For me, the 1920s are the cat’s pyjamas. Those dapper sheiks and their swank flappers, drinking giggle water and doing the Charleston to hot jazz in some ritzy speakeasy. It almost makes me wish I had grown up in that era, and how!
Did I go too far with the slang? (We do have books to help you out with some of those words, if you’re interested ;). The era just seems so fascinating I go a bit overboard. Regardless, if you’re interested in learning more about the decade that gave us the Scopes Monkey Trial, the Harlem Renaissance, and some of the greatest works of the Lost Generation, check out one of these items. They’re the bee’s knees! (Okay, I’ll stop.)
1929 by Frederick Turner – A fictional account of the life of jazz great Bix Beiderbecke
7000 Clams by Irby Lee – A bootlegger, a big score, and Babe Ruth
The Bad Behavior of Belle Cantrell by Loraine Depres – A young widow, a rebellious streak, 1920.
Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold – Magic, illusion, and a stunt starring President Harding
China Star by Bartle Bull – Intrigue, adventure, and romance from Paris to Shanghai
Fire in Beulah by Rilla Askew – A fictional account of the Tulsa Race Riots of 1921
Gatsby’s Girl by Caroline Preston – Fictional account of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first love
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Money, love and jealousy collide in high society
Hollywood: A Novel of the 1920s by Gore Vidal – Politics, scandal, and the early silver screen
Jazz by Toni Morrison – Love and tragedy set against the rhythm of 1920s Harlem
The Jazz Bird by Craig Holden – Prohibition and murder, based on a real 1927 trial
One Sunday Morning by Amy Ephron – Four women witness a possible society scandal
Sea Glass by Anita Shreve – Marriage, memory and 1929.
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway – The “Lost Generation” in France and Spain after WWI.
The Tropic of Capricorn by Henry Miller – Miller’s 1920’s life in New York (with lots of sex).
When Washington Was in Vogue: A Love Story (Lost Novel of the Harlem Renaissance) by Edward Christopher Williams – Davy, observant of others but oblivious of himself, finds love
Anything Goes: A Biography of the Roaring Twenties by Lucy Moore
The Bobbed Haired Bandit: A True Story of Crime and Celebrity in 1920s New York by Stephen Duncombe
The Dark Lover: The Life and Death of Rudolph Valentino by Emily Wortis Leider
A Flame of Pure Fire: Jack Dempsey and the Roaring ’20s by Roger Kahn
The Great Swim by Gavin Mortimer – The stories of four women who swam the English Channel
Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the Nineteen Twenties by Frederick Lewis Allen
The Roaring Twenties by Phillip Margulies
Whispering Wires: The Tragic Tale of an American Bootlegger by Philip Metcalfe
John Carroll University – Harlem Renaissance
Ohio State University – Temperance and Prohibition
Filmsite.org – Film History of the 1920s