A history of roaring prosperity—and economic cataclysm: “The one account of America in the 1920s against which all others must be measured” (The Washington Post).
Beginning November 11, 1918, when President Woodrow Wilson declared the end of World War I in a letter to the American public, and continuing through his defeat, Prohibition, the Big Red Scare, the rise of women’s hemlines, and the stock market crash of 1929, Only Yesterday, published just two years after the crash, chronicles a decade like no other. Allen, who witnessed firsthand the events he describes, immerses you in the era of flappers, speakeasies, and early radio, making you feel like part of history as it unfolds.
This bestselling, enduring account brings to life towering historical figures including J. Pierpont Morgan, Henry Ford, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, Al Capone, Babe Ruth, and Jack Dempsey. Allen provides insightful, in-depth analyses of President Warren G. Harding’s oil scandal, the growth of the auto industry, the decline of the family farm, and the long bull market of the late twenties. Peppering his narrative with actual stock quotes and breaking financial news, Allen tracks the major economic trends of the decade and explores the underlying causes of the crash. From the trial of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti to the inventions, crazes, and revolutions of the day, this timeless work will continue to be savored for generations to come.
“A perfectly grand piece of historical record and journalism.” —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 Credit Mobiler story in the history books of the future.” —The New York Times
“Rereading it for the first time in at least four decades, I am struck—in all cases favorably—by several aspects of it: the acuity of Allen’s judgments, whether of people or events or larger developments and trends; his ability to discriminate between what is important and what is not; his willingness to present differing points of view fairly, and his refusal (at a time when this was all too uncommon . . .) to stomach prejudice in any form; and, most of all, the degree to which his book has retained its freshness and pertinence over all these years. . . . It is nothing less than extraordinary for a work of popular history, written in the heat of the moment, to have faded so little in more than 75 years.” —The Washington Post
Frederick Lewis Allen (1890–1954) was born in Boston, studied at Groton, and graduated from Harvard in 1912. He was assistant and associate editor of Harper’s Magazine for eighteen years, then the magazine’s sixth editor in chief for twelve years until his death. In addition to The Lords of Creation, Allen was well known for Only Yesterday, Since Yesterday, and The Big Change.