These experts make strong cases, and they satisfy my natural instinct not to go there. But I remain very interested in the reasons the ’20s appeal to our imagination right now. Of course, it’s the booze, the sex, and the parties. But it’s also a decade with a very strong identity—and I think that helps. Writing in the journal American Speech in 1951, Mamie J. Meredith argued that the ’20s boasted
Anyway, let’s get to that fun. A very joyful book to read about the decade is Frederick Lewis Allen’s Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s, which Allen—a blueblood journalist and editor at Harper’s—published in 1931. The book chronicles all of the movement and motion that makes the decade sexy, and doesn’t seem to miss a fad.