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Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, and the Women Who Made America Modern

Joshua Zeitz.
Publisher Three Rivers  
Format paperback
ISBN 9781400080540
Pages/Publication Date 338/2007
Daedalus Item Code 49009
This item is not available.
Flinging aside the Victorian manners that kept her mother corseted, the New Woman of the 1920s puffed cigarettes, snuck gin, danced the Charleston, and necked in roadsters. She also earned her own keep and controlled her own destiny, and her newfound freedom marked a radical change in American culture. American Heritage contributing editor Joshua Zeitz takes us from the Alabama country club where Zelda Sayre caught the eye of F. Scott Fitzgerald to Muncie, Indiana, where would-be flappers begged their mothers for silk stockings, and the Manhattan speakeasies where patrons partied until dawn. He tells an exhilarating story of America's first sexual revolution, its first media celebrities, and its most sparkling advertisement for the right to pursue happiness.

"Spirited, insightful, and utterly readable—with an argument worth noting: the flapper was America's 'New Woman,' rejecting old limits and boundaries, creating a modern culture, but she was also a 'character type' contrived by the advertisers, designers, artists, and writers who became the nation's first 'merchants of cool' in the American Jazz Age."—Beth Bailey

"This lively history looks at the Jazz Age through its greatest symbol, the flapper.... Although he didn't invent the flapper as many suppose, F. Scott Fitzgerald did bring the modern woman into the public eye in his debut novel, This Side of Paradise. Zeitz explores the lives of the women who have come to personify the flapper ideal: Zelda Sayre, the southern belle who married Fitzgerald and became his muse; Lois Long, the sharp-tongued New Yorker columnist whose nightlife was often the subject of her writing; Coco Chanel, the elegant designer who carefully crafted her own backstory; and the actresses Colleen Moore, Clara Bow, and Louise Brooks, who brought the flapper to the silver screen only to be left in the dust when the following decade ushered in a less sexually confident feminine ideal. Zeitz's energetic writing does his subject justice, bringing to life the wild coed parties; the colorful, glitzy fashion; and the general energy and enthusiasm with which the decade embraced modernity. An essential exploration of the women Zeitz deems 'the first thoroughly modern American[s]'."—Booklist (starred review)

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