Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s

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9780060956653: Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s

Prohibition. Al Capone. The President Harding scandals. The revolution of manners and morals. Black Tuesday. These are only an inkling of the events and figures characterizing the wild, tumultuous era that was the Roaring Twenties. Originally published in 1931, Only Yesterday traces the rise if post-World War I prosperity up to the Wall Street crash of 1929 against the colorful backdrop of flappers, speakeasies, the first radio, and the scandalous rise of skirt hemlines. Hailed as an instant classic, this is Frederick Lewis Allen's vivid and definitive account of one of the twentieth century's most fascinating decades, chronicling a time of both joy and terror--when dizzying highs were quickly succeeded by heartbreaking lows.

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From the Publisher:

Originally published in 1931, soon after the era ended, this preprinted edition is still considered a classical account of the 1920s. Beginning with the end of World War I (November 11, 1918) on through to the stock market crash on November 12, 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression, the author provides a well-written history of the times. Some of the events of the day included are: Al Capone and Prohibition, scandals surrounding then president Harding, growth of the automobile industry, the first radio, and the "scandalous" rise of skirt hemlines.

From the Inside Flap:

Only Yesterday Hailed as a classic even when it was first published in 1931, Only Yesterday remains one of the most vivid and precise accounts of the volatile stock market and the heady boom years of the 1920’s. A vibrant social history that is unparalleled in scope and accuracy, it artfully depicts the rise of post—World War I prosperity, the catalytic incidents that led to the Crash of 1929, and the devastating economic decline that ensued—all set before a colorful backdrop of flappers, Al Capone, the first radio, and the "scandalous" rise of skirt hemlines. Now, this mesmerizing chronicle is reintroduced to offer readers of today an unforgettable look at one of the most dynamic periods of America’s past. With a novelist’s eye for detail and a historian’s attention to the facts, Frederick Lewis Allen tells a story that will ignite your imagination as its rich pageant of characters and events comes alive. Peppering his narrative with actual stock quotes and financial news, Allen tracks the major economic trends of the decade and explores the underlying causes of the Crash. Here are fresh accounts of Harding’s oil scandals and the growth of the automobile industry, as well as the decline of the family farm, the Coolidge prosperity, and the long bull market of the late twenties. Allen’s virtual hour-by-hour account of the Crash itself, told from multiple perspectives with mounting suspense, is as gripping as anything you are likely to read in fiction. In addition to his power as a storyteller, Allen was a living witness to the events he describes; there is a thrilling you-are-there feeling about the unfolding history. After a brief "return to normalcy" following the War, the pace of life in America quickly escalated to a full gallop. New forces were being unleashed: prosperity with serious inflation, larger-than-life figures such as J. Pierpont Morgan and Henry Ford, and the Big Red Scare of the early twenties. Allen documents the new inventions, fads, and scandals as they affected the daily life of the country, including the impact of Freud and Einstein, Prohibition and Al Capone, Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey, the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti, and the shocking changes in manners and morals. In Only Yesterday we hear America talking to itself from coast to coast, furiously debating its own rapidly evolving destiny. An engaging narrative that describes the harried, often tumultuous events of Wall street in the twenties, as well as the infectious spirit of the times, Only Yesterday is not only a compelling account of years gone by, but a true classic that will be appreciated for years to come.

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