Jazz Age
People and Perspectives
by Mitchell Newton-Matza, Editor
July 2009, 246pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-59884-033-9
$94, £70, 79€, A135
eBook Available: 978-1-59884-034-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Flappers, speakeasies, and pulse-pounding music. Prohibition, the Red Scare, and radio evangelism. The period between World War I and the Great Depression in the United States was one of significant contradictions. But was the Jazz Age an unforeseen eruption of liberal and conservative America or a development long in the making? And beyond the headlines, how were these volatile times experienced by everyday citizens?

A collection of essays encompassing a wide variety of topics, people, and events that embodied the Jazz Age, both familiar and obscure.

This volume in ABC-CLIO’s social history series, People and Perspectives, looks at one of the most vibrant eras in U.S. history, a decade when American life was utterly transformed, often veering from freewheeling to fearful, from liberated to repressed.

What did it mean to live through the Jazz Age? To answer this and other important questions, the volume broadens the spotlight from famous figures to cover everyday citizens whose lives were impacted by the times, including women and children, African Americans, rural Americans, immigrants, artists, and more. Chapters explore a wide range of topics beyond the music that came to symbolize the era, such as marriage, religion, consumerism, art and literature, fashion, the workplace, and more—the full cultural landscape of an extraordinary, if short-lived, moment in the life of a nation.


  • Written by experts from a variety of fields including history, music, literature, African American studies, and religious studies
  • Includes an extensive chronology of the defining moments of the Jazz Age from the worlds of politics, society and culture, the arts, business, and more
Mitchell Newton-Matza is an instructor at Westwood College, DuPage, IL. His published works include Intelligent and Honest Radicals: The Chicago Federation of Labor and the Illinois Legal System: 1919–1933.


"Well executed and balanced, this covers a brief but important period in America's history; most suitable for undergraduate academic and high school libraries."—Library Journal, October 1, 2009

"The book provides an interesting and informative view of one of the most singular periods in American history and goes well beyond the flappers and speakeasies so commonly associated with the era."—Reference & Research Book News, November 1, 2009

". . . this book portrays in rich, engaging detail many of the complex aspects of this decade. The introduction is especially well written and useful with its explanation of the phrase 'Jazz Age,' its perspectives on the historical setting and complex contradictions of the decade, and its elucidation of how the activities and cultural life of the 1920s evolved into the Great Depression in the US and the war that followed. . . . This volume would be especially useful for a college or upper-level high school student in need of a broad overview of the period. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and general readers."—Choice, January 1, 2010

"Libraries whose collections must provide supplementary material for twentieth-century American history courses will find this book of value."—ARBAonline, October 1, 2009

"Both music and social issues history libraries will find this a fine reader, packed with analysis of a popular form of music that continues to impact society to this day."—Midwest Book Review, April 1, 2010

"Recommended."—Library Media Connection, May 1, 2010
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