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Download Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s Audiobook, by Frederick Lewis Allen Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (459 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Frederick Lewis Allen Narrator: Grover Gardner Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2006 ISBN: 9781455169375
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Prohibition. Al Capone. The President Harding scandals. The revolution of manners and morals. Black Tuesday. These are only an inkling of the events and figures characterizing the wild, tumultuous era that was the Roaring Twenties. Originally published in 1931, Only Yesterday traces the rise of post–World War I prosperity up to the Wall Street crash of 1929 against a colorful backdrop of jazz, flappers, speakeasies, the first radio, and the scandalous rise of skirt hemlines. In this span between armistice and depression, Americans were kicking up their heels, but they were also bringing about major changes in the social and political structure of their country.

Hailed as an instant classic, this is Frederick Lewis Allen’s vivid and definitive account of one of the twentieth century’s most fascinating decades, chronicling a time of both joy and terror—when dizzying highs were quickly succeeded by heartbreaking lows. It is a fond, witty, penetrating biography of this restless decade—a delightful reminiscence for those who can remember and a fascinating firsthand look for those who have only heard.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A perfectly grand piece of historical record and synthetic journalism.”

    Chicago Daily 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’s and the Crédit Mobilier story in the history books of the future.”

    New York Times

  • “Allen had…the skill to synthesize an immense amount of discrete material, to interpret it with intelligence and without sentimentality, and to write about it with grace, fluidity and wit.”

    Washington Post

  • “Grover Gardner’s reading, with its slightly ironic tone, is effective as he describes the post World War I decade…The quality of the sound is excellent, and the reading is well paced and clear.”

    Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael | 2/2/2014

    " A very engaging history of the twenties written from the perspective of one who had just lived it. I was surprised by the number of parallels between the 1920s and the last decade. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 1/29/2014

    " I would have liked some more specifics about specific people and events, but the book did broaden my exposure to life in the 20s. Well worth a read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kenney | 1/28/2014

    " Another great reference for understanding the rapid societal changes after WWI up to the depression. AS a boatbuilder/restorer, it also helped me to understand the rise of affluence and the accompanying popularity of pleasure boating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Miranda | 1/23/2014

    " Reminded me of why I was a history major in the first place. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ryver | 1/23/2014

    " This is one of my all time favorite books. I've re read it probably 5 or 6 times. This book gives you a real understanding of how many changes happened in the 1920's. Not just from a large "history" type feel, but also from the common man side. The first chapter in this book always grabs me. It starts at Armistice Day 1919 and gives the setting for a common family's day. It lets you know what they are doing and what we all take for granted today didn't even exist yet. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy | 1/20/2014

    " Originally published in 1931, Only Yesterday is an informal, entertaining history of the 1920s--from the end of the Wilson years to the crash of the stock market. The author captures both the fun and the more sinister sides of the Roaring Twenties. He includes chapters on the changing moral and sexual attitudes of the decade, flappers, speakeasies, jazz, and easy credit with which to buy any number of new inventions and applicances. But he also includes the darker side of the decade--the overt racism, the hostility toward immigrants, Prohibition, the rise of the second KKK, Al Capone and the strength of organized crime, plus a look inside the Harding scandals. An easy, entertaining look at one of America's most fascinating decades. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Megan | 1/14/2014

    " Fredrick Allen undertook this informal history of the twenties in 1930 to aide him in grieving the loss of his wife and daughter. This shows in how compassionately and understandingly he writes of a confusing and confounding time. His story begins with a look at how Mr and Mrs Smith lived in 1919 and reflects on what they do not know (radio, prize-fighting, Al Capone, normalcy for starters). Each successive chapter focuses on how one aspect of life changed dramatically. After finishing this book I felt intimately acquainted with Woodrow Wilson, the Labor Movement, Warren G. Harding and his scandals, Lindbergh, Coral Gables, and all that jazz of the twenties. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian | 1/13/2014

    " Written in the early 30's, this retrospective of the 20's is an incredibly enjoyable book that has aged well and gives you a real feeling for the era. The chapters on the Red Scare and on prohibition are particularly vivid. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Professor | 12/28/2013

    " Great first hand overview of the 1920s from a day to day perspective. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ja | 12/25/2013

    " Not worthy of the hype. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 fleegan | 12/16/2013

    " I love history, but this book was really boring. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Carol | 12/15/2013

    " I confess I didn't finish this. It was just too boring. If the 1920s had been as yawn-inducing as this book, I would have been throwing myself off a window ledge well before the stock market crash in '29. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 12/1/2013

    " Written in the 30s, this short history is a vivid picture of life in the preceding decade. Who knew that there'd been a Red Scare before the 50s, that labor unrest was at an all-time high and Sedition acts could get American citizens deported for crossing the wrong party lines? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicole G. | 11/20/2013

    " A contemporary history of the 1920s - the presidential campaigns, the styles, and of the course, the stock market. Published in the 1930s, it's very engaging and written in a modern style. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Wanda | 4/26/2013

    " Dated prose. I understood that this was a short history, but I got to where I felt as though I was reading Cliff Notes. Too truncated with insufficient context. Not my cup of tea and I LOVE history. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Alyssa | 3/31/2012

    " I only have to read 5 chapters of this book and then write what I learned about the 20s from it. I'll most likely read all of it though. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melissa | 12/30/2011

    " I'm not very far in but am excited to read about an era of American history that I've only nominally been interested in. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mandy Anderson | 11/16/2011

    " Eerily resembles today's financial mess. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jacki | 2/15/2011

    " Interesting account of the "roaring twenties" from the speakeasy's to the big crash. The author wrote the book in the early '30's, thus, the evidence of firsthand experience to lend credence to the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian | 12/9/2010

    " Written in the early 30's, this retrospective of the 20's is an incredibly enjoyable book that has aged well and gives you a real feeling for the era. The chapters on the Red Scare and on prohibition are particularly vivid. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jenna | 3/7/2010

    " An very readable history of the 1920s; something of a classic. It would be interesting to read against newer histories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kenney | 2/10/2010

    " Another great reference for understanding the rapid societal changes after WWI up to the depression. AS a boatbuilder/restorer, it also helped me to understand the rise of affluence and the accompanying popularity of pleasure boating. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah | 8/3/2009

    " Writing my review way after first reading it because I'm reading it again. The best thing about this book is it is historical without being dry. Also, it was written by a contemporary, so you are hearing from someone who lived through all of it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jan C | 7/11/2009

    " I read this originally in high school. But I did re-read it a number of times over the years.

    It is very readable.

    It also has a lot of statistics. So it kinds of puts everything into context. "

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About the Author

Frederick Lewis Allen (1890–1954) was born in Boston and graduated from Harvard in 1912. He served on the editorial staffs of the Atlantic Monthly and Century magazines and was editor-in-chief of Harper’s magazine from 1941 until his death.

About the Narrator

Grover Gardner (a.k.a. Tom Parker) is an award-winning narrator with over eight hundred titles to his credit. Named one of the “Best Voices of the Century” and a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, he has won three prestigious Audie Awards, was chosen Narrator of the Year for 2005 by Publishers Weekly, and has earned more than thirty Earphones Awards.