Blithely flinging aside the Victorian manners that kept her disapproving mother corseted, the New Woman of the 1920s puffed cigarettes, snuck gin, hiked her hemlines, danced the Charleston, and necked in roadsters. More important, she earned her own keep, controlled her own destiny, and secured liberties that modern women take for granted. Her newfound freedom heralded a radical change in American culture. Whisking us from the Alabama country club where Zelda Sayre first caught the eye of F. Scott Fitzgerald to Muncie, Indiana, where would-be flappers begged their mothers for silk stockings, to the Manhattan speakeasies where patrons partied till daybreak, historian Joshua Zeitz brings the era to exhilarating life. This is the story of America’s first sexual revolution, its first merchants of cool, its first celebrities, and its most sparkling advertisement for the right to pursue happiness. The men and women who made the flapper were a diverse lot. There was Coco Chanel, the French orphan who redefined the feminine form and silhouette, helping to free women from the torturous corsets and crinolines that had served as tools of social control. Three thousand miles away, Lois Long, the daughter of a Connecticut clergyman, christened herself “Lipstick” and gave New Yorker readers a thrilling entrée into Manhattan’s extravagant Jazz Age nightlife. In California, where orange groves gave way to studio lots and fairytale mansions, three of America’s first celebrities—Clara Bow, Colleen Moore, and Louise Brooks, Hollywood’s great flapper triumvirate—fired the imaginations of millions of filmgoers. Dallas-born fashion artist Gordon Conway and Utah-born cartoonist John Held crafted magazine covers that captured the electricity of the social revolution sweeping the United States. Bruce Barton and Edward Bernays, pioneers of advertising and public relations, taught big business how to harness the dreams and anxieties of a newly industrial America—and a nation of consumers was born. Towering above all were Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, whose swift ascent and spectacular fall embodied the glamour and excess of the era that would come to an abrupt end on Black Tuesday, when the stock market collapsed and rendered the age of abundance and frivolity instantly obsolete. With its heady cocktail of storytelling and big ideas, Flapper is a dazzling look at the women who launched the first truly modern decade. From the Hardcover edition.
Through the madcap lives of Zelda Fitzgerald, Lois Long, Coco Chanel, Clara Bow, and other Jazz Age luminaries, "Flapper" tells the fascinating story of the new woman and the making of modern culture.
By the 1920s, women were on the verge of something huge. Jazz, racy fashions, eyebrowraising new attitudes about art and sex—all of this pointed to a sleek, modern world, one that could shake off the grimness of the Great War and stride into the future in one deft, stylized gesture. The women who defined this the Jazz Age—Josephine Baker, Tallulah Bankhead, Diana Cooper, Nancy Cunard, Zelda Fitzgerald, and Tamara de Lempicka—would presage the sexual revolution by nearly half a century and would shape the role of women for generations to come. In Flappers, the acclaimed biographer Judith Mackrell renders these women with all the color that marked their lives and their era. Both sensuous and sympathetic, her admiring biography lays bare the private lives of her heroines, filling in the bold contours. These women came from vastly different backgrounds, but all ended up passing through Paris, the mecca of the avant-garde. Before she was the toast of Parisian society, Josephine Baker was a poor black girl from the slums of Saint Louis. Tamara de Lempicka fled the Russian Revolution only to struggle to scrape together a life for herself and her family. A committed painter, her portraits were indicative of the age's art deco sensibility and sexual daring. The Brits in the group—Nancy Cunard and Diana Cooper— came from pinkie-raising aristocratic families but soon descended into the salacious delights of the vanguard. Tallulah Bankhead and Zelda Fitzgerald were two Alabama girls driven across the Atlantic by a thirst for adventure and artistic validation. But beneath the flamboyance and excess of the Roaring Twenties lay age-old prejudices about gender, race, and sexuality. These flappers weren't just dancing and carousing; they were fighting for recognition and dignity in a male-dominated world. They were more than mere lovers or muses to the modernist masters—in their pursuit of fame and intense experience, we see a generation of women taking bold steps toward something burgeoning, undefined, maybe dangerous: a New Woman.
