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Terrible Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the 1920s Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 606 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reprint edition (January 31, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374524629
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374524623
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,063,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

While Hemingway, Stein, Fitzgerald et al. were finding Paris a movable feast, for hundreds of other American artists, writers and musicians who remained at home, Manhattan in the 1920s was a kind of Roman candle hurtling into hyperborean space, its glitter and energy sparking a decade of creativity. And though the expatriates were mining established European cultures, for them, too, Manhattan was their defining center, whether escaping or embracing it. This book is a cornucopia of anecdote and commentary on some 120 stars of the Jazz Age. Douglas (The Feminization of American Culture) devotes considerable attention to the city's impact on the legendary black musicians and theirs on it; to its architectural ebullience; and above all to the literary and publishing mavens who worshipped the integrity of the word-the "terrible honesty" of her title. This is a sprawling, erudite, provocative study of an expanding artistic universe that crashed with the Depression and, like it, left a powerful imprint on the American consciousness. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Douglas (The Feminization of American Culture, 1978) here concentrates on Manhattan in the 1920s, with an emphasis on the Harlem Renaissance. More than just a portait of New York in the Jazz Age, this work is a social and intellectual history of the United States. It covers American literature, music, and architecture and discusses the influences of Freud, William James, and matriarchy on early 20th-century thought. Exhaustively researched, the narrative introduces a large cast of protagonists and features lots of anecdotes, plot summaries, and discussion of popular music. Douglas shows how the intellectual life of one city in one decade was such an important part of American cultural history. For informed lay readers and scholars generally.
Gary Williams, Southeastern Ohio Regional Lib., Caldwell
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By S. Henkels VINE VOICE on January 30, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't know why this awesome book has negative reviews here. It is a little difficult true. But for a New Yorkphile, like me, it can't be beat, if you want to know New York in the 1920's, and to a lesser degree the nation. All the familiar names are covered: Scott and Zelda, Woolcott, Parker, Gerstein Stein, Freud,Jazz and Ellington among many others. New York as a huge rush for outsiders from their first sight. The skyscraper boom, and builders and architects. The movie industry.The extreme dangers of transatlantic flights, and coast to coast mail deliveries. The Harlem Renaissance, basically the city as a reinventing, percolating tornado.FDR, Damon Runyan,Irving Berlin,WEB Dubois,Singing the Blues, Mary Pickford, Babe Ruth, Jimmy Walker (the fun loving mayor with questionable morals)the Great White Way, the Cotton Club...It is just about an endless ride thru this great town in the 1920's and beyond, including the aftershock of the 1930's...Sometimes a little difficult, but you can browse through the index too and find hundreds of worthy subjects to check out...One of the best journeys through a time and place that I know!! Also with some interesting photos too.
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By Dr. Pj Tregear on February 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What can I say--this is the kind of history writing that leaves you in awe of the scholarship and artistry behind it. The range and depth of topics and personae covered is remarkable--and at all times it remains a wonderfully enjoyable read.
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8 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
Remarkable book. My only complaint is that sometimes the details become overwhelming and the book loses its focus. That seems to be the product of its (maybe overly) ambitious scope. It bites off a lot but it also delivers a lot.
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