Saturday, January 5, 2008


This review was published in the 2007 Sophisticate:

In Flapper, a Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, and the Women Who Made America Modern, Joshua Zeitz has the reader walk a mile in the satin dancing slippers of these revolutionaries. Zelda Fitzgerald disobeyed her Lie-Still-and-Think-of-the-Empire Victorian mother, and her husband Scott made her a trend-setter. Lois Long (a.k.a. “Lipstick”) held New Yorkers in thrall. Coco Chanel made clothes that made women stronger. Clara Bow and Louise Brooks cast a spell on the country’s new crop of working women with their own money to spend.

Zeitz paints a picture as compelling as a cupid’s bow of the cultural tensions these women embodied-—and the reactions of those who frowned on their free thinking and excessive drinking. Learn how Christian fundamentalists began their crusades, and what the KKK did to flappers. Read what long-suffering suffragettes had to say about this new generation who took their “sex rights” too far. Admire the energy of the era’s movers and shakers, and ride the shock waves sent forth by music, science research, technology and cinema. Appreciate these fun-loving girls (who became the sassy wives of the 1930s and strong matrons of the 1940s) for knowingly and unknowingly pioneering the privileges we all now take completely for granted.

But whatever you do, make sure to read this book before Gatsby!

Kristen Caven

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