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Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s Paperback – Jun 29 2010
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"A style that is verve itself.... Besides telling the story of the bull market in fine perspective, Mr. Allen presents the first coherent account that we have seen of the oil scandals that will eventually make the Harding regime match that of President Grant and the Credit Mobilier story in the history books of the future".
-- New York Times
"A perfectly grand piece of historical record and synthetic journalism."-- "Chicago Daily Tribune""A style that is verve itself... Besides telling the story of the bull market in fine perspective, Mr Allen presents the first coherent account that we have seen of the oil scandals that will eventually make the Harding regime match that of President Grant and the Credit Mobilier story in history books of the future."-- "New York Times"
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.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
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).Read more ›
The object of this French term is the United States government. By 1918 it was a fast ship, roaring to the aid of the beleaguered peoples of Europe, tipping the balance in the "war to end wars" in favor of the right side. In this spirit also, prohibition was passed. The moment the war came to an end, the American people fled from the banners of decency just as fast as their legs could carry them. The government became a derelict hulk captained by token presidents.
Wilson drove himself to death trying in vain to bring about a "just and lasting peace." Harding, the great American "good guy", enmeshed himself in the "Teapot Dome Scandals" perpetrated by his friends, the Texas oil millionaires. The author speculates that his rather unexpected death was a concealed suicide. The oil intended for U.S. naval reserves went elsewhere at a large profit, much to Japan.
The south rose again in the form of the resurrected Klu Klux Klan (the book does not mention its previous disbanding by the actual confederate veterans). They ruled at the state and local levels (hence "states rights"). Justice was an open joke, but who cared about it? The American people were busy pursuing a sexual revolution and illicit booze. The satirist, H. L. Mencken, had a field day. Al Capone ruled Chicago. Hundreds of rackets sprang up everywhere and small businessmen paid taxes to the mob.
Why did the government not act? Mammon was God and was being preached not only by the clergy from the pulpit but by its new apostles, the salesmen.Read more ›
The nation was in some ways, still in the remnants of an agrarian society, poised to enter the industrial, urban era, but not making the full plunge yet. Perhaps a transitional time would be a better label to put on the snapshot of this period. The reason I say that is due to the description he gives of the swearing in of Calvin Coolidge. "Business was booming when Warren Harding died, and in a primitive Vermont farmhouse, by the light of an old-fashioned kerosene lamp, Colonel John Coolidge administered to his son Calvin the oath of office as President of the United States" (p. 132).
The book is full of glimpses which fit together to provide a hoistic portrayal of the decade.
Most recent customer reviews
Im a 15 year old student and just finsished reading this book (and am writing a 10 page paper for in in A.P history :( )This was an excellant book. Read morePublished on Jan. 13 2003
From the view point of a sixteen year old who was assigned this book for school reading it is not very interesting. Read morePublished on July 18 2002
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. Read morePublished on May 21 2002 by Ryad "James"
In my US History studies in school, I have focused on studying the Wars--Revolutionary, Civil,WWI, WWII, etc. I have learned so much less about other periods in US History. Read morePublished on May 28 2001
Allen does not limit himself to the "great man" school of history, but gives a wide-ranging and colorful view of a decade disquietingly like the 90s/00s - a careening... Read morePublished on Dec 22 2000
This engaging account of the 1920's is an especially remarkable book given the year it was written: 1931. Read morePublished on Aug. 7 2000 by Jim Breitinger
Very good account of the historical events of America in the 1920's. The vivid description of the period enables the readers to "live" through that time again. Read morePublished on June 29 1999