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Only Yesterday: Informal Treatment of the 1920s (Wiley Investment Classics) [Paperback]

Frederick Lewis Allen
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

25 Aug 1997 Wiley Investment Classics (Book 12)
Written in 1931, this new installment in the Wiley Investment Classics series offers a well–written historical and anecdotal account of the volatile stock market of the 1920s. It traces the rise of post World War I prosperity up to the crash of 1929 before a colorful backdrop that includes Al Capone, Prohibition, the first radio, and the rise and fall of the skirt length.

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Only Yesterday: Informal Treatment of the 1920s (Wiley Investment Classics) + Once in Golconda: A True Drama of Wall Street 1920-1938: True Drama of Wall Street, 1920-38 (Wiley Investment Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; New edition edition (25 Aug 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471189529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471189527
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14.6 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 698,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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From the Inside Flap

Only Yesterday Hailed as a classic even when it was first published in 1931, Only Yesterday remains one of the most vivid and precise accounts of the volatile stock market and the heady boom years of the 1920’s. A vibrant social history that is unparalleled in scope and accuracy, it artfully depicts the rise of post—World War I prosperity, the catalytic incidents that led to the Crash of 1929, and the devastating economic decline that ensued—all set before a colorful backdrop of flappers, Al Capone, the first radio, and the "scandalous" rise of skirt hemlines. Now, this mesmerizing chronicle is reintroduced to offer readers of today an unforgettable look at one of the most dynamic periods of America’s past. With a novelist’s eye for detail and a historian’s attention to the facts, Frederick Lewis Allen tells a story that will ignite your imagination as its rich pageant of characters and events comes alive. Peppering his narrative with actual stock quotes and financial news, Allen tracks the major economic trends of the decade and explores the underlying causes of the Crash. Here are fresh accounts of Harding’s oil scandals and the growth of the automobile industry, as well as the decline of the family farm, the Coolidge prosperity, and the long bull market of the late twenties. Allen’s virtual hour–by–hour account of the Crash itself, told from multiple perspectives with mounting suspense, is as gripping as anything you are likely to read in fiction. In addition to his power as a storyteller, Allen was a living witness to the events he describes; there is a thrilling you–are–there feeling about the unfolding history. After a brief "return to normalcy" following the War, the pace of life in America quickly escalated to a full gallop. New forces were being unleashed: prosperity with serious inflation, larger–than–life figures such as J. Pierpont Morgan and Henry Ford, and the Big Red Scare of the early twenties. Allen documents the new inventions, fads, and scandals as they affected the daily life of the country, including the impact of Freud and Einstein, Prohibition and Al Capone, Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey, the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti, and the shocking changes in manners and morals. In Only Yesterday we hear America talking to itself from coast to coast, furiously debating its own rapidly evolving destiny. An engaging narrative that describes the harried, often tumultuous events of Wall street in the twenties, as well as the infectious spirit of the times, Only Yesterday is not only a compelling account of years gone by, but a true classic that will be appreciated for years to come.

