Theodore Roosevelt: A Life; FDR: An Intimate History; etc.) quite eloquently illuminates the United States as it existe"/>

NEW WORLD COMING: The 1920s and the Making of Modern America

Nathan Miller, Author . Scribner/Drew $30 (448p) ISBN 978-0-684-85295-9

Miller (Theodore Roosevelt: A Life; FDR: An Intimate History; etc.) quite eloquently illuminates the United States as it existed under presidents Harding, Coolidge and Hoover, using the life of F. Scott Fitzgerald, with all its peaks and valleys during the 1920s, as the backbone of his narrative. But Miller's book is much more complex than a mere discussion of Fitzgerald or such related phenomena as the Lost Generation and the Jazz Age. In addition to events in the arts and sciences, Miller details bitter labor struggles, the rise of the reconstituted Ku Klux Klan and Prohibition. Woven into this text are vivid portrayals of such personalities as H.L. Mencken (who coined the famous phrase, "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people") and the young, relatively unknown Franklin Roosevelt, dealing with the onset of polio. Miller's provocative prose dovetails such notables as Al Capone, evangelist Billy Sunday, birth-control advocate Margaret Sanger and aviator Charles Lindbergh. In addition to personalities, Miller is also keen to depict key trends and events, and, where appropriate, he notes them as distant mirrors of our own age. This is particularly Miller's ambition when it comes to the rampant stock market speculation of the 1920s and such corporate scandals as the Teapot Dome affair. In sum, this volume comprises an excellent chronicle of that turbulent, troubled and tempestuous decade called "the roaring '20s." Photos not seen by PW. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 06/30/2003
Release date: 08/01/2003
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