This is the first book to offer a comprehensive look at American life in the 1920s as framed by the aspirations, scandals, and attitudes of the Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover presidencies. In fascinating detail, Goldberg examines how Victorian values were transformed into the freewheeling lifestyle of the Jazz Age and explores the effects of such far-reaching issues as isolationism vs. internationalism, massive immigration, labor-management relations, and the prevalence of big business.
Even as he pierces the era’s claim to being a time of “wonderful nonsense,” Goldberg balances its giddy fads and foibles with a stinging critique of darker and/or significant social issues. From the rise of the Ku Klux Klan to black protests to the Scopes “Monkey Trial,” from bootlegging and Prohibition to the Red Scare, Goldberg shows how the temper of the 1920s shaped the nation’s future. Finally, he poses provocative questions about how mistakes might have been avoided and what consequences ensued.