Anything Goes.

Position:Book review

Lucy Moore (author); ANYTHING GOES; The Overlook Press (History) $25.95 ISBN: 9781590203132

Crime and rebellion characterized life for many of the downtrodden in the 1920s' US, while the elite lived high on booze and luxury. Known as the Jazz Age, this fascinating post-war era of Prohibition and flappers, frivolity and instant gratification, has mesmerized historians throughout the world.

After the devastating events of World War I, a traumatized public encountered a supercharged economy that turned out more goods than could be consumed. Struggling citizens wondered where they fit in, while wealthy, class-conscious entrepreneurs enjoyed their glory days. A prolific interlude of artistic achievement in film, literature, and music, the Roaring Twenties is perhaps the most important decade of the American twentieth century.

Lucy Moore's enlightening, well-researched biography of the 1920s will appeal to scholars as well as a general audience. Filled with attention-grabbing details that many historians neglect and a wide range of subjects--from celebrities like Charlie Chaplin and Bessie Smith to political corruption and social upheaval--Anything Goes will not disappoint readers, no matter their educational background.

Much of Moore's success lies in her selection of topics--and the 1920s gives her plenty to choose from: organized crime, racial unrest, an...

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