From the Back Cover

Only Yesterday Hailed as a classic even when it was first published in 1931, Only Yesterday remains one of the most vivid and precise accounts of the volatile stock market and the heady boom years of the 1920′s. A vibrant social history that is unparalleled in scope and accuracy, it artfully depicts the rise of post – World War I prosperity, the catalytic incidents that led to the Crash of 1929, and the devastating economic decline that ensued—all set before a colorful backdrop of flappers, Al Capone, the first radio, and the "scandalous" rise of skirt hemlines. Now, this mesmerizing chronicle is reintroduced to offer readers of today an unforgettable look at one of the most dynamic periods of America′s past. With a novelist′s eye for detail and a historian′s attention to the facts, Frederick Lewis Allen tells a story that will ignite your imagination as its rich pageant of characters and events comes alive. Peppering his narrative with actual stock quotes and financial news, Allen tracks the major economic trends of the decade and explores the underlying causes of the Crash. Here are fresh accounts of Harding′s oil scandals and the growth of the automobile industry, as well as the decline of the family farm, the Coolidge prosperity, and the long bull market of the late twenties. Allen′s virtual hour–by–hour account of the Crash itself, told from multiple perspectives with mounting suspense, is as gripping as anything you are likely to read in fiction. In addition to his power as a storyteller, Allen was a living witness to the events he describes; there is a thrilling you–are–there feeling about the unfolding history. After a brief "return to normalcy" following the War, the pace of life in America quickly escalated to a full gallop. New forces were being unleashed: prosperity with serious inflation, larger–than–life figures such as J. Pierpont Morgan and Henry Ford, and the Big Red Scare of the early twenties. Allen documents the new inventions, fads, and scandals as they affected the daily life of the country, including the impact of Freud and Einstein, Prohibition and Al Capone, Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey, the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti, and the shocking changes in manners and morals. In Only Yesterday we hear America talking to itself from coast to coast, furiously debating its own rapidly evolving destiny. An engaging narrative that describes the harried, often tumultuous events of Wall Street in the twenties, as well as the infectious spirit of the times, Only Yesterday is not only a compelling account of years gone by, but a true classic that will be appreciated for years to come. "When this fascinating social history of America in the 1920′s was first published in 1931, the twenties were indeed Only Yesterday. But, as Mr. Allen makes clear, they were so much more than the clich— would have it. . . . Frederick Allen′s marvelous book brings back an exciting time in the life of the nation. I am quite sure you will enjoy reading it as much as Mr. Allen and I enjoyed living it." —from the Foreword by Roy R. Neuberger. Recognized as a classic even when it was first published in 1931, Only Yesterday is a fascinating and revealing chronicle of the volatile stock market and heady boom years of the 1920′s. Written by an esteemed historian who witnessed firsthand the explosive atmosphere and events of the time, this compelling narrative takes its place as one of the most important and invaluable contributions to investment literature. Acclaim for Only Yesterday "Marvelously absorbing . . . Only Yesterday tells the story of the 1920′s from the collapse of Wilson and the New Freedom to the collapse of Wall Street and the New Era." —Stuart Chase, Books. "A perfectly grand piece of historical record and synthetic journalism." —Fanny Butcher, Chicago Tribune. "A style that is verve itself . . . Besides telling the story of the bull market in fine perspective, Mr. Allen presents the first coherent account that we have seen of the oil scandals that will eventually make the Harding regime match that of President Grant and the Crédit Mobilier story in the history books of the future." —John Chamberlain, The New York Times.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
IF TIME WERE SUDDENLY TO TURN back to the earliest days of the Postwar Decade, and you were to look about you, what would seem strange to you? Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting beyond scholarly purposes 30 July 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I recently finished this work as a prerequisite for Advanced Placement United States History, and although the significantly extensive talk about economics challenged me, it captivated my intellectual curiosity. An excellently written book, it depicts more than oil scandals and an obsession-worthy transatlantic flight, but the psychology of a nation in a period of profound, rapid, and radical change. One finds plenty to laugh about as well, as it is very witty and insightful. The two aspects I found dull or misguiding were the following: 1) The Nicaraguan "situation," as the book calls it, is not well-depicted at all. This is because the book was written barely out of the Twenties; I suppose Allen did not find the subject important enough to discuss in any length above 4 sentences total. Consider Peter Davis's <i> Where is Nicaragua? </i> for a more accurate portrayal of what the U.S. was involved in until 1931 in that country. 2)I am a high school student severely lacking expertise in economics, thus I found the last chapters rather difficult. Other than those two dull areas, this is a great book for those who want to uncover the mindset of the U.S. almost eighty years ago--and have much fun along the way.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating coverage of the "Roaring Twenties" 10 Mar 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
The shame is that many modern history textbooks barely cover some material while diving into other periods of history. As an Advanced Placement United States History student during my junior year in high school (last year), I was given the opportunity to read Allen's work on the 1920s. Allen's journalistic style and thorough coverage of the events during the "Roaring Twenties" made this a fascinating read. The book is so well done that I had to occasionally stop and remind myself that this was written right after the decade addressed--it could have been written in the 1990s! The only major difficulty with this book (a minor one it is) is the explanation of how the stock market crashed (there are many numbers and examples cited), but it IS more thorough than most high school textbooks. What's also nice is that it covered the whole spectrum: politics, social atmosphere, the economy, etc. Many books focus only on one or two. This is a great resource for those who wish to understand what may be one of the most interesting decades of the twentieth century. It's a shame that "Still Yesterday" covering the 1930s is out of print-- it'd hate to miss more of Allen's wonderful work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An invaluable resource! 10 Nov 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
As a historical fiction writer looking for information on "real life" in the 1920's that goes beyond the well-known fads and foibles, I have found this book to be the best resource for such information.
Because it was written soon after the end of the decade, it has an immediacy that I have not found elsewhere.
A must-have for 1920's buffs!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A not so distant mirror... 9 Jan 2011
By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Frederick Lewis Allen's book on the 1920's was first published in 1931. His informal history of this time period has withstood the test of time. He identified and described the major events and trends in that decade, without the benefit of what historians like to call a "decent interval." His writing style is lively, with a keen ability to capture the essence of broad historical trends. Once again, as Faulkner so eloquently said: "The past is not dead; it is not even the past." So many elements of the `20's have parallels today, certainly the economic bubble that burst into the Great Depression, but also the use of foreign "threats" to reduce the constitutional liberties of Americans.

Allen commences his book with the end of the "War to End All Wars," prior to the adding of a "I" after the "World War." Wilson lacked the support of the broad American people for his post-war initiatives, as they had a strong desire to return to "normalcy." Allen's chapter on "The Big Red Scare" is most illuminating, showing how readily government officials could use "fear" to void the Constitution. "It was an era of lawless and disorderly defense of law and order, of unconstitutional defense of the Constitution, of suspicion and civil conflict- in a very real sense, a reign of terror." (p39). "In Hartford, while the suspects were in jail the authorities took the further precaution of arresting and incarcerating all visitors who came to see them, a friendly call being regarded as prima facie evidence of affiliation with the Communist party." (p48). "Innumerable patriotic societies had sprung up... and must conjure up new and ever greater menaces. Innumerable other gentlemen now discovered that they could defeat whatever they wanted to defeat by tarring it conspicuously with the Bolshevist brush...
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