Book Review: Flapper

Image description: The cover features a black and white photo of four feminine figures in various 1920’s outfits posed in front of a ’20s car. The text of subtitle, title, and author reads “A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, and the Women Who Made America Modern, Flapper, Joshua Zeitz.” The cover has worn markings from where a used book sticker was placed over the cover and the Blog Mistress attempted to scrub it off but failed. (Blog Mistress still uppity.) The book is held up in front of a full bookcase.


As promised, I’m bringing as much ’20s energy to my life this year as possible. I read this book a few years ago, and absolutely loved it.

As a history book “Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, and the Women Who Made America Modern” by Joshua Zeitz is readable and engaging. I became lost in the stories and the enchanting facts like I were reading fiction.

The author showcases women like Coco Chanel and Zelda Fitzgerald, among others, to use as a lens for illustrating and explaining the wider trends in culture. I appreciated how the author would explain the buildup of social trends, at times bringing in history from the late 1800’s or 1910’s, without feeling like meandering away from the central point of the book.

If you’re familiar with my interests, you will not be surprised to know my favorite chapters in this book were about sexuality. I learned a lot of things I didn’t know, some things that still impact our world today. But knowing that history has been valuable to me. I also really enjoyed the chapters that discussed writers of the era as well as the development of Hollywood and the birth of the modern starlet.

The thing that struck me the most about reading this book was how many trends of the time are mirrored today. Indeed the ’20s were the first modern era, but it is eerie to see how similar the social conflicts or obsessions of the Flapper world are to our world now.

While there are plenty of larger-than-life figures in this book I also felt like the author gave interesting insight into more mundane and even rural aspects of life. Much of what I underlined in the book are things I want to remember for when I set fictional works in the 1920’s.

I truly enjoyed the time I spent with this book. If you want to learn a lot about the ’20s without being bogged down by academic prose or a bland narration, definitely check out this book. The mystique and charm and chaos and danger will stay with you, in true Flapper spirit.

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