Mao Zedong famously ordered population shifts from the city to the country in the name of some far-flung ideology. Lesser known is the fact that Eleanor Roosevelt did the same! Back to the Land by C.J. Maloney tell the entire pathetic and disgusting story in this micro-economic look at the atrocity of New Deal economic policies.
This is 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.
Many books have examined the larger picture. But somehow, looking at the details of this smaller picture paints an even more devastating picture for the status of the New Deal. Arthurdale shows the massive financial disaster that government created and how it ended in destroyed lives and ruined economic prospects for an entire region. You wonder what went wrong in West Virginia? Here is the untold story.
Back to the Land is a valuable addition to economic and historical literature. It is beautifully written,with elaborate detail about regular life under economic dictatorship. We gain real insight into the minds of the fanatics at the top who believed that central planning would solve all problems.
This is history that New Deal partisans would glad to have suppressed forever. But thanks to Maloney, it will be remembered as yet another case study in the economic failure of socialism.
Arthurdale was the most dramatic social engineering experiment ever undertaken in the United States - a place where the collectivists had their way. That they created such a calamity should serve as a dire warning to us all.
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