In a desperate economic era, FDR and his advisers had to furiously improvise to get millions of unemployed people back to work. For writers, actors, and artists, they created the Federal Theater Project. A platform for cutting-edge drama, the program defied segregation, spotlighting social injustice and ultimately leading to a political struggle that would shape American arts for decades to come.
"[Susan] Quinn does a superb job of recounting the rise and fall of the Federal Theatre Project, a wing of FDR's WPA meant to employ playwrights and actors while providing diversion and inspiration for Depression-ravaged Americans. Quinn shows how, under the management of the irrepressible Hallie Flanagan, the left-leaning FTP facilitated such controversial masterpieces as Triple-A Plowed Under and The Cradle Will Rock while unintentionally setting the stage for the House Un-American Activities Committee and much of the red-baiting and blacklisting of the 1940s and '50s."—Publishers Weekly