Essay about Only Yesterday by Frederick Lewis Allen

740 WordsJan 20, 20123 Pages
Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s By: Frederick Lewis Allen © 1931 The book Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s by Frederick Lewis Allen recounts all the events leading up to the stock market crash in 1929, beginning with the end of World War I in 1918. The story, told chronologically, contrasts the changing social and political views of the American people throughout the “Roaring Twenties,” as the time period came to be known. Allen makes history enjoyable, vividly describing the creases in Al Capon’s shirt and the painted faces of the young generation. By 1919, World War I was over, and the Kaiser of Germany (Hitler) had been successfully overthrown with the help of the United States. The jubilant…show more content…
Although the roaring twenties are usually thought of as a time of universal prosperity, the reality is that unless one was Caucasian and well-to-do, society tended to shun the outliers (women, minorities, etc), propelling them out of political affairs and social scenes. Women rebelled, becoming increasingly promiscuous as the decade wore on. In 1920, it would have been unheard of to show an ankle, sport a bob haircut, or darken one’s eyes with what seemed like paint. By 1928, the younger generation was revealed as socially progressive, engaging in previously unthinkable behavior such as smoking, drinking in bars, and sex. Flappers became prevalent, with their flouncy skirts and short hair adorned with a jeweled headband. The decade earned its second nickname, “The Jazz Age”, from the incredible musical talents that emerged out of Harlem and other areas of the United States, leading to a less “restrained” entertainment. As the United States began to withdraw from foreign affairs, it became evident that the booming of industry such as General Electric and Ford Motorcars, the soaring stock market prices, and the overall public sentiment surrounding the era would be short lived. Lying on the outskirts of town was pure poverty, resulting from the surplus of labor and the sudden migration from rural
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