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The Anxious Decades: America in Prosperity and Depression 1920-1941
     

The Anxious Decades: America in Prosperity and Depression 1920-1941

by Michael E. Parrish, Parrish
 
In the convulsive years between 1920 and 1941, Americans were first dazzled by unprecedented economic prosperity and then beset by the worst depression in their history. It was the era of Model T's, rising incomes, scientific management, electricity, talking movies, and advertising techniques that sold a seemingly endless stream of goods. But it was also a time of

Overview

In the convulsive years between 1920 and 1941, Americans were first dazzled by unprecedented economic prosperity and then beset by the worst depression in their history. It was the era of Model T's, rising incomes, scientific management, electricity, talking movies, and advertising techniques that sold a seemingly endless stream of goods. But it was also a time of grave social conflict and human suffering.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Tucked between the two world wars, the 1920s and 1930s, like the 1890s and 1960s, were pivotal in U.S. social history. In this impressively detailed chronicle, Parrish ( Felix Frankfurter and His Times ) depicts the '20s as a decade of booming economy and free-wheeling gratification (despite Prohibition) with newly available autos, radio, movies, jazz clubs and big-time sports. The nation followed the heroic accomplishments of Jack Dempsey, Babe Ruth, Charles Lindbergh, Helen Wills and Amelia Earhart. The '30s brought the Great Depression of closed banks, idle shops and factories, farm foreclosures, bread lines, soup kitchens, and financial chicanery unveiled; FDR's New Deal upended traditional government to save a country afflicted with 30% unemployment. Describing in depth such salient events as the 1930 stock market crash, Parrish maintains an authoritative and epic overview. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Parrish (history, Univ. of California-San Diego) persuasively argues that the events from 1921 to 1941 have shaped the tone and temperament of modern America. Most dimensions of contemporary life, he claims, can find their antecedents in the events of these two decades. Through a series of brief biographical sketches, he traces the impact of the prosperity of the 1920s and the Depression of the 1930s on the people. He also gives a clear and unbiased presentation of the strengths and failures of the New Deal. However, his treatment of foreign policy during the 1930s is shallow. Still, this book has excellent photographs and also an extensive bibliography of secondary sources for further reading. General readers as well as scholars will find Parrish's unique study of this fascinating and frightening period useful.-- Richard Hedlund, Ashland Community Coll., Ky.
Booknews
A broad, highly readable history of the US during a period which witnessed both unprecedented economic prosperity and the worst depression ever to afflict the nation. Parrish concludes with a chapter-length bibliography that combines suggestions for further reading with notes on sources. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Gilbert Taylor
The interpretive survey is a demanding form of historical writing, one that strives to extract a coherent thesis from the turbulance of the past and make it live in creative tension with the known facts. This often takes a philosophical bent: in a conservative way, Paul Johnson's "Modern Times" could be a standard, and a liberal proclivity finds exemplary comfort in John Blum's "Years of Discord, 1961-1974". Parrish (who previously wrote a biography of New Dealer Felix Frankfurter ) inclines toward the second camp, as most historians of the Roaring Twenties and New Deal are wont to do. He proffers 5- to 10-paragraph briefs on the era's personalities and events, and plugs them into the political skein of the times. Presidents predominate as Parrish's organizer of fact. From the incompetent Warren Harding to the flinty Yankee Calvin Coolidge, the overly maligned Herbert Hoover, and the irrepressible FDR, all receive Parrish's close electoral analysis, as well as the impact of dissenters and critics on American society. To Parrish, the 1920s seem a parable of the pitfalls of laissez-faire, the 1930s a lesson in the corrective potential of activist government. If there are those who dislike his general stance, all can see it interact with his narrative. A yeomanly built time capsule.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393033946
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
09/01/1992
Edition description:
1st ed
Pages:
560
Product dimensions:
6.46(w) x 9.54(h) x 1.41(d)

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