Anything Goes

Anything Goes

A Biography of the Roaring Twenties

  • Ebook
  • ISBN 9781590204511
  • 352 Pages
  • Overlook Books
  • Adult


An exhilarating portrait of the era of jazz, glamour, and gangsters from a bright young star of mainstream history writing.

The glitter of 1920s America was seductive, from jazz, flappers, and wild all- night parties to the birth of Hollywood and a glamorous gangster-led crime scene flourishing under Prohibition. But the period was also punctuated by momentous events-the political show trials of Sacco and Vanzetti, the huge Ku Klux Klan march down Washington DC’s Pennsylvania Avenue-and it produced a dizzying array of writers, musicians, and film stars, from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Bessie Smith and Charlie Chaplin.

In Anything Goes, Lucy Moore interweaves the stories of the compelling people and events that characterized the decade to produce a gripping portrait of the Jazz Age. She reveals that the Roaring Twenties were more than just “the years between wars.” It was an epoch of passion and change-an age, she observes, not unlike our own.


“An interesting and wide ranging look at a tumultuous period.”

“A varied and dazzling portrait gallery of crooks and film stars, boxers and presidents, each brilliantly delineated and coloured in by a historian with a novelist’s relish for human foibles.”
-The Sunday Times (London)

“Mesmerising… Like the champagne-immersed age she portrays, Moore’s book effervesces with the detail of this fascinating story.”- Juliet Nicholson, Evening Standard

“What a decade it was! What goings-on more violent, subversive and exotic than any of the parties, japes or shenanigans of our own Bright Young Things… Moore has knitted the various diverse strands together impressively with an overview of the large cast of characters, events, attitudes, industries and statistics.”
-Anne de Courcy, Daily Mail

“Full of anecdote, detail and colour… Fluid and elegant.”
-Marianne Brace, Independent

“Out-of-control consumer spending? Unregulated banking system? Feverish need to drink and drug the jumpy self into oblivion? Check, check, check. We have been here before, and in a much worse state too, at the end of the ‘roaring’ 1920s. If this book has a moral it is that, in the words of that balladeer of bad times Al Jolson, ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet.'”
-Kathryn Hughes, Guardian

“The great strength of this delightful canter through the history of America in the 1920s [is] the author’s zestful way with a story… All the spirit of a Prohibition party.”
-Sunday Times Books of the Year

“The energy and dynamism that came to embody much of the ‘Roaring Twenties’ are palpable in Lucy Moore’s portrait of American society throughout the decade … Moore propels the reader at speed through the key social, cultural, political and economic events of the period. Beginning with notorious activities of Wall Street financiers, the result is a book that presents a powerful impression of both the glamorous and the dirty aspects of this era. This is clearly a book of timely relevance.”
-Christopher Godden, Times Literary Supplement

“A gorgeous historical indulgence.”

“Lucy Moore’s enlightening, well-researched biography of the 1920s will appeal to scholars as well as a general audience. Filled with attention-grabbing details that many historians neglect and a wide range of subjects-from celebrities like Charlie Chaplin or Bessie Smith to political corruption and social upheaval-Anything Goes will not disappoint readers, no