A lively look at the ways in which American women in the 1920s transformed their lives through performance and fashion.
An exhilarating portrait of the era of jazz, glamour, and gangsters from a bright young star of mainstream history writing. The glitter of 1920s America was seductive, from jazz, flappers, and wild all- night parties to the birth of Hollywood and a glamorous gangster-led crime scene flourishing under Prohibition. But the period was also punctuated by momentous events-the political show trials of Sacco and Vanzetti, the huge Ku Klux Klan march down Washington DC's Pennsylvania Avenue-and it produced a dizzying array of writers, musicians, and film stars, from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Bessie Smith and Charlie Chaplin. In Anything Goes, Lucy Moore interweaves the stories of the compelling people and events that characterized the decade to produce a gripping portrait of the Jazz Age. She reveals that the Roaring Twenties were more than just "the years between wars." It was an epoch of passion and change-an age, she observes, not unlike our own.
Examines the symbols that defined perceptions of women during the late 1910s and 1920s and how they changed women's role in society.
An examination of urban-industrial life in the early twentieth century looks at the Chicago riot of 1919 and explores post-World War I racial strife.
It's been fifty years since JFK’s assassination and nearly twenty since Ronald Reagan disappeared from public life. While they never ran head-to-head, they developed their legacies in competing ways and those legacies battle each other even today. The story of one illuminates the other, and explains our expectations for the presidency and whom we elect. Even though one is the model Democrat and the other the model Republican, their appeal is now bipartisan. Republicans quote Kennedy to justify tax cuts or aggressive national defense; Democrats use Reagan’s pragmatism to shame Republicans into supporting tax increases and compromise. Partly a "comparative biography" that explores John F. Kennedy’s and Ronald Reagan’s contemporaneous lives from birth until 1960, Scott Farris's follow-up to his widely praised Almost President shows how the experiences, attitudes, and skills developed by each man later impacted his presidency. Farris also tackles the key issues--civil rights, foreign affairs, etc.--that impacted each man’s time in office. How did previous life experiences form their views on these issues, and how do their dealings around each issue compare and contrast? Bookended by an examination of their standing in public opinion and how that has influenced subsequent politicians, plus an exploration of how the assassination of Kennedy and attempted assassination of Reagan colored our memories, this book also shows how aides, friends and families of each man have burnished their reputations long after their presidencies ended.
In 1963, Betty Friedan unleashed a storm of controversy with her bestselling book, The Feminine Mystique. Hundreds of women wrote to her to say that the book had transformed, even saved, their lives. Nearly half a century later, many women still recall where they were when they first read it. In A Strange Stirring, historian Stephanie Coontz examines the dawn of the 1960s, when the sexual revolution had barely begun, newspapers advertised for "perky, attractive gal typists,” but married women were told to stay home, and husbands controlled almost every aspect of family life. Based on exhaustive research and interviews, and challenging both conservative and liberal myths about Friedan, A Strange Stirring brilliantly illuminates how a generation of women came to realize that their dissatisfaction with domestic life didn’t reflect their personal weakness but rather a social and political injustice.
In the glorious, boozy party that followed World War I, a new being burst defiantly onto the world stage: the flapper. Young, impetuous, and flirtatious, she was an alluring, controversial figure, celebrated in movies, fiction, plays, and the pages of fashion magazines. But, as Linda Simon argues, the flapper didn’t appear out of nowhere. Lost Girls gives us a spirited history with a fresh look at the reality of young women’s experiences in America and Britain from the 1890s to the 1920s—the era when the “modern girl” emerged. Lost Girls is a story of youth derided and fetishized; of aging viscerally feared. It is a story of young women growing up in a culture beset by anxiety about adolescent girls. It is about women trying to shape their own identity amid contradictory theories of adolescence and sexuality, the politics of suffrage, and popular fiction, theater, cinema, and dance hall crazes. Simon shows us how the modern girl bravely created a culture, a look, and a future of her own. Lost Girls is an illuminating history of the iconic flapper as she evolved from a problem to a temptation, and finally, in the 1920s and beyond, to an aspiration.
