The textbook history of the 1920s is a story of Prohibition, flappers, and unbounded prosperity. For millions of industrial workers, however, the “roaring twenties” looked very different. Working-class communities were already in crisis in the years before the stock market crash of 1929. Strikes in the 1920s and attempts to organize the unemployed and fight evictions in the early 1930s often fell victim to police violence and repression.
Here, Irving Bernstein recaptures the social history of the decade leading up to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s inauguration, uncovers its widespread inequality, and sheds light on the long-forgotten struggles that form the prelude to the great labor victories of the 1930s