Thursday, April 30, 2009

Review---"Daily Life In The United States 1920-1940"

"Daily Life In The United States 1920-1940" by David E. Kyvig
This is a great book that gives detailed information on "real" life in the time period of 1920-1940.
The book talks about prohibition, infant mortality rate, Jim Crow laws of segregation, the social security act, daily living expenses, average job salaries, education, books, music and radio, movies, home appliances that were used, automobiles, sports, clothing, grocery stores and other shopping, and the social culture of young people.
I loved reading about the variances of the hemline of dresses in the years right after WWI. The hemline was at the ankle, then moved up to the knee during the early 1920's, then in the 1930's the hemline lowered back to the mid calf. Women who had had long hair and kept in a bun, suddenly cut their hair in to a bob during the 1920's. The women that cut their hair short were declaring their independence, and their right to shorten their hair if they chose to. Hygiene became a bigger concern after WWI, there was commercial advertisement about body odor and bad breath. Bra sizes first appeared in the 1930's. Women began to wear sheer stockings as opposed to dark stockings, and the necessity to shave became popular. Many of the recruitment's of WWI did not score well on their aptitude tests, the push for better education and for children to stay in school longer emerged. Teacher's who before WWI might have only had a high school education were now to have a college degree.
It is still hard for me to understand the segregation that took place. Asians were mainly on the west coast, the Hispanics were mainly in the southwest, 85% of African Americans lived in the south. We now live in an era that cultural diversity is nearly everywhere.

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