Book Review: “1920” by Eric BurnsSeptember 14, 2015 at 1:51 pm | Posted in Books | Leave a comment
Tags: Book Review, Non-Fiction
From the back cover: 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.
“The Roaring Twenties”, The Jazz Age or The Age Of The Flapper no matter what you want to call it these are labels that apply to the entire 1920’s decade. As far as I know no one, up until now, has just minutely focused on just one year: 1920. And this is not just some dry dissertation. Absolutely not. What Mr. Burns has given us are character studies of individuals that made “1920” what it was. The book starts off with the terrorist bombing attack on Wall Street. Yes, there really was one. Mr. Burns will turn his attention to Louis Armstrong, Satchmo, who helped usher in Jazz. He will look at The White House and President Woodrow Wilson who fell sick and could not run the country so his wife ran it. And then there is Carlo Ponzi, a true con man, who gave us his name in what we call The Ponzi Scheme. And there is more, so much more. “1920” is a remarkable book that gives us insight into a remarkable year that birthed a remarkable decade. I have no idea of how Mr. Burns was able to research all of this information but I, for one, am so grateful that he did. Thank you Mr. Burns for giving us a book that is not only historically accurate, absolutely fascinating but highly entertaining as well.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Pegasus Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”