THE HISTORY CLUB

A place for history teachers, students and enthusiasts

The American Jazz Age, Great Depression and New Deal Era
Reading Group

Startintg June 2017

This is a friendly group of people interested in reading great books about the American Jazz Age, Great Depression and New Deal Era Period c.1920 to 1945. It covers the domestic aspects of World War II, not the foriegn aspects.

Please Read: Suggestions on how to Meaningfully and Constructively Participate in our History Reading Groups

Thank you for your interest.

Our Current Book and Reading

Current Book Reading Schdule Chapter and Week

  1. Chapter 1 - “You Cannot Make Your Shimmy Shake On Tea”

    Thought Questions
    - In what ways does Al Capone represent the mood of the roaring 20s?
    - How do the concepts of "power" and "grace" encapsulate the decarde?

    Supplemental Amercan Literature Reading
    - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerarld

    Resource: Map of Wet and Dry States and timeline
  2. Chapter 2 - “The Rhythm Of Life”

    Thought Questions
    - How does the author connect Roaring 20s ganster culture with Jazz Age popular culture?

    Supplemental Listenng (you will love Bessie Smth)
    - Fats Waller - Ain't Misbehavin' (1929)
    - Fats Waller & His Rhythm - Shortnin' Bread
    - Bessie Smith (Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out, 1929) Jazz Legend
    - St. Louis Blues - Blues Legend Bessie Smith's only film appearance. Uncut 1929
    - Bessie Smith - Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer
    - Bessie Smith - A Good Man is Hard to Find
    - Bessie Smith - Yellowdog Blues
    - Bessie Smith - I'm Wild About That Thing (1929)
    - Bessie Smith - Need A Little Sugar In My Bowl (1931)

    Supplemental Reading
    - Making Music Modern: New York in the 1920s by Carol J. Oja

    Supplemental Amercan Literature Reading
    - Finish The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerarld
  3. Chapter 3 - Femme Fatale
    (femme fatale - :: a seductive woman who lures men into dangerous or compromising situations or :: a woman who attracts men by an aura of charm and mystery)

    Thought Questions
    - What were the characteristics of the "Flapper" of the 1920s?
    - In what ways was the "Flapper" mystique a precursor to feminism?
    - In what ways was the "Flapper" mystique a rejection of women's rights movement in the progressive era?

    Supplemental Reading
    - Femme Fatale: Cinema's Most Unforgettable Lethal Ladies by James Ursini and Dominique Mainon

    Supplemental Amercan Literature Reading
    - Begin reading The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  4. Chapter 4 - “Five And Ten Cent Lusts And Dreams”

    Thought Questions
    - How does the author use Hollywood to illustrate the change and "newness" of the 1920s?
    - What are the characteristics of the early ear Hollywood film culture?

    Supplemental Reading
    - Material Dreams: Southern California through the 1920s by Kevin Starr

    Supplemental Viewing
    - The Gold Rush with Charlie Chaplin (1925)

    Supplemental Amercan Literature Reading
    - Continue reading The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  5. Chapter 5 - “My God! How The Money Rolls In”

    Thought Questions
    - How does the life and death of Warren Harding symbolize the culture of the Roaring 20s?
    - How did Florence Harding's public role in her husband's life compare and contrast with that of former first ladies?
    - How(?) was Calvin Coolidge involved with the core group around Harding?
    - How are Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover the antithesis of Harding and the Roaring 20s (keep this in mind as we continue reading)

    Supplemental Amercan Literature Reading
    - Finish reading The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  6. Chapter 6 - “The Business Of America Is Business”

    Thought Questions
    - What factors led to the development of mass consumer consumption?
    - How did mass produced consumer goods promote social and economic changes?
    - How did men and women participate in consumer culture differently?

    Supplemental American Literature Reading
    - Begin The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  7. Chapter 7 - Fear Of The Foreign

    Thought Questions
    - X

    Supplemental American Literature Reading
    - Continue The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  8. Chapter 8 - The Ku Klux Klan Redux

    Thought Questions
    - X

    Supplemental American Literature Reading
    - Finish The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  9. Chapter 9 - In Exile

    Thought Questions
    - X

    Supplemental American Literature Reading
    - Begin Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
  10. Chapter 10 - The New Yorker

    Thought Questions
    - X

    Supplemental American Literature Reading
    - Continue Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
  11. Chapter 11 - “Yes, We Have No Bananas Today”

    Thought Questions
    - X

    Supplemental American Literature Reading
    - Continue Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
  12. Chapter 12 - The Spirit Of St. Louis

    Thought Questions
    - X

    Supplemental American Literature Reading
    - Continue Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
  13. Chapter 13 - The Big Fight

    Thought Questions
    - X

    Supplemental American Literature Reading
    - Finish Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
  14. Chapter 14 - Crash

    Thought Questions
    - X

    Supplemental American Literature Reading
    - Mountain Interval by Robert Frost

American Jazz Age, Great Depression and New Deal Era Group Reading List (World War II Other Than The Homefront is covered elsewhere)

  1. Anything Goes: A Biography of the Roaring Twenties by Lucy Moore
  2. Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 by David M. Kennedy
  3. Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression by Morris Dickstein
  4. The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan
  5. Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition by Daniel Okrent
  6. A Call to Arms: Mobilizing America for World War II by Maury Klein
  7. The Modern Temper: American Culture and Society in the 1920s by Lynn Dumenil
  8. The New Deal: A Modern History by Michael Hiltzik
  9. Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 by George Chauncey
  10. Our Mothers' War: American Women at Home and at the Front During World War II by Emily Yellin

After the first books listed above we will select the next books we read from the list below. Provide us feedback and suggestions for our next book by clicking here.

To new the books on our reading list, please click here