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This Book Report On "The Modern Temper: The American Culture And Society In The 1920s" By Lynn Dumenil Summarizes The Content Of The Book And Praises Dumenil On Her Unique Insight Of This Period.

1126 words - 5 pages

In Lynn Dumenil's account of the era commonly referred to as the "roaring twenties" in The Modern Temper: American Culture and Society in the 1920s there is an intentional emphasis placed on the effort to dispel the popular notion that the new, revolutionary transformations in culture and society that took place at this time in history were direct results of the First World War. In the stead of this less insightful means of analyzing the 1920's in America by assuming that the post war era was a direct creation and consequence from the war, the author offers the suggestion that the seeds of the twenties were planted much earlier during the industrial revolution and through the effects of a culture rapidly industrializing in a capitalist society. The war period simply served to expedite the process by contributing to the economic boom that created the prosperity of the twenties, sparking the migration of the rural population of African Americans and whites into urban areas, and by increasing opportunities for women in the work force.Furthermore, Dumenil goes even as far to say that the popular image and connotation of this era being a time of unparalleled prosperity and success in America is also somewhat inaccurate. For the most part, this view of America becoming an evermore opulent society during this period is correct, but, just as in many other aspects of American society, not everyone had an equal share of this abundant prosperity. The author mentions how the farming industry had never fully recovered from the negative economic effects of war which caused many farmers to live in poverty throughout the entire period of the twenties. Additionally, African Americans and other minorities were still victims of racial inequality and were not able to partake in the increased opportunities for work that would secure a more comfortable life. The main beneficiaries of the capitalistic, industrial growth in America were the middle and upper class White Anglo-Saxon Protestants, or WASP's, who lived in ever expanding urbanized areas. It was these fortunate members of society who more often enjoyed the increase of the standard of living brought about by the mass production of goods such as electric irons and vacuum cleaners that contributed to the simplification of life's everyday tasks.A central theme that pervades many of the factors that contributed to the shift in American culture that made this period so unique is the rapid urbanization that was taking place. According to the 1920 census, exactly one half of the American population lived in the city, the largest percentage to date. However, this calculation can be somewhat misleading when one considers the fact that the cutoff point for an urban population was 2,500 people. Even during this time in history 2,500 people was not a significantly high number in regards to population. Regardless, the effects of this trend were clear.Dumenil describes how this process of urbanization was a natural and...

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