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

Paperback (Print)
Rent from
(Save 67%)
Est. Return Date: 07/21/2015
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 92%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (20) from $1.99   
  • New (8) from $19.71   
  • Used (12) from $1.99   


"Impressively detailed. . . . An authoritative and epic overview."—Publishers Weekly
In the convulsive years between 1920 and 941, 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 is was also a time of grave social conflict and human suffering.
The Crash forced Hoover, and then Roosevelt and the nation, to reexamine old solutions and address pressing questions of recovery and reform, economic growth and social justice. The world beyond America changed also in these years, making the country rethink its relation to events in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. The illusion of superiority slowly died in the 1930s, sustaining a fatal blow in December 1941 at Pearl Harbor.

Read More Show Less

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.
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 (
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393311341
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/28/1994
  • Series: Norton Twentieth Century America Ser.
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 483,383
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael E. Parrish teaches twentieth-century American history at the University of California, San Diego, and is the author of two previous books.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)