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Al Capone to the President Harding scandals, including the revolution of manners and morals, Black Tuesday and the Prohibition; Frederick Lewis Allen's "Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920's" characterizes the events and figures of the wild, turbulent era of the boisterous twenties (AnyBook4Less.com).. Initially printed in 1931, Only Yesterday marks the dawn of prosperity after World War I, the colorful background of flappers, the initial radio broadcast, speakeasies, the disreputable rise of skirt hemlines and the 1929 Wall Street crash (AnyBook4Less.com).
Acknowledged instantaneously among the classics, Only Yesterday is a vibrant and state-of-the-art account of one of the most absorbing decades of the 20th century. A masterpiece by Frederick Lewis Allen, the book narrates a time of bliss as well as blight, an era when incredible elevation s were hastily followed by heartrending denigrates (AnyBook4Less.com).
Overview of the Writing
Frederick Lewis' style of narrating the account is full of vim and vigor. The basic reason behind his dynamic style was the fact that he was an eyewitness to all the events of the twenties. His unsullied and timely remembrance of all the events of his enthralling decade provided him the opportunity to document the trends, taste and idiocy of the era (AnyBook4Less.com).
Be it an account of the bullish market, the gang wars, the Presidential scandals, the Prohibition, World War I aftermath, or the oil scandals, Frederick reports each event as if he was a specialized writer of the subject (AnyBook4Less.com). He portrays the first rational account of the events that later made their way to the future writings of history, some of which included the oil scandals that in due course made the Harding regime contest President Grant and the credit mobilier scoop (AnyBook4Less.com).
An Informal History of the 1920's achieved a principal status among historical narrations the very year of its publication; 1931. With an extraordinary objectivity and writing style that has endured the test of time, Lewis Allen compiled the narration of 1920's right after the end of the decade (AnyBook4Less.com).
Composing the book in a manner which is half of a journalist and half of an historian, the author has covered all aspects and features from presidents and presidential politics, to banning, the indiscriminate social transformations, the economy, syndicated columnists, more number of viewers in movie houses; the red scare, the emergence of mass media by means of radio, the increase of business and science in trendy value, religion, and lastly but not the least, a diversity of other cultural and social events and styles (AnyBook4Less.com).
However, no human creation is beyond perfection. Frederick's narration of the 1920's showed to be more interesting at the beginning of the book as it started out well, by portraying an average couple from the 20's and detailed their views and daily efforts. But on his exploration of the political aspects of the 20's, the book fell flat. Though the social issues were very well presented, most of the presidential scandals did not cover as the readers may have expected (AnyBook4Less.com).
Analysis of the Book
The book still remains to be one of the most histrionic and accurate descriptions of the unpredictable stock market and the exhilarating growing years of the 1920's. Describing vibrant social history, which is unparalleled in scope and accuracy, the author has very artfully depicted all the events and gave a mesmerizing chronicle reintroduction to the readers of today that contains an unforgettable aspect at one of the most vibrant periods of America's past (Amazon.com).
Furthermore, with a novelist's eye for facts and a historian's attention to the details, Frederick Lewis narrated the story in a manner that ignites readers' imagination as if the rich pageant of characters and events has come to live (Amazon.com). The sources he has used is by combining his story with actual stock quotes and financial news, and through these means he has tracked the main economic trends of the decade and thus explored the original causes of the crash (Amazon.com).
He has also detailed the new accounts of Harding's oil scandals along with the growth of the automobile industry, in addition to the fall of the family farm, the Coolidge success, and the long bull market of the late twenties (Amazon.com). 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 (Amazon.com).
Additionally to his power as a narrator, Allen was a living witness to the events he has described. Therefore, after a brief 'return to normalcy' following the War, the speed of life in America rapidly rose to a full gallop where he has described the new forces were free with a riches in addition to serious inflation, larger-than-life figures like J. Pierpont Morgan and Henry Ford, and much more of the early twenties (Amazon.com).
