in popularity. This is a book for those who like political science, and I know that you are out there! This is not a long book, but told well, and filled my head with some new information to "wow" my colleagues and students.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chuck

    Having spent the first 27 years of my life in Louisiana , I had some familiarity with Huey Long and his reputation, but all I knew of Coughlin was that he was a radio blow-hard whose oratory appealed to Americans' fears and prejudices (and that he eventually earned a reputation as an anti-semite). With the Great Depression now so many decades behind us, we know how it played out and finally ended. But for those living through it, the era was a profoundly uncertain time. Americans looked in all di Having spent the first 27 years of my life in Louisiana , I had some familiarity with Huey Long and his reputation, but all I knew of Coughlin was that he was a radio blow-hard whose oratory appealed to Americans' fears and prejudices (and that he eventually earned a reputation as an anti-semite). With the Great Depression now so many decades behind us, we know how it played out and finally ended. But for those living through it, the era was a profoundly uncertain time. Americans looked in all directions for solutions to their economic problems, and this study of Long and Coughlin opens windows to the disparate ideas that circulated among leaders and their followers. Anyone with an interest in the history of Great Depression will find Voices of Protest interesting and relevant.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Stevejs298

    An excellent book that was written 25 years too early. It might be helpful if this book were being more widely read today. The demagoguery of Long and Coughlin and the failed policies of wealth redistribution that they were pursuing will sound familiar to anyone following the news today. Sadly neither this behavior, not these bad ideas have been confined to the ash bin of history. They seem to have spread!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Don Heiman

    In 1982 Vantage Books published Alan Brinkley’s book “Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin & The Great Depression.” This book won the American Book Award for History and the Washington Post Book Award. “Voices of Protest” is very captivating and full of surprises about the evolution of populism and confronting ideologies of the WW1 and WW2 eras. (P)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Keith Wheeles

    Fascinating study of two populist demagogues in America. Timely and with painfully obvious parallels to our current situation (though I still think Mussolini is a closer parallel to Trump - populist oratorical skills, stupidity, incompetence, and easily manipulated by his more capable senior colleague [Hitler/Putin]). Good writing.

  19. 4 out of 5

    John E

    Excellent study of the two popular gadflies of the Depression era. They rose on the fears rising from the economic collapse by promising to be able to end the problems. The were wrong and reason prevailed. One of the precursors of Donald Trump with promises of solutions to real problems with no knowledge of the problems.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    Amazingly thorough and well researched. Read for class and found it full of eye-opening information.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rick

    One of my history textbooks...Very good...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Vincent Lombardo

    I read this book many years ago. I recall it being very informative, but a bit dry. I am very sorry that the author, an eminent historian, recently died.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

    very well written, etc. nuanced and so on

  24. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Very fascinating read that draws many parallels to grievances with current world and political issues.

  25. 5 out of 5

    David Bates

    In Voices of Protest Brinkley takes up two of the most prominent “demagogues and radicals” of the 1930s, Huey Long and Father Coughlin. On one side of the argument,” Brinkley tells us, “have stood those to whom mass politics represents the most frightening tendencies of modern society: the loss of individualism, the primacy of uncontrolled emotions, the triumph of crude prejudices – the victory of the dark forces that have in this century produced fascism, Stalinism, and other terrors.” Against In Voices of Protest Brinkley takes up two of the most prominent “demagogues and radicals” of the 1930s, Huey Long and Father Coughlin. On one side of the argument,” Brinkley tells us, “have stood those to whom mass politics represents the most frightening tendencies of modern society: the loss of individualism, the primacy of uncontrolled emotions, the triumph of crude prejudices – the victory of the dark forces that have in this century produced fascism, Stalinism, and other terrors.” Against this consensus era interpretation Brinkley argues for those “particularly in the last two decades” who “have taken a far more sympathetic view of mass behavior. Collective protest and even violence, they have argued, are not necessarily irrational or anti-democratic. They can, rather, be rational and entirely justified responses to oppression and injustice.” Within this framework of privileged insiders and oppressed dissidents Brinkley explores Huey Long’s meteoric rise to power in Louisiana through a series of campaigns attacking the state’s political and economic elite. He also chronicles Father Coughlin’s rise from the priest of a marginal Catholic Church in the suburbs of Detroit to radio stardom. By the mid-1930s each man had grown critical of FDR, each commanded a radio audience of millions, and what were at least the outward forms of political organizations numbering in (lesser) millions. While acknowledging that neither man was an intellectual, or had a strictly coherent political program, Brinkley examines their rhetoric and the responses of their followers for a unifying underlying ideology. Brinkley’s key claim is that both men advocated, with regional and cultural variations, a similar protest ideology to that of the populists of the 1880s and 1890s, “manifestations of one of the most powerful impulses of the Great Depression, and of many decades of American life before it: the urge to defend the autonomy of the individual and the independence of the community against encroachments from the modern industrial state” in the form of big industry, chain stores, and distant elites. The “broader set of symbols, images, and values they had invoked, the diffuse ideology they had presented” were Brinkley tells us, by 1935 drawing Coughlin and Long together both politically and in the public mind. In the establishment fear of this rising political force Brinkley locates the impetus to the more radical legislation of 1935, such as the Social Security Act, Wagner Act, Wealth Tax and the Works Progress Administration – efforts by Roosevelt to coopt radical political support, passed in fear that Long would either form a third party and throw the 1936 election to a conservative or, unthinkably, win the Democratic nomination and the Presidency himself. As a Democratic senator noted to a reporter in early 1935, “[w]e are obliged to propose and accept many things in the New Deal that otherwise we would not because we must prevent a union of discontent around [Long]. The President is the only hope of the conservatives and liberals .”

