When the World Broke in Two
The Roaring Twenties and the Dawn of America’s Culture Wars
by Erica J. Ryan
September 2018, 204pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-4224-5
$37, 31€, A53
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-4225-2
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Scholars often look to the turbulent 1960s to find the roots of contemporary social and political issues, but their beginnings may be traced to decades before that.

This comprehensive history of America in the 1920s presents the decade’s most compelling controversies as precursors to today’s culture wars.

Americans have been embroiled in debate over culturally significant issues including race and immigration, gender and sexuality, and morality and religion for decades. American culture as we know it is an amalgamation of generations of Americans’ voices in these national debates, many of which began in the 1920s.

This book provides a detailed account of 1920s America within the context of these issues. The first on its subject written by a historian in almost 20 years, it offers a fresh perspective of America during the Roaring Twenties and on the history of the very same social and political battles we struggle with today.

Useful for students and history enthusiasts alike, this work gives readers a holistic view of a popular decade and encourages discussion about its continued relevance to modern society. Other important topics covered include city values versus rural values, creationism versus evolutionism, the modern woman, and Prohibition.


  • Offers a compelling historical overview of American culture in a popular decade
  • Insightfully argues for moving the starting point of contemporary cultural conflicts back to the 1920s
  • Provides relevant political information on red states and blue states, immigration reform, the war on drugs and mass incarceration, the politics of women’s bodies, and the Religious Right
  • Includes an epilogue that makes clear connections between the culture wars of the 1920s and issues we continue to debate today
Erica J. Ryan, PhD, is associate professor of history at Rider University. She is author of Red War on the Family: Sex, Gender, and Americanism in the First Red Scare. She has published essays in Encyclopedia of the Jazz Age: 1918–1929 and written book reviews for History: Review of New Books, Archives of Sexual Behavior and the scholarly website Women and Social Movements in the United States.
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Accept All Cookies | Decline.