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Back to the Land: Arthurdale, FDR's New Deal, and the Costs of Economic Planning



Back to the Land: Arthurdale, FDR's New Deal, and the Costs of Economic Planning

C. J Maloney

ISBN: 978-1-118-02357-0 February 2011 320 Pages


How New Deal economic policies played out in the small town of Arthurdale, West Virginia

Today, the U.S. government is again moving to embrace New Deal-like economic policies. While much has been written about the New Deal from a macro perspective, little has been written about how New Deal programs played out on the ground.

In Back to the Land, author CJ Maloney tells the true story of Arthurdale, West Virginia, a town created as a "pet project" of the Roosevelts. Designed to be (in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt) "a human experiment station", she was to create a "New American" citizen who would embrace a collectivist form of life. This book tells the story of what happened to the people resettled in Arthurdale and how the policies implemented there shaped America as we know it. Arthurdale was the foundation upon which modern America was built.

  • Details economic history at the micro level, revealing the true effects of New Deal economic policies on everyday life
  • Addresses the pros and cons of federal government economic policies
  • Describes how good intentions and grand ideas can result in disastrous consequences, not only in purely materialistic terms but, most important, in respect for the rule of law

Back to the Land is a valuable addition to economic and historical literature.

Arthurdale from 1933 to 1947 vii

Acronyms Used in the Book ix

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 The Damnedest Cesspool of Human Misery 19

Chapter 2 The Angel of Arthurdale Arrives 55

Chapter 3 The Defi nition of Insanity 71

Chapter 4 We Lucky Few 91

Chapter 5 "Spending Money . . . Like Drunken Sailors" 107

Chapter 6 The Darkening of the Light 125

Chapter 7 "A Human Experiment Station" 151

Chapter 8 At Long Last, Arcadia 179

Epilogue: To the Victor, the Spoils 193

Acknowledgments 215

Notes 219

Bibliography 275

About the Author 285

Index 287