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Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s Paperback – Jun 29 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics (June 29 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060956658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060956653
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #49,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"A perfectly grand piece of historical record and synthetic journalism." -- -- Chicago Daily Tribune

From the Back Cover

Only Yesterday deals with that delightful decade from the Armistice in November 1918 to the panic and depression of 1929-30. Here is the story of Woodrow Wilson's defeat, the Harding scandals, the Coolidge prosperity, the revolution in manners and morals, the bull market and its smash-up. Allen's lively narrative brings back an endless variety of half-forgotten events, fashions, crazes, and absurdities. Deftly written, with a humorous touch, Only Yesterday traces, beneath the excitements of day-to-day life in the 20s, those currents in national life and thought which are the essence of true history.

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Inside This Book

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If time were suddenly to turn back to the earliest days of the Post-war Decade, and you were to look about you, what would seem strange to you? Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rolland W. Amos on Sept. 24 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful little book (301 pages) about life in America in the decade between World War I (Armistice Day) and the Panic of October 29, 1929. Frederick Lewis Allen - a career writer-editor for various national publications (Atlantic Monthly, Century, Harper's, etc.) wrote this book in 1931. Thus, he provides a quick, fresh glance back upon this exciting period - the "Roaring 20's" - that he'd personally just experienced.
Allen touches briefly, but poignantly, on all the important political, economical and social aspects of American life in these years. He includes capsule biographies of the
presidents: of Woodrow Wilson and his failure to successfully promote his '14 Point-based peace treaty and a League of Nations; of Warren G. Harding - handsome, personable, decent, but unaware, apparently, of the scandals taking place around him; of 'silent' Calvin Coolidge and his era of prosperity; and of Herbert Hoover - well-meaning, but unable to find answers to the deteriorating economy and the approaching depression.
Allen also describes the people, events and activities that impacted the lives of Americans in those years, including the fear of communism and socialism ('The Red Scare'), women's emancipation, the growing proliferation and influence of radio, the impact of new magazines dealing with the movies, adventure, romance and true confessions, the importance of newly created newspaper empires and chains, beauty contests, changing fashions, cosmetics, advertising, and new automobiles (Ford's Model A).
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By R. Walker on July 31 2002
Format: Paperback
The summer of 2002 is a very interesting time to be thinking about the 1920s, and this book is the perfect way to do that. One of Allen's major themes is the Big Bull Market of that decade -- how it gradually, little by little, seduced many economic thinkers into believing that the business cycle had been permanently changed for the better, and how stocks turned into a nationwide spectator sport. Sound familiar? As with our more recent bull market, the end wasn't pretty. But one of the things the book suggests is that we haven't seen anywhere near the calamity that followed the crash of 1929. (Allen finished the book in 1931.) I don't know that the book offers much guidance about what will happen next for us in 2002, but it does teach a powerful lesson about the ways that history repeats. Allen covers other ground, too, like the Teapot Dome scandal and the rise of Al Capone, as well as some of the more frivolous "hot" stories of the time. Among the other déjà vu themes he hits is how easily distracted we are by trivial stories when the economy is good. Nicely written, still holds up remarkably well.
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Format: Paperback
This is exactly the type of history book I like to read. The subject matter is brought to life in a way simply not found in other authors. It reminded me quite a bit of Howard's Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" because I read that first and I wonder if Professor Zinn took a hint from Mr. Allen's style because they are very similar.
I will remember events, people and places in this book long after I am done reading it (for a college class) simply because of the way the author seems to be talking directly to you.
It is as if you are just sitting down for dinner, or a chat, and he's laying out the 1920's to you because you asked.
I am throughly impressed with this book and I am glad my Professor exposed me to it. I recommend it to anyone who has ever wondered what the "Roaring 20's" were all about.
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