- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Pegasus Books; 1 edition (May 15, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1605987727
- ISBN-13: 978-1605987729
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #834,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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1920: The Year that Made the Decade Roar 1st Edition
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“Lively. Burns convincingly dispels a number of popular beliefs, including the idea that the 'ignoble experiment' of Prohibition was solely responsible for the birth of organized crime in America. He also finds parallels with many issues and 'civil wrongs' still running through our landscape: terrorism, immigration, women's rights, political corruption, and tabloid culture.” (The New York Times Book Review)
“Burns’s territory stretches far and wide across the realms of politics, Prohibition, pop culture and more: communists, suffragettes, Teapot Dome, birth control, the radio. He skillfully builds portraits of such figures as con artist Charles Ponzi, Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger and crusading U.S. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer. He brings to light events that have probably received scarce attention in standard school curricula. An eminently readable, informative book.” (The Washington Post)
“Burns builds upon existing scholarship to explain the significance of this one year in an accessible way for non-academic readers.” (Choice)
“Covers one of the most dynamic periods of American history. A fine review of the new kinds of power emerging among women and minorities of the times, and the concurrent events that made the 1920s so significant.” (Midwest Book Review)
“A thorough tour of the upheavals and events of the year when ‘the Roaring Twenties first began to roar.’ An entertaining and informative look at a pivotal period. Burns makes it possible to recognize the century to come in this intimate study of a single year, and the result is downright fascinating.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“In picking the one that set off the fabled Roaring Twenties, former NBC correspondent and 'Fox News Watch' host Eric Burns has really hit the mother lode. Like all good writers, though, Burns does not allow the confines of his chosen year to be a straitjacket. Burns shines a valuable light on the beginnings of domestic terrorism in the United States, a too little remembered chapter in our history, which continues to resonate.” (The Washingtonian)
“In a fascinating work about a remarkable year, former NBC News correspondent Burns shows us what put the roar in the Roaring '20s. Burns follows it all with verve. In this delightfully readable book, the author expertly shows how those affected by the Great War linked together, nourished each other and really did change the world.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“Burns delivers history with flair and vividness.” (The Wall Street Journal)
“A roaring read, a thorough and thoughtful appraisal of a single year in our past and all its implications for our future.” (BookReporter)
“Burns proves that a year can hold a reader's attention and then some, with the year bringing on the fiasco that was Prohibition, jazz, the beginning and end of Ponzi's great scheme, and so much more. People with such characters as Marcus Garvey, William James, Dorothy Parker, Louis Armstrong, and Warren G. Harding, and with such events as the first-ever broadcast of presidential elections, Agatha Christie publishing her first book, and the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution being passed, 1920 makes history vibrant, exciting and palpably important. Entertaining and highly readable.” (Booklist)
“A work of genuine historical research, colorful personality, intellectual sophistication, heft, and durable interest.” (Vanity Fair)
“Extremely readable. Burns’s vigorous narrative is rich in genuinely engaging anecdote. He so clearly appreciates history’s sweep.” (The Los Angeles Times)
About the Author
Eric Burns is a former correspondent for NBC News and the TODAY Show. For ten years he was the host of the top-rated “Fox News Watch,” and he has won an Emmy for media criticism. He is the author of The Golden Lad: The Haunting Story of Quentin and Theodore Roosevelt, 1920: The Year that Made the Decade Roar, a Kirkus "Best Book of the Year," Infamous Scribblers, The Spirits of America, and The Smoke of the Gods, and the latter two were named “Best of the Best” by the American Library Association. Eric lives in Westport, Connecticut.
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Top Customer Reviews
American author Eric Burns examines the year 1920 in his new social history, "1920: The Year that Made the Decade Roar". Though mainly looking at the year in the United States, he devotes a bit of time to other countries, too. He starts his book by recounting a shocking event on September 16, 1920 when a horse and cart, filled with explosives, was seen sitting on Wall Street in NYC, in front of the JP Morgan bank. At about noon, the cart exploded, and 38 people (and the horse) were blown to kingdom come. Scores more were injured. Who planted the bomb? Burns takes that terrorist attack - certainly a continuation of several bombings in 1919, if not by the same groups - and unfolds the story of the past few years and moves into the next few. But 1920 was the "fulcrum" year.
Women got the vote in 1920 with the passing of the 19th Amendment, while alcoholic drinking was legally prohibited the same year. The 18th Amendment - or the Volstead Act - may have "legally" stopped the production (and governmental taxation) of liquor, but it sure didn't stop the illegal consumption of the "hooch" and other homemade alcoholic products. Thousands died consuming the stuff in the 13 years of Prohibition. In the end, of course, the lack of legal revenue from taxation and the realisation that prohibiting liquor was in no way going to stop the demand of it.
These events and people are just a few Eric Burns writes about in his lively book. It's a great book for readers who want to put the pieces of the times together.
was the worst one I have read.
Title should have been "1920 Social Issues", everything seemed to be presented
in a talk down negative let me show you the bad side.
The last two chapters were (to me) unreadable , I tossed the book learning
very little positive stuff about 1920,
There were some good parts but to few to justify his version of the
The Year That Made The Decade Roar.
Read expecting disappointment and be pleasantly surprised when
you find a positive informative tid bit.
Burns never digs deeper than comfortable liberal pieties allow: every successful businessperson is a “robber baron,” every immigrant either an exploited victim or a romantic anarchist. Woodrow Wilson is a martyred hero, too good for his country (no mention of his police state tendencies or abject racism), while Harding is at best a buffoon, at worst corrupt. I could go on; his approach is predictable, his analysis wafer thin, and his condescending attitude at times insufferable, no moreso than when he takes a gratuitous cheap shot at Paul Johnson, a brilliant historian of considerably more learning, breadth and wisdom than Burns.
The chapters on Ponzi and his schemes keep one’s interest, and the author does occasionally turn a phrase that brings a smile, but, in the end, I can’t really recommend this book. Smug, shallow and condescending are not really the most enlightening ways to do history.