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Lawrence Levine and Cornelia Levine
The People and the President: America’s Conversations with FDR

Event Date: October 15, 2002

As part of the Center for the Book’s Books & Beyond author series, cultural historians Lawrence W. Levine and Cornelia R. Levine gave a lecture on their book, The People and the President: America’s Conversations with FDR (Beacon Press, 2002). The program was co-sponsored with the Recorded Sound Section of the Library’s Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division and the National Archives and Records Service.

In The People and the President, the Levines emphasize one of the many profound changes instituted by FDR: "a revolution in the pattern of communication between Americans and their Chief Executive." They focus on the letters that President Roosevelt received in response to the 31 "Fireside Chat" radio addresses he gave to the American people between 1933 and 1945. The letters not only help re-create a remarkable picture of America from the hardship of the Depression to the turmoil surrounding our nation’s entry into World War II, but also show how radio, a new technology at the time, "functioned as a primary medium of communication."

Lawrence W. Levine, a MacArthur Award-winning historian who teaches at George Mason University, is the author of The Opening of the American Mind (1996) and other books about American cultural history. Cornelia R. Levine is an independent scholar. They live in Berkeley, California and Washington, D.C.

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