Accordingly, Conkin is not very fond of Roosevelt, and throughout the whole book echoes failures of his administration to address the various problems that plagued pre-World War II America.
The first chapter of the book is dedicated to Roosevelt and his personality, as the foremost character shaping the events during the Depression years. Conkin argues that the New Deal is in fact a series of disparate moves and programs that are unified in Roosevelt's personality, hence inseparable from his life. The next two chapters outline the generally accepted parts of the New Deal; the first consists of the programs that were seen as pro-business with the second part beginning with welfare legislation. Roosevelt's failure to pursue a coherent program during the Depression allowed a variety of fascinating people to enter the government.
The second New Deal was characterized by Congress passing the National Labor Relations Act, securing the future of organized labor, and the creation of the Works Progress Administration to provide temporary unemployment relief. In a way, Conkin believes it to be a precursor to the welfare state. And yet, government and business were not talking, and so mistrust ensued.