There are as many New Deals as there are books on the subject. Yet only recently have historians begun to dig into the international dimensions of the New Deal. Kiran Klaus Patel
is one of those historians, and his book, The New Deal: A Global History
(Princeton University Press, 2016), is an impressive crack at showing the transnational intertwinements and comparisons that made up the New Deal's moment. Patel locates the United States in a vast network of modernizing states who experienced a shared crisis in the years after 1929, developed national policies to address the crisis, and looked to other states in search of inspiration or out of fear. As late as 1938, for instance, Roosevelt was requesting Nazi labor statistics to help refine his own administrations planning. Patel shows how the New Deal shaped the world and, more importantly, was shaped by the world.
The book provides fresh contributions to a range of different topics, such as the global Great Depression, the Good Neighbor Policy, the development of the welfare state, interwar international relations, and American post-WWII globalism. Kiran Klaus Patel, Professor of European and Global History at Maastricht University, achieves this with a knowledge of secondary literature in a variety of languages and rich archival evidence. The result of Patel's work is a New Deal that looks a lot less exceptional, yet no less important to global history.
Dexter Fergie will be pursuing his PhD in US and Global history at Northwestern University in September 2017.