Historians of postwar American politics often identify race as a driving force in the dynamically shifting political culture. Joshua Zeitz instead places religion and ethnicity at the fore, arguing that ethnic conflict among Irish Catholics, Italian Catholics, and Jews in New York City had a decisive impact on the shape of liberal politics long before black-white racial identity politics entered the political lexicon. Understanding ethnicity as an intersection of class, national origins, and religion, Zeitz demonstrates that the white ethnic populations of New York had significantly diverging views on authority and dissent, community and individuality, secularism and spirituality, and obligation and entitlement. New York Jews came from Eastern European traditions that valued dissent and encouraged political agitation; their Irish and Italian Catholic neighbors tended to value commitment to order, deference to authority, and allegiance to church and community. Zeitz argues that these distinctions ultimately helped fracture the liberal coalition of the Roosevelt era, as many Catholics bolted a Democratic Party increasingly focused on individual liberties, and many dissent-minded Jews moved on to the antiliberal New Left.
Riane Eisler shows us how history has consistently promoted the link between sex and violence—and how we can sever this link and move to a politics of partnership rather than domination in all our relations.
A history of roaring prosperity—and economic cataclysm: “The one account of America in the 1920s against which all others must be measured” (The Washington Post). Beginning November 11, 1918, when President Woodrow Wilson declared the end of World War I in a letter to the American public, and continuing through his defeat, Prohibition, the Big Red Scare, the rise of women’s hemlines, and the stock market crash of 1929, Only Yesterday, published just two years after the crash, chronicles a decade like no other. Allen, who witnessed firsthand the events he describes, immerses you in the era of flappers, speakeasies, and early radio, making you feel like part of history as it unfolds. This bestselling, enduring account brings to life towering historical figures including J. Pierpont Morgan, Henry Ford, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, Al Capone, Babe Ruth, and Jack Dempsey. Allen provides insightful, in-depth analyses of President Warren G. Harding’s oil scandal, the growth of the auto industry, the decline of the family farm, and the long bull market of the late twenties. Peppering his narrative with actual stock quotes and breaking financial news, Allen tracks the major economic trends of the decade and explores the underlying causes of the crash. From the trial of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti to the inventions, crazes, and revolutions of the day, this timeless work will continue to be savored for generations to come.
A fresh look at the life and times of Victoria Woodhull and Tennie Claflin, two sisters whose radical views on sex, love, politics, and business threatened the white male power structure of the nineteenth century and shocked the world. Here award-winning author Myra MacPherson deconstructs and lays bare the manners and mores of Victorian America, remarkably illuminating the struggle for equality that women are still fighting today. Victoria Woodhull and Tennessee "Tennie" Claflin-the most fascinating and scandalous sisters in American history-were unequaled for their vastly avant-garde crusade for women's fiscal, political, and sexual independence. They escaped a tawdry childhood to become rich and famous, achieving a stunning list of firsts. In 1870 they became the first women to open a brokerage firm, not to be repeated for nearly a century. Amid high gossip that he was Tennie's lover, the richest man in America, fabled tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, bankrolled the sisters. As beautiful as they were audacious, the sisters drew a crowd of more than two thousand Wall Street bankers on opening day. A half century before women could vote, Victoria used her Wall Street fame to become the first woman to run for president, choosing former slave Frederick Douglass as her running mate. She was also the first woman to address a United States congressional committee. Tennie ran for Congress and shocked the world by becoming the honorary colonel of a black regiment. They were the first female publishers of a radical weekly, and the first to print Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto in America. As free lovers they railed against Victorian hypocrisy and exposed the alleged adultery of Henry Ward Beecher, the most famous preacher in America, igniting the "Trial of the Century" that rivaled the Civil War for media coverage. Eventually banished from the women's movement while imprisoned for allegedly sending "obscenity" through the mail, the sisters sashayed to London and married two of the richest men in England, dining with royalty while pushing for women's rights well into the twentieth century. Vividly telling their story, Myra MacPherson brings these inspiring and outrageous sisters brilliantly to life.
