Now in paperback, this is an exhilarating portrait of the era of invention, glamour and excess from one of the brightest young stars of mainstream history writing. 'It was a decade that absolutely fizzed - and Lucy Moore has produced an absolutely fizzing book to match her subject. I could not put it down... The most entertaining work of history you are likely to read in a long while.' A. N. Wilson
Lucy Moore was born in 1970 and educated in Britain and the US before reading history at Edinburgh. Voted one of the 'top twenty young writers in Britain' by the Independent on Sunday in 2001, her books include the bestselling Maharanis: The Lives & Times of Three Generations of Indian Princesses (Viking, 2004) and the acclaimed Liberty: The Lives and Times of Six Women in Revolutionary France (HarperCollins, 2006).
Does Moore (Liberty: The Lives and Times of Six Women in Revolutionary France) want to be the next Christopher Hibbert? Hibbert, who died in 2008, wrote seemingly effortless studies of all manner of people, places, and eras-all elegantly accessible, meticulously researched books. Readers used to his high standards for popular history-and anyone who knows anything about the 1920s-will be disappointed by Moore's book. It amounts to a portrait of the era, chiefly in America, as it could have been written decades ago: there's F. Scott Fitzgerald and the ex-pat Murphys, Al Capone, the Algonquin Roundtable, Sacco and Vanzetti, a one-dimensional Warren Harding, the Scopes trial, and a Hollywood rife with scandal and apparently oblivious to any struggle over the use of sound in film. You'll hope in vain for Moore to demonstrate some special expertise, but 1920s MGM icon John Gilbert's one unindexed presence as "Jack Gilbert" with no apparent awareness by Moore of whom she's speaking is emblematic of her shallow knowledge. Any of these topics, plus the many that Moore excludes, get better treatment elsewhere. VERDICT Perhaps middle or high school students or general readers first embarking on the era will appreciate this. Others should pass.-Margaret Heilbrun, Library Journal Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
"'It was a decade that absolutely fizzed - and Lucy Moore has produced an absolutely fizzing book to match her subject. I could not put it down... The most entertaining work of history you are likely to read in a long while.' A. N. Wilson 'A varied and dazzling portrait gallery of crooks and film stars, boxers and presidents, each brilliantly delineated and coloured in by a historian with a novelist's relish for human foibles.' Christopher Hart, Sunday Times 'Eminently readable... A sparkling collection of the anecdotes and personalities that defined the roaring Twenties... Fascinating.' Jennifer O'Connell, Sunday Business Post 'Zestful... A delightful canter through the history of America in the 1920s' Sunday Times Books of the Year 'Like the champagne-immersed age she portrays, Moore's book effervesces with the detail of this fascinating story.' Juliet Nicolson, Evening Standard"
Quickstepping over the surface of the 1920s, a high-octane and high-speed decade that F. Scott Fitzgerald christened the Jazz Age, U.K. writer Moore (Maharinis) emphasizes that the 1920s was a time a lot like our recent past. Moore approaches her material thematically more than chronologically, centering on the usual 1920s icons, from Al Capone to flappers, which permits her to examine how revolutionary a period it was, despite the narrower materialistic pursuits. Anthropologists like Margaret Mead redefined traditional roles as mere social constructs. It was the age of cigarettes, drugs, and newly liberated flappers; of Carl Van Vechten and Langston Hughes combating rampant racism; of liberated Hollywood women Mary Pickford and Gloria Swanson as well as Charlie Chaplin and the even-more scandalous "Fatty" Arbuckle; of xenophobia cheek by jowl with the urbanity of the New Yorker and the Algonquin Round Table. It was the age of Lindbergh and flight and of the less heroic automobile. This illicit-booze-fueled decade of conspicuous consumption came down with a crash in 1929, and Fitzgerald wrote elegiacally, "we will never feel quite so intensely about our surroundings any more." This lightweight survey is best suited for readers not deeply familiar with this much revisited decade. (Mar. 11) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.