Frances Perkins is no longer a household name, yet she was one of the most influential women of the twentieth century. Frances Perkins was named Secretary of Labor by Franklin Roosevelt in 1933. As the first female cabinet secretary, at the height of the Great Depression, she spearheaded the fight to improve the lives of America's working people while juggling her own family responsibilities. Perkins's ideas became the cornerstones of the most important social welfare legislation in the nation's history, including unemployment compensation, child labor laws, the forty-hour work week, and Social Security. Also, as head of the Immigration Service, she fought to bring European refugees to safety. Based on eight years of research, extensive archival materials, new documents, and exclusive access to family and friends, this is the first complete portrait of a devoted public servant with a passionate personal life, a mother who changed the landscape of American business and society.--From publisher description.
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Recommended for all Americans who want to understand the society in which they live, and the situation from which it arose. This is extremely relevant in the current financial and social crises that we are facing.
Frances Perkins was a labor advocate, in ever sense of the word. She went from working with unions and politicians in New York to being the first woman United States cabinet member - as the Secretary of Labor. She didn't let tradition, political entropy, or detractors steer her away from what she thought was right - passing the 40 hour work-week, Social Security, Medicare, and many things that workers in this country now take for granted. She tackled immigration reform, created a formidable and reliable Bureau of Labor Statistics, which we use to know what's going on with our workers and economy to this day. And watched her department be split, duties taken out from under her, and handed out as her popularity waxed and waned, as her work was appreciated or not over time.
Ms. Downey admires Miss Perkins greatly, and that comes through very clearly in this work. Miss Perkins reads as very worth admiring.
This is missed opportunity to explore the policies, what brought them to a political place where it
Sadly, there is far more about Perkins' social relationships, whether she was or was not gay, her financial issues. Should have been more on work she had done and what she had seen and experienced that gave her the empathy and understanding of the issues she was dedicated to in her various positions.
Documentation and sourcing is unprofessional, at least for anything to be considered a scholarly or historical. Many citations are newspaper references or what someone said---secondhand at best.
The reader will get an overview of the period, some facts and a lot of fluff.