If you’re looking for an in-depth look into the 1920s, or are a veteran fan of the era, this is probably not the book for you.
However, if you’ve always had an interest in the era of the Flapper, the history and culture surrounding her, and the events leading up to her emergence into the world, this is an excellent place to start.
Zeitz sets the stage throughout the book, telling of the stuffy Victorian years that lead up to the 1920s, examining the culture that spurred many women to seek change and excitement in their lives, following up by painting a vivid picture of the creation and life of the Flapper, and the eventual downfall of the Jazz Age. He jumps right into the excitement with a few chapters on Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald to grab your interest, then reels back a little to give you the Victorian history that lead up to the conception of the Flapper before jumping back to the 1920s for a new look at our Modern Girls. While it may seem a little disjointed to some, I felt it was a good way of keeping my attention while simultaneously providing me with information vital to understanding the times.
You’ll be introduced to Coco Chanel, Clara Bow, and Louise Brooks, among other famous names, and given brief insight into their background, and how they contributed to the timeless image of the Flapper. While the book does focus quite a bit on the Fitzgeralds, there is still plenty of interesting information on other icons, and is quite the interesting read for those who don’t know much about Zelda and Scott.
I’ll be honest, my education on the 1920s was essentially “there were flappers, and then the depression, the end.” I learned more about American history from this one book than I’ve learned from over fourteen years of school, and it has only increased my hunger for more great historical reads. It has inspired me to look up books that have tighter focus and a more in-depth look at the times, and I feel that it has provided me with a wonderful foundation to continue my studies on the Jazz Age.