Prohibition and the Roaring Twenties

Circulating Books



Almanac of American Life: Modern America, 1919-1945

R 973 ALM 1919-1945

No narrative, but provides many facts about the time period, including population changes, the rise in smoking and other interesting facts.

Annals of America

R 973 ANN 2003 (volumes 14 and 15)

Exclusively primary source material from the time period. Includes drinking songs, articles in favor of Prohibition, and the effects that drinking (and not-drinking) have on youth.

Historical Dictionary of the 1920s: from World War I to the New Deal, 1919-1933

R 973.91 OLS

Good for background information, including definitions, short articles on important people, places and events.

American Decades and American Decades: Primary Sources

R 973.92 AME 1920-1929

Some of the most useful information on each time period in American history. American Decades provides useful information on important people, places and events in a year-by-year format. American Decades: Primary Sources is made up entirely of primary sources from the decade.


On and Off the Wagon: A Sober Analysis of the Temperance Movement from the Pilgrims through Prohibition

178.1 CHI

The Damned and the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s

301.431 FAS

Shows the young men and women of the 1920s as an advance-guard of 20th Century culture, who freed themselves from the confines, traditions and morals of 19th century America.

Prohibition: Thirteen Years that Changed America

363.41 BEH

Provides detailed information on what effect Prohibition had on American society, including information on speakeasies, corruption, massacres, and the loss of America’s innocence.

The Long Thirst: Prohibition in America, 1920-1933

363.41 COF

Tells the stories of a cross-section of people whose lives were changed by Prohibition, but also explores the greater societal ramifications of Prohibition (including institutionalized corruption, etc.)

Ardent Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition

363.41 KOB

Part III most directly explores Prohibition, while Parts I and II give background on the history of various American temperance movements.

Battling Demon Rum: The Struggle for a Dry America, 1800-1933

363.41 PEG

History of temperance movements throughout American history. Would be good for background information.

The Untouchables

364.104 NES

Yes, the movie was based on this book.  And it was real.

War in Illinois

364.106 BAI

American Mafia: A History of its Rise to Power

364.106 REP

A history of the mafia’s rise from the 1880s to the post-WWII era, noting the role that Prohibition had in the establishment of the mafia’s defining characteristics.

Crimes of New York: Stories of Crooks, Killers and Corruption from the World’s Toughest City

364.109 CRI

Includes stories of Prohibition-era New York City.

The Twilight of Splendor: Chronicles of the Age of American Palaces

728.8 MAH

Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin: Writers Running Wild in the Twenties

928.1 MEA

Biographies of 4 women writers in the 1920s. Gives personal accounts of what happened, and how the Jazz Age affected their lives.

Daddy Danced the Charleston

973 COR

This is a rather chatty and personal view of the 1920s.  It gives one woman’s insights into the decade, with additional primary source material, such as advertisements, cartoons and other ephemera of the decade.

Babbitts and Bohemians: The American 1920s

973.9 S847

A solid cultural account of the 1920s, with special regard to the large differences in “normal” and “progressive” ideals.

First-Person America

973.91 BAN

Eighty narratives originally recorded by members of the Federal Writers’ Project.

The Uncertainty of Everyday Life, 1915-1945
973.91 GRE

Focuses on the ordinary and everyday experiences of the average person.

The Jazz Age: the 20s

973.91 JAZ

Heavily illustrated book, with discussions on how the alcohol, music and other cultural parts of the 1920s influenced society at large.

Lifetimes: The Great War to the Stock Market Crash
973.91 LIF

A biographical encyclopedia of famous people in the 1920s, but also includes primary source documents relevant to the profiles (e.g., text of the 19th Amendment, political cartoons)

Redeeming the Time: A People’s History of the 1920s and the New Deal

973.91 SMI

The last volume of “A People’s History of the United States”.  Chapters 1-13 are most relevant to 1920s and Prohibition; they provide a good comparison of conservative vs. progressive populations.

The Roaring Twenties: An Eyewitness History

973.91 STR

Traces the historical, social and political events of the 1920s, offering information on such topics as prohibition, women’s suffrage, the stock market crash, Wilson’s Fourteen Points, and the Immigration Act of 1924.

The 1920s

973.914 DRO

The subtitle says it all – “Popular culture through history.”  Gives an overview of the decade (including how Prohibition influenced culture), with in-depth analysis of subjects such as advertising, fashion, and more.

Daily Life in the United States, 1920-1939: Decades of Promise and Pain

973.914 KYV

Covers the everyday activities in the United States during the time period.  Each chapter covers the influence of a particular item on American life.  This might be best for background information on the status quo for 1920s culture.

The Modern Temper: American Culture and Society in the 1920s

973.915 DUM

Provides a topical overview of the 1920s, with analysis of the cultural impacts that work, consumption, conformity and modernity had on society.

1927: High Tide of the Twenties

973.915 LEI

Uses 1927 as an iconic year of the Jazz Age.  Explores various cultural topics, such as race, politics and crime.



Prohibition Era: thirteen years that changed America

973.91 PROH

Examines the history of the United States during the time of Prohibition, including why the 18th Amendment passed, the ways of bootleggers and gangsters, and the development of jazz.

The Twenties

973.9 TWEN

Documentary on the many forces at work during the 1920’s, a decade of great prosperity, which ended in a great depression.

The Remarkable 20th Century

973.91 REM (Vol. 3)

This televised Time Capsule recounts the incredible events of the past 100 years.  Through exclusive interviews and rare film footage you will witness the great wars, devastating disasters and social changes of this century decade-by-decade.

The 20th Century: The 1920s, a Decade of Contradictions

973.91 TWEN (Vol. 3)

This dynamic series brings the 20th century back to life – the good and the bad – through insightful narration, rare photographs and stunning footage.  This collection is a salute to the first century ever entirely documented on film.

America, The Promise Fulfilled and the Promise Broken

973 AMER

Deals with the promise of unlimited prosperity after World War I, the boom of the 1920s, the Depression and the New Deal.

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