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.
Recreates the social, political, and economic scene of the 1920s in America
A social history of the United States during the "roaring twenties." Examines American individualism and the decade that they knew Mah Jong and Mencken, Couéism and Coolidge, Listerine and Lindbergh, as well as Capone, Ford, Babe Ruth, the Teapot Dome, and bathtub gin.
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.
Discover what everyday life was like for ordinary Americans during the decades of development and depression in the 1920s and 1930s.
Examines American cultural life and its influences during the nineteen twenties, covering youth culture, entertainment, food, fashion, advertising, architecture, leisure activities, and the arts.
Terrible Honesty is the biography of a decade, a portrait of the soul of a generation - based on the lives and work of more than a hundred men and women. In a strikingly original interpretation that brings the Jazz Age to life in a wholly new way, Ann Douglas arugues that when, after World War I, the United States began to assume the economic and political leadership of the West, New York became the heart of a daring and accomplished historical transformation.
Examines the symbols that defined perceptions of women during the late 1910s and 1920s and how they changed women's role in society.
A look at America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the capitalists who changed the world—setting the stage for the most devastating global financial collapse in history—from “a diligent and perceptive reporter” (Forbes). In the decades following the Civil War, America entered an era of unprecedented corporate expansion, with ultimate financial power in the hands of a few wealthy industrialists who exploited the system for everything it was worth. The Rockefellers, Fords, Morgans, and Vanderbilts were the “lords of creation” who, along with like-minded magnates, controlled the economic destiny of the country, unrestrained by regulations or moral imperatives. Through a combination of foresight, ingenuity, ruthlessness, and greed, America’s giants of industry remolded the US economy in their own image. They established their power and authority, ensuring that they—and they alone—would control the means of production, transportation, energy, and commerce—creating the conditions for the stock market collapse of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed. As modern society continues to be affected by wealth inequality and cycles of boom and bust, it’s as important as ever to understand the origins of financial disaster, and the policies, practices, and people who bring them on. The Lords of Creation, first published when the catastrophe of the 1930s was still painfully fresh, is a fascinating story of bankers, railroad tycoons, steel magnates, speculators, scoundrels, and robber barons. It is a tale of innovation and shocking exploitation—and a sobering reminder that history can indeed repeat itself.
"To an astonishing extent, the 1920s resemble our own era, at the turn of the twenty-first century; in many ways that decade was a precursor of modern excesses....Much of what we consider contemporary actually began in the Twenties." -- from the Introduction The images of the 1920s have been indelibly imprinted on the American imagination: jazz, bootleggers, flappers, talkies, the Model T Ford, Babe Ruth, Charles Lindbergh's history-making flight over the Atlantic. But it was also the era of the hard-won vote for women, racial injustice, censorship, widespread social conflict, and the birth of organized crime. Bookended by the easy living of the Jazz Age, when the booze and money flowed seemingly without end, and the crash of '29 that led to breadlines and a level of human suffering not seen since World War I, New World Coming is a lively, entertaining, and all-encompassing chronological account of an age that defined America. Chronicling what he views as the most consequential decade of the past century, Nathan Miller -- an award-winning journalist and five-time Pulitzer nominee -- paints a vivid portrait of the 1920s, focusing on the men and women who shaped that extraordinary time, including, ironically, three of America's most conservative presidents: Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover. In the Twenties, the American people soared higher and fell lower than they ever had before. As unprecedented economic prosperity and sweeping social change dazzled the public, the sensibilities and restrictions of the nineteenth century vanished, and many of the institutions, ideas, and preoccupations of our own age emerged. With scandal, sex, and crime the lifeblood of the tabloids, the contemporary culture of celebrity and sensationalism took root and journalism became popular entertainment. By discarding Victorian idealism and embracing twentieth-century skepticism, America became, for the first time, thoroughly modernized. There is hardly a dimension of our present world, from government to popular culture, that doesn't trace its roots to the 1920s, and few decades are more intriguing or significant today. The first comprehensive view of the era since Only Yesterday, Frederick Lewis Allen's 1931 classic, New World Coming reveals this remarkable age from the vantage point of nearly a century later. It's all here -- the images and the icons, the celebrities and the legends -- in a book that will resonate with history readers, 1920s aficionados, and Americans everywhere.
