1920: Book summary and reviews of 1920 by Eric Burns

1920

The Year that Made the Decade Roar

by Eric Burns

1920 by Eric Burns X
1920 by Eric Burns
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Book Summary

"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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. In this delightfully readable book, the author expertly shows how those affected by the Great War linked together, nourished each other and really did change the world." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. Burns makes it possible to recognize the century to come in this intimate study of a single year, and the result is downright fascinating." - Publishers Weekly

"Casual readers and beginning researchers interested in early 20th-century American history and culture will find this title worthwhile. Those interested in the 1920s might also want to consider Bill Bryson's One Summer: America, 1927." - Library Journal

"Burns delivers history with flair and vividness." - The Wall Street Journal

"A work of genuine historical research, colorful personality, intellectual sophistication, heft, and durable interest." - Vanity Fair

"Extremely readable. Burns's vigorous narrative is rich in genuinely engaging anecdote. He so clearly appreciates history's sweep." - The Los Angeles Times

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Author Information

Eric Burns

Eric Burns is a former correspondent for NBC News and the TODAY Show. For ten years he was the host of the top-rated "Fox News Watch," and he has won an Emmy for media criticism. He is the author of Infamous Scribblers, The Spirits of America, and The Smoke of the Gods, and the latter two were named "Best of the Best" by the American Library Association. Eric lives in Westport, Connecticut.

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