Going Big

FDR’s Legacy, Biden’s New Deal, and the Struggle to Save Democracy

With history and the extraordinary parallels between Biden and FDR as his guide, the veteran political analyst diagnoses what’s at stake for America in 2022 and beyond

“It is something of a miracle that democracy held just enough to elect Joe Biden, and that Biden has discovered his inner FDR. To fully understand the risks and opportunities of this fraught moment, we need to take a deeper look at the past.” —from Going Big

Joe Biden has found his way back to Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. After four decades of diminishing prospects for ordinary people, the public likes what Biden is offering. Yet American democracy is in dire peril as Republicans, increasingly the national minority, try to destroy democracy in order to cling to power. It is the best of times and the worst of times. In Going Big, bestselling author and political journalist Robert Kuttner assesses the promise and peril of this critical juncture.

Biden, like FDR in his time, faces multiple challenges. Roosevelt had to make terrible compromises with racist legislators to win enactment of his program. Biden, to achieve the necessary governing coalition, needs to achieve durable multiracial coalitions. Roosevelt had to conquer fascism in Europe; Biden must defeat it at home. And after four decades of neoliberal policy disasters reflecting Wall Street’s political influence, Biden needs to go beyond what even FDR achieved, to restore a democratic economy of broad possibility.

From a writer with an unparalleled understanding of the history and politics that have made this moment possible, this book is the essential guide to what is at stake for Joe Biden, for America, and for our democracy.


“A cogent reminder of the importance of federal policy, presidential leadership, and the elusiveness of economic justice.”
Kirkus Reviews
“The latest from one of the most tenacious and principled journalists in American politics has arrived at just the right moment. This should be required reading among Democrats in Washington and across the country. ”
—Heather McGhee, New York Time bestselling author of The Sum of Us
“Robert Kuttner is a modern Tom Paine who explains brilliantly the frightening crisis we face and then offers a remarkable, bracing, impassioned prescription for salvation and, indeed, renewal. Spreading the word about Going Big is absolutely imperative. ”
—Randall Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor, Harvard Law School, and author of New York Times 2021 Notable Book Say It Loud
“A lively mélange of history, politics and progressive playbook.”
The New York Times Book Review
“Kuttner makes a convincing case that bold policies are needed to address the country’s ills.”
Publishers Weekly
“As Joe Biden might put it, Going Big is a BFD—one with an urgent, essential, and ultimately hopeful message. If I could convince the president to read just one book at this perilous moment, this would be it. ”
—Jacob S. Hacker, Stanley Resor Professor of Political Science, Yale University, and co-author of Let Them Eat Tweets
“Can Joe Biden and the Democrats take a page from Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal to ‘go big’ and thereby reconstruct America and its politics? Robert Kuttner, the nation’s most perceptive critic of the predatory capitalism that so bedevils us, answers with a resounding and insightful YES!”
—Nelson Lichtenstein, Distinguished Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of State of the Union

News and Reviews

New York Times

Read an op-ed by Robert Kuttner in the New York Times about what Democrats need to do to beat the midterm jinx.

Capital & Main

Read an interview with author Robert Kuttner about Going Big in Capital & Main.

Literary Hub

Read an excerpt from Robert Kuttner’s Going Big on the Rooseveltian origins of Biden&rsquos economic recovery plan in Lit Hub.

Kirkus Reviews

Read a review of Going Big in Kirkus Reviews.

Books by Robert Kuttner

Making Work Pay
America After Welfare

Robert Kuttner

Goodreads Reviews