East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

The ’20s – building a reading list


I need your help to build a reading list of history books about the 1920s.
Now, let me explain…
I was told, back when I was in the Air Farce, that we cannot learn anything from history, and that history is just a collection of facts put together by the victors, and has no value.
I do not think so. I did not think so back then, and I do not think so now.

I have been joking about the fact that in a few days the ’20s will be here again: flappers, charleston & foxtrot, and adventure await…
That’s what we normally associate to the ’20s – The Great Gatsby and all that.
But the ’20s also saw the rise of populism and totalitarianism (read the news, recently?), social and financial crisis and the headlong rush towards yet another war.

So I decided I’ll put together a reading list about the 1920s, to see if something can be learned from history, and to be prepared – and what the heck, it could always serve as research for future stories.

So I went to Amazon – after all, the best search engine for books out there – did some research and jotted down a few titles. The problem is, the best search engine for books out there is not so good after all – I kept coming up with pages and pages of cozy mysteries and reprints of Fitzgerald.

So, I am asking for help I am looking, right now, for general non-fiction history books about the ’20s. There’s a lot of very specific stuff – like unsolved crimes of the ’20s, fashion of the ’20s, cocktails of the ’20s, leisure in the ’20s, MI5 and espionage in the ’20s…
I’ll save those for later.
Right now, I’m looking for starting points, and general overviews.

I got a copy of When Paris Sizzled: The 1920s Paris of Hemingway, Chanel, Cocteau, Cole Porter, Josephine Baker, and Their Friends, by Mary McAuliffe as a gift for Christmas, and I’ll start from there.
Because I’ve have it here, and because it came for free.

I’ve also on my list

  • Anything Goes: A Biography of the Roaring Twenties, di Lucy Moore
  • Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920’s, di Frederick Lewis Allen

I am looking for more suggestions.
So if you have any idea, any book you found useful or interesting, please write it in the comments.
Help me build this to-read list.
Thank you!

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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