Daily Life in the United States, 1920-1939: Decades of Promise and Pain

Overview

During the 1920s and 1930s, changes in the American population, increasing urbanization, and innovations in technology exerted major influences on the daily lives of ordinary people. Explore how everyday living changed during these years when use of automobiles and home electrification first became commonplace, when radio emerged, and when cinema, with the addition of sound, became broadly popular. Find out how worklife, domestic life, and leisure-time activities were affected by these factors as well as by the ...

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Overview

During the 1920s and 1930s, changes in the American population, increasing urbanization, and innovations in technology exerted major influences on the daily lives of ordinary people. Explore how everyday living changed during these years when use of automobiles and home electrification first became commonplace, when radio emerged, and when cinema, with the addition of sound, became broadly popular. Find out how worklife, domestic life, and leisure-time activities were affected by these factors as well as by the politics of the time. Details of matters such as the creation of the pickup truck, the development of radio programming, and the first mass use of cosmetics provide an enjoyable read that brings the period clearly into focus.

Centering its attention on the broad masses of the population, this animated reference resource emphasizes the wide variety of experiences of people living through The Roaring Twenties and The Great Depression. Readers will be surprised to discover that some of the assumptions we have about the lives of average Americans during these eras are historically inaccurate. A final chapter provides a unique look at six American communities and gives a vivid sense of the diversity of American experience over the course of these tumultuous years.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

DAVID E. KYVIG is Presidential Research Professor and Professor of History at Northern Illinois University. He is the author of Explicit and Authentic Acts: Amending the U.S. Constitution (winner of the 1997 Bancroft Prize) and the editor of Unintended Consequences of Constitutional Amendment (2000), Reagan and the World (Praeger, 1990) and New Day/New Deal: A Bibliography of the Great American Depression, 1929-1941 (Greenwood, 1988).

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Table of Contents

Preface
1 The Circumstances of American Life in 1920 1
2 Automobiles and the Construction of Daily Life 21
3 Electricity and the Conditions of Daily Life 43
4 Radio and the Connecting of Daily Lives 59
5 Cinema and the Extension of Experience 77
6 Carrying on Day by Day: Life's Basics 91
7 Carrying on Year to Year: Making a Life 113
8 Conflict, Crime, and Catastrophe: The Disruptions of Daily Life 139
9 Culture for the Masses: The Standardizing of Daily Life 159
10 Crisis: The Impact of the Great Depression 177
11 Creating the New Deal: A Larger Role for Government in Daily Life 195
12 Continuity and Change: America at the End of the 1930s 217
For Further Reading 253
Index 261
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