Offers a broad view of American culture during the 1920s, discussing the changing values that ended the repressive Victorian era, the growing importance of pluralism in America's heterogeneous society, and the expansion of federal bureaucracy
Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize "A magisterial work...You can't help thinking about the economic crisis we're living through now." --The New York Times Book Review It is commonly believed that the Great Depression that began in 1929 resulted from a confluence of events beyond any one person's or government's control. In fact, as Liaquat Ahamed reveals, it was the decisions made by a small number of central bankers that were the primary cause of that economic meltdown, the effects of which set the stage for World War II and reverberated for decades. As yet another period of economic turmoil makes headlines today, Lords of Finance is a potent reminder of the enormous impact that the decisions of central bankers can have, their fallibility, and the terrible human consequences that can result when they are wrong. From the Trade Paperback edition.
A revealing biography of J. P. Morgan, one of the most powerful and enigmatic financiers in history, from bestselling author Frederick Lewis Allen. Celebrated as a titan of industry by some and decried as a monopolizing robber baron by others, John Pierpont Morgan was without a doubt a dominant player in American finance at the turn of the twentieth century. He founded U.S. Steel, a conglomeration of leading steel and iron producers, which was the nation’s largest coast-to-coast railroad system, and the first company to be worth more than $1 billion. Morgan was also instrumental in developing the Federal Reserve after working with political leaders to prevent a potentially devastating fiscal crisis in 1907. Indeed, he was a driving force in the modernization of American business, and the effects of his acumen and foresight continue to resonate today—on Wall Street and beyond. Additionally, known for his displays of wealth and power, Morgan was a prominent figure of the New York society scene—a member of the original one percent—as well as a notable art connoisseur with a sizable collection now housed in Manhattan’s lavish Morgan Library & Museum, once his own private library. In this meticulously researched and comprehensive biography, Frederick Lewis Allen, former editor of Harper’s magazine and author of Only Yesterday, delves into the life and character of a fascinating, multidimensional man. Allen also probes the evolution of the business landscape during Morgan’s lifetime, when giant corporations with unparalleled economies of scale began to absorb and replace smaller competitors. This richly detailed portrait of a man whose name is inseparable from American finance is essential reading for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of banking and business history.
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.
Frederick Lewis Allen was one of the pioneers in social history. Best known as the author of Only Yesterday, Allen originated a model of what is sometimes called instant history, the reconstruction of past eras through vivid commentary on the news, fashions, customs, and artifacts that altered the pace and forms of American life. The Big Change was Allen's last and most ambitious book. In it he attempted to chart and explain the progressive evolution of American life over half a century. Written at a time of unprecedented optimism and prosperity, The Big Change defines a transformative moment in American history and provides an implicit and illuminating perspective on what has taken place in the second half of the twentieth century.Allen's theme is the realization, in large measure, of the promise of democracy. As against the strain of social criticism that saw America as enfeebled by affluence and conformity, Allen wrote in praise of an economic system that had ushered in a new age of well being for the American people. He divides his inquiry into three major sections. The first, 'The Old Order,' portrays the turn-of-the-century plutocracy in which the federal government was largely subservient to business interests and the gap between rich and poor portended a real possibility of bloody rebellion. 'The Momentum of Change' graphically describes the various forces that gradually transformed the country in the new century: mass production, the automobile, the Great Depression and the coming of big government, World War II and America's emergence as a world power. Against this background, Allen shows how the economic system was reformed without being ruined, and how social gaps began to steadily close.The concluding section, 'The New America,' is a hopeful assessment of postwar American culture. Allen's analysis takes critical issue with many common perceptions, both foreign and domestic, of American life and places remaining social problems in careful perspective. As William O'Neill remarks in his introduction to this new edition, The Big Change is both a deep and wonderfully readable work of social commentary, a book that gains rather than loses with the years.

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