Few whites who violently resisted the civil rights struggle were charged with crimes in the 1950s and 1960s. But the tide of changed in 1994, and more than one hundred murder cases have been reopened, resulting in over a dozen trials. Yet, as Renee C. Romano shows, addressing the nation’s troubled racial past will require more than legal justice.
Documents the true stories of Belva Gaertner and Beulah Annan, the women whose sensational murder trials inspired the musical "Chicago," and traces the contributions of fledgling reporter Maurine Watkins against a backdrop of Chicago's Jazz Age culture.
One of the most dynamic eras in American history—the 1920s—began with this watershed year that would set the tone for the century to follow. "The Roaring Twenties” is the only decade in American history with a widely applied nickname, and our collective fascination with this era continues. But how did this surge of innovation and cultural milestones emerge out of the ashes of The Great War? No one has yet written a book about the decade’s beginning. Acclaimed author Eric Burns investigates the year of 1920, which was not only a crucial twelve-month period of its own, but one that foretold the future, foreshadowing the rest of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st, whether it was Sacco and Vanzetti or the stock market crash that brought this era to a close. Burns sets the record straight about this most misunderstood and iconic of periods. Despite being the first full year of armistice, 1920 was not, in fact, a peaceful time—it contained the greatest act of terrorism in American history to date. And while 1920 is thought of as starting a prosperous era, for most people, life had never been more unaffordable. Meanwhile, African Americans were putting their stamp on culture and though people today imagine the frivolous image of the flapper dancing the night away, the truth was that a new kind of power had been bestowed on women, and it had nothing to do with the dance floor. . . From prohibition to immigration, the birth of jazz, the rise of expatriate literature, and the original Ponzi scheme, 1920 was truly a year like no other.
In her exuberant new work, BOBBED HAIR AND BATHTUB GIN, Marion Meade presents a portrait of four extraordinary writers--Dorothy Parker, Zelda Fitzgerald, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Edna Ferber--whose loves, lives, and literary endeavors embodied the spirit of the 1920s. Capturing the jazz rhythms and desperate gaiety that defined the era, Meade gives us Parker, Fitzgerald, Millay, and Ferber, traces the intersections of their lives, and describes the men (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edmund Wilson, Harold Ross, and Robert Benchley) who influenced them, loved them, and sometimes betrayed them. Here are the social and literary triumphs (Parker's Round Table witticisms appeared almost daily in the newspapers and Ferber and Millay won Pulitzer Prizes) and inevitably the penances each paid: crumbled love affairs, abortions, depression, lost beauty, nervous breakdowns, and finally, overdoses and even madness. These literary heroines did what they wanted, said what they thought, living wholly in the moment. They kicked open the door for twentieth-century women writers and set a new model for every woman trying to juggle the serious issues of economic independence, political power, and sexual freedom. Meade recreates the excitement, romance, and promise of the 1920s, a decade celebrated for cultural innovation--the birth of jazz, the beginning of modernism--and social and sexual liberation, bringing to light, as well, the anxiety and despair that lurked beneath the nonstop partying and outrageous behavior. A vibrant mixture of literary scholarship, social history, and scandal, BOBBED HAIR AND BATHTUB GIN is a rich evocation of a period that will forever intrigue and captivate us. From the Hardcover edition.
Accompanying a future famous actress from her Wichita home to New York, chaperone Cora Carlisle shares a life-changing five-week period with her ambitious teenage charge during which she discovers the promise of the 20th century and her own purpose in life. By the author of The Center of Everything. Reprint.
A timely and intimate look into the 16th President's White House through the lives of two of his closest aides and confidants draws on letters and diaries to evaluate their roles in every seminal event from the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation to the delivery of the Gettysburg Address and their fight to establish an assassinated Lincoln's heroic legacy. (This book was previously featured in Forecast.)