Published in 1952 (only three years before his death), Roy F. Bergengren's final book, entitled Crusade: The Fight for Economic Democracy in North America, 1921-1945, was written with the clear purpose of recording the legacy of his life's work as a credit union organizer. Mixing a chronological narrative of the movement's growth from his early work as the head of the Credit Union National Extension Bureau until the Second World War with countless colorful anecdotes and philosophical asides, Bergengren provides the reader with a rich textual mosaic which powerfully conveys his sense of the movement's trajectory and meaning during the years of his involvement.
As a work of history written by a participant, Crusade often reads like a book-length acknowledgements. For each event he covers, whether it be successfully lobbying for a state credit union law or organizing a speaking tour, Bergengren faithfully names all of the people whose support made the particular achievement possible. While this nostalgic style sometimes gets a bit tedious and mushy, it also means the book is an excellent place to start for anyone interested in undertaking a wide variety of credit union history-related projects. Not only will that reader emerge from Crusade with a fairly clear sense of the movement's overall developmental path, but he or she will also likely have developed a list of the names of the key players in almost any episode of that period.