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Flappers: Six Women of a Dangerous Generation Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Length: 521 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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"Flappers is all good, dirty fun . . . Mackrell is an engaging storyteller with a deceptively light touch . . ."
--Cressida Connolly, Sunday Telegraph

". . . scintillating biography . . . Mackrell is clever at painting the subtly complex picture of these women's lives from giddy high spirits to steadfast obstinacy, from emotional fragility to creative focus and weaving them together against a backdrop that is also writ clear. This enthralling, elegant book conjures up all the glamour and razzmatazz but never flinches from the caverns of pain beneath."
--Caroline Jowett, Daily Express

"It's in the bringing together of these highly diverse women under the 'flapper' umbrella that Mackrell's real genius lies, showing us the relationship between an age and the very different individuals who shone during it."
--Lesley McDowell, The Independent on Sunday

"Mackrell interweaves these intense lives with rich detail of their wider worlds . . . she writes beautifully, peppering her prose with their sly one-liners and her own insights, while maintaining a pace as swift as the exhausting lives she describes . . ."
--Kate Colquhoun, Sunday Express

"Judith Mackrell's group biography of six women of the Roaring Twenties is a terrific read."
--Bel Mooney

--Amanda Foreman, Mail on Sunday

". . .erudite and detailed"
--Nicky Haslam, The Spectator

"Mackrell's study suggests that in their quest for liberty, flappers were sold a bead-covered lemon."
Helen Zaltman, The Observer

". . .hugely entertaining. . . Mackrell has some fascinating stories to tell, and she tells them with compassion and skill. And in bringing these fascinating women back to life, she reminds today's women that our own lives would be very different without the trails their generation blazed." --Anna Carey, Irish Times

"Mackrell's entertaining account concentrates on six of the Twenties raciest women who scandalised London high society."
--Daily Mail

Book Description

Glamorized, mythologized and demonized  - the women of the 1920s prefigured the 1960s in their determination to reinvent the way they lived. Flappers is in part a biography of that restless generation: starting with its first fashionable acts of rebellion just before the Great War, and continuing through to the end of the decade when the Wall Street crash signal led another cataclysmic world change. It focuses on six women who between them exemplified the range and daring of that generation’s spirit. Diana Cooper, Nancy Cunard, Tallulah Bankhead, Zelda Fitzgerald, Josephine Baker and Tamara de Lempicka were far from typical flappers. Although they danced the Charleston, wore fashionable clothes and partied with the rest of their peers, they made themselves prominent among the artists, icons, and heroines of their age. Talented, reckless and wilful, with personalities that transcended their class and background, they re-wrote their destinies in remarkable, entertaining and tragic ways. And between them they blazed the trail of the New Woman around the world.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7815 KB
  • Print Length: 521 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Unabridged edition (23 May 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #92,927 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Not only is this a biography of six women in one - Nancy Cunard, Tallulah Bankhead, Josephine Baker, Diana Cooper, Zelda Fitzgerald and Tamara de Lempicka - it is also a biography of the flapper; the 1920s girls who broke the mould and irreversibly changed the status of women.

Mackrell has chosen six women from very different backgrounds and who lived very different lives, yet who still came to embody - even create - the flapper. I was only previously familiar with the story of Josephine Baker, so there was a lot of wonderful new material for me, and even though I have read a full biography of Josephine there was still fresh information and insight in this brilliantly researched and engagingly written book.

What makes this biography so brilliant is that it is grounded in the shared social history of these women - the culture and attitudes they faced, and the historical events that shaped them such as the shocking tragedies of the First World War and the dislocation felt by so many afterwards, the development of women's rights and the emergence of new popular culture such as the cinema and jazz music. They even had overlapping social circles at times, and Mackrell's recording of these details help give a full picture; the context serves to make the women's stories even more remarkable. Refreshingly, Mackrell is not in thrall to her subject and presents an objective and balanced portrait of the women, showing their flaws, weaknesses and sometimes downright unpleasant personalities alongside their achievements.

Appropriately, being a biography of the flapper, Mackrell details the lives of the women roughly up until the end of the 1920s, mostly coinciding with a peak or turning point in their lives.
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By Lincs Reader TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Jun. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Judith Mackrell is the Guardian's dance critic and is the author of four other books, all non-fiction, and all based around dance.

Flappers, sub-titled 'Six Women of a Dangerous Generation' is a multi-biography. Judith Mackrell follows six women from the 1920s who between them were the faces of this generation.

Diana Cooper, Nancy Cunard, Tallulah Bankhead, Zelda Fitzgerald, Josephine Baker and Tamara de Lempicka were either adored or scorned by the public. They were women who broke the mould, who dared to be different, to be independent and to be noticed.

I was instantly intrigued by the thought of reading about these six women, especially Diana Cooper as her family home; Belvoir Castle is not far away from where I live and I'd also recently read The Secret Rooms by Catherine Bailey which had aroused something of a fascination with the strange, almost dysfunctional Rutland family of Belvoir. Judith Mackrell has cleverly interwoven the six separate stories by only allowing each women two chapters each. Each has one chapter in the first half of the book, and one chapter each in the second. I thought this was an excellent way of keeping the reader's interest in each of the women.

There is no doubt that these six women caused chaos and controversy everywhere that they went. With the exception of Josephine Baker, each of them came from rich and privileged backgrounds and were able to use their contacts to achieve their aims of wealth, fame and, to some extent beauty. Surrounding themselves with the beautiful people of the day, dancing in the fashionable clubs and wearing the highest fashions, these women broke boundaries.
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By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWER on 22 Dec. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Does artistic "genius" in a person evolve from some sort of emotional unbalance? How often do we find those who are acclaimed "geniuses" in artistic matters quite unable to function within the limits placed on them by polite society? Would a Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald or a Tullulah Bankhead - among others - be seen today as anything less than "high maintenance" personalities? In her new book, "Flappers", British author Judith Mackrell takes an engaging at six such women, all who came of age in the 1920's, and writes how that one decade influenced them and how they, in turn, influenced the decade.

Mackrell six subjects are British aristocrats Lady Diana Manners and Nancy Cunard, Russian/Polish painter Tamara de Lempicka, and three Americans; Josephine Baker, Zelda Fitzgerald, and Tullulah Bankhead. She traces their lives and loves prior to the 1920's, but really examines how each, in her own way and through her own artistic instincts, made Paris and London the centers of the new artistic world, with New York close behind.

London's West End was the scene of the American Tallulah Bankhead's earliest theatrical triumph, while British actress Nancy Cunard gained fame on Broadway in New York City.

However, Paris, in 1920, was already being seen as the main new capital of art. Many Americans and Britons had moved there to take advantage of the good financial exchange rate and to steep themselves in the literary and artistic works being produced. American black soldiers from the Great War had stayed in Paris; the racial discrimination faced in France was much less compared to that back home. The European Jazz scene was centered in Paris; those ex-patriot soldiers were a defining influence on the music played.
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