WPA Timeline Click to see WPA Timeline


The New York Times just posted an op-ed from Nick Taylor comparing Barack Obama's plans for putting Americans back to work with FDR's Works Progress Administration (WPA). Click here to read the op-ed.


AMERICAN-MADE is the first single-volume history of one of our country's most significant and enduring initiatives: FDR's Works Progress Administration.

In a time of great need, this great initiative powered by great determination—and orchestrated by people of great heart—was launched as a part of Roosevelt's New Deal.

On October 29 1929, the stock market crashed. Within four years, fifteen million people—one quarter of the United States's adult workforce—were jobless. Thirty-six million family members who depended on them were equally destitute.

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office in 1933, he promised the country a "New Deal." And from this promise grew a presidential act creating the WPA, headed by the visionary Harry Hopkins and guided by his unstinting ethic.

Exhaustively researched, compellingly told, filled with enthralling period photographs, AMERICAN-MADE documents for the first time in one volume the complete story of this enduring, humane, and controversial program, one that forever changed the physical landscape and social politics of the United States.

Read a chapter | Listen to the author


Explore a specially created interactive timeline that chronicles selected events, accomplishments, and milestones in the history of the WPA.
Click here to view the interactive timeline.


Whether you're looking to further explore the WPA in your community or are an educator in search of classroom materials, the custom-created discussion guide offers helpful guidance and suggestions.
Click here to download.


This site offers additional resources for anyone wanting to learn more about the WPA. In the Resources and Links sections are additional material and sources for further research.


"The WPA...returned to the nation what FDR called 'the joy and moral stimulation of work..' Taylor's book is both a paean to American resourcefulness and a staunch defense of the New Deal." —The New Yorker

"Brisk.... Taylor's American-Made is bigger than its title suggests; he provides a succinct survey of the Great Depression and particularly its consequences for workers.... he interweaves personal stories with explanations of policy." —Washington Post Book World

"Vividly rendered—a near-definitive account of one of the most massive government interventions into domestic affairs on American history.... The book is filled with plucky, fast-talking characters who by dint of charm and grit pulled themselves up by their bootstraps to participate." —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

"A must-read for history buffs and government wonks.... Taylor is at his best in describing the different projects and the lives of the people who worked on them. " —USA Today

"Vastly informative, popular history at its finest.... A straightforward, relentlessly chronological, clearly written account." —The Dallas Morning News

"A lively and uplifting look at hard times—and a government program that worked." —Arizona Republic

"A quick read... engagingly written.... There is something here for everyone to learn." —San Francisco Chronicle

"A paean to the WPA ... balanced and engaging." —Boston Globe

"Eloquent and balanced.... A splendid appreciation of the WPA." —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"An immensely detailed book telling the epic story of an equally immense agency, American-Made does an incomparable job of chronicling an important chapter in American history, one which many of us only know from the classroom and some of us know all too well." —New Hampshire Business Review

"Chock-full of facts.... Taylor captures the drama and idealism of the program's early years." —Time Out New York

"Brilliant. American-Made...is the story of how American energy, administration, and improvisation coalesced in one of the country's finest hours." —California Literary Review

"Well-written and helpfully structured.... Taylor intersperses individual stories to give body to stark statisticsan admiring, as well as admirable, history of FDR's main job-creation program." —Chicago Sun-Times

"A lively 'people's history' of the WPA." —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


If you have any information, facts, or questions relating to AMERICAN-MADE or the WPA, e-mail bantamdell@randomhouse.com.