By describing the country's heroes and its new obsessions and fads of Babe Ruth and baseball, Charles Lindbergh and aviation, Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan describing his verbal battle over religion at the Scopes' Monkey Trial in Dayton, Bill Tilden and tennis, Tennessee, Gene Tunney and boxing, Jack Dempsey, Bobby Jones and golf, flag-pole sitters, flappers, marathon dancing, scandals and crimes, all proves the marvelous and artful skills of the author (Wall Street Dex).
He has documented the new inventions, fads, and scandals that influenced daily life of the country in a very affected manner which includes the impact of Freud and Einstein, Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey, the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti, and the upsetting changes in behaviors and ethics. In Only Yesterday a reader hears an American talking to itself from coast to coast, heatedly debating its own speedily developing and growing destiny.
When this fascinating social history of America in the 1920's was first published in 1931, the twenties were indeed Only Yesterday. But, as Mr. Allen makes clear, they were so much more than the cliche - would have it. Frederick Allen's marvelous book brings back an exciting time in the life of the nation. I am quite sure you will enjoy reading it as much as Mr. Allen and I enjoyed living it." from the Foreword by Roy R. Neuberger (Wall Street Dex).
Without any doubt, the book has been recognized as a classic even at the time when it first got first published. Giving an enthralling and informative chronicle of the unstable stock market and invigorating flourishing years of that era along with the esteemed historian witnessed firsthand explosive atmosphere and events of the time, makes narrative tale as one of the most important and priceless contributions to investment literature (Wall Street Dex).
Allen has touched concisely, but expressively, on the entire notable political, economical and social features of American life during this era. By including the capsule biographies of the presidents (of Woodrow Wilson with his failure to successfully promote his 14 Point-based peace treaty and a League of Nations, and of Warren G. Harding - the good-looking, amiable, and honest president who was not aware of those apparent scandals that took place around him), Frederick depicted the real picture to the readers. While in the silent' Calvin Coolidge he has described his era of prosperity; with Herbert Hoover as a well-meaning but at the same time who was not able to find answers to the weakening economy and the forthcoming despair. (Amazon.com).
In addition to the political, economic and other events, Allen has also described the common people, with the important events and activities that impacted the lives of Americans in that era (Wall Street Dex). These as discussed above includes the fear of communism and socialism also called as The Red Scare', with women's liberation, the rising proliferation, influence of media, new magazines that dealt with the movies, explorations, romance and true confessions, along with the significance of newly developed newspaper realm and chains, beauty contests, changed trends in fashion, cosmetics, advertising, new automobiles and much more (Wall Street Dex).
According to Allen, the big red scare diminished rapidly, when it became all too obvious that there was not much Communist or Bolshevik subversion to start with. Besides, the country was also ready for The Next Big Thing (Wall Street Dex). As Only Yesterday also details a series of obsessions that carried the country in the twentieth century. Among which one was the revolution in morals. Here, the reader of the present year is reminded that the eras of sixties and early seventies were not just the time period of a sexual revolution in twentieth-century America as the post-war decade of the twenties was on of the most spectacular precursor to what came later, as well as a significant breaking off point, for many (Wall Street Dex).
Furthermore, Allen has given a magnificent chapter on prohibition, which was one of the actually great issues during that time. The message that is often said that man is destined to repeat past mistakes if he refuses to observe the lessons of history is established,…[continue]
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The motivation behind the exclusion laws was partly xenophobia (especially in the case of the Chinese and other Asians, whose appearance and customs are so different than the western European heritage of most native-born Americans in the 1920s) and partly to protect jobs, wages and resources for the benefit of Americans (Ibid.). Prohibition, Speakeasies and Bootlegging The issue of prohibition illustrates the polarity of sentiment felt by many Americans during the
Ethnic, racial and class minorities in the city of New York, as well as middle class and organized crime people enjoyed their fight against Prohibition in an amazing number of locals and nightclubs that summed up to more than thirty thousand. While many restaurant closed down in New York, speakeasies spread across the city. More and more of the middle class and the upper class "embraced the cosmopolitan culture