  26. 4 out of 5

    Billy

    Two political agitators of the 1930s who embody a powerful urge of the Great Depression: “the urge to defend the autonomy of the individual and the independence of the community against encroachments from the modern industrial state.” (xi) Chapter 7, “the Dissident Ideology,” stands out. Both leaders advocated that power should remain in the hands of the individual and the local community, not in the hands of a few rich men who controlled gov’t and industry. Simultaneously, both men called for i Two political agitators of the 1930s who embody a powerful urge of the Great Depression: “the urge to defend the autonomy of the individual and the independence of the community against encroachments from the modern industrial state.” (xi) Chapter 7, “the Dissident Ideology,” stands out. Both leaders advocated that power should remain in the hands of the individual and the local community, not in the hands of a few rich men who controlled gov’t and industry. Simultaneously, both men called for increasing government power to deal with this crisis, mimicking Herbert Croly’s approach of “Hamiltonian means to reach Jeffersonian ends.” Brinkley discounts fascism and anti-Semitism in these leaders’ appeal to the public. Instead, he sees these movements as the last genuine push of populist dissent. “Long and Coughlin were not the leaders of irrational, anti-democratic uprisings [a la Bell, The Radical Right:]. Neither however, were they the vanguards of a great, progressive social transformation. Instead they were manifestations of one of the most powerful impulses of the Great Depression…: the urge to defend the autonomy of the individual and independence of the community against encroachments from the modern industrial state” (xi). They fell far short and their movements stopped expanding and collapsed.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Riley

    A really good study of two of America's great demagogues, Louisiana strongman Huey Long and Father Charles Coughlin. Given the time in which I read it, it was hard not to compare that era to ours. Like this, about Long's efforts to get Arkansas Sen. Hattie Caraway reelected in a crowded field, which reminded me of the recent GOP presidential primary: "But, for the most part, they had no idea how to deal with Long. One of them, former Governor Charles Brough, tried launching a frontal attack. It w A really good study of two of America's great demagogues, Louisiana strongman Huey Long and Father Charles Coughlin. Given the time in which I read it, it was hard not to compare that era to ours. Like this, about Long's efforts to get Arkansas Sen. Hattie Caraway reelected in a crowded field, which reminded me of the recent GOP presidential primary: "But, for the most part, they had no idea how to deal with Long. One of them, former Governor Charles Brough, tried launching a frontal attack. It was a mistake: 'I hear where one of Mrs. Caraway's opponents is hollering already,' Long derisively replied. 'Says I got no business coming up here from Louisiana. Well, the state lines didn't stop him none when he came from Arkansas to Louisiana to help impeach me.' Brough had done nothing of the sort; but his angry denials succeeded only in making him look ridiculous, and he quickly lapsed into silence. In the end, the reaction of Mrs. Caraway's opposition bore a strange resemblance to the early reactions of Huey's enemies in Louisiana: confusion and inertia. They were simple no match for the Long steamroller."

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rich

    I don't think there is a more appropriate time to read this book than right now. If you want to understand what's happening in America right now, and especially the rise of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck--- really how megalomaniacs and people with little more than charisma can attain a massive public following in America---read this book. Franklin Roosevelt said that Huey Long was one of the two most dangerous men in America, the other being Douglas MacArthur, and I have to imagine that if our Presi I don't think there is a more appropriate time to read this book than right now. If you want to understand what's happening in America right now, and especially the rise of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck--- really how megalomaniacs and people with little more than charisma can attain a massive public following in America---read this book. Franklin Roosevelt said that Huey Long was one of the two most dangerous men in America, the other being Douglas MacArthur, and I have to imagine that if our President is paying attention, he knows that Sarah and Glenn are filling those roles right now.

  29. 5 out of 5

    David

    A scholarly, well-researched work on two historical figures I knew little about, and who both wielded a great deal of political power during the last years of the Great Depression. Long and Coughlin were both demagogues who railed against what they perceived to be the injustices in our economic system. I was fascinated by the parallels between the current economic issues and those that existed back in the 1930s. This is a true "goodread" for American history buffs. A scholarly, well-researched work on two historical figures I knew little about, and who both wielded a great deal of political power during the last years of the Great Depression. Long and Coughlin were both demagogues who railed against what they perceived to be the injustices in our economic system. I was fascinated by the parallels between the current economic issues and those that existed back in the 1930s. This is a true "goodread" for American history buffs.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth Roman

    I never really heard of Huey Long or Father Coughlin and I was surprised to lean how much of a presence they had during the Great Depression. I had to read this book for my Great Depression/WWII class in college. It was an enjoyable read. I found myself wanting to know what these men did to bring support to their social causes. If anyone has to write a paper about social groups during the Great Depression this is one I recommend.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.