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October 29 , 2009

The Modern Temper

American Culture and Society in the 1920s


When most of us take a backward glance at the 1920s, we may think of prohibition and the jazz age, of movies stars and flappers, of Harold Lloyd and Mary Pickford, of Lindbergh and Hoover – and of Black Friday, October 29, 1929, when the plunging stock market ushered in the great depression.

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But the 1920s were much more. Lynn Dumenil brings a fresh interpretation to a dramatic, important, and misunderstood decade. As her lively work makes clear, changing values brought an end to the repressive Victorian era; urban liberalism emerged; the federal bureaucracy was expanded; pluralism became increasingly important to America's heterogeneous society; and different religious, ethnic, and cultural groups encountered the homogenizing force of a powerful mass-consumer culture. The Modern Temper brings these many developments into sharp focus.

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