The End of Reform offers a detailed and probing account of New Deal Liberalism from its origins as a political concept through the many bumpy efforts at legislating these ideas into practice. Historian Alan Brinkley suggests that the New Deal was not just about a commitment to retaining and expanding the welfare state, it also represented an important series of ideas about reforms of both government and business. These ideas included critiques of monopolies as well as a commitment to the expansion of a corporate world helping to sustain “full employment.” Where this book is perhaps strongest is in its detailed examination of the diverse and varied array of political insiders and intellectuals who influenced and shaped the outcomes of the New Deal. The book does not end with the start of the Second World War, but rather posits that the New Deal continued to effect important changes in economic policy and organizational management deemed necessary in wartime. Since its publication in 1995, this book has been widely read, cited, and critiqued by historians of the New Deal.
Reviewed by Sam Redman