January 27: Katherine S. Olmsted


Wednesday night a 8 pm on Bibliocracy Radio, my guest is Kathryn S. Olmsted, author of the incredibly readable, fun and provocative Right Out of California:  The 1930s and the Big Business Roots of Modern Conservatism.  Her terrific storytelling, along with historical photographs and winning profiles of so many key players makes this an engaging and highly entertaining pageant of sorts, with characters walking in and out of scenes over a period of a couple of decades of labor struggles from California on to the rest of the nation.  Her argument, that Big Agriculture and the GOP established much of our current political dynamic, is tantalizing and convincing, with case studies involving all the major players, from Herbert Hoover to the Communist Party, all in the context of FDR’s New Deal efforts at liberal workplace reforms. Look for Clark Kerr, Dorothy Healey, Richard Nixon among the roster of actors in this exciting drama. This book quickly made it to my “best of” list for last year.  Katherine S. Olmsted is chair of the history department at UC Davis.  A historian of anti-communism, she is the author of several previous books, including Challenging the Secret Government, Red Spy Queen and Real Enemies.  Thanks for listening, on the radio or online.  Available as a free download from the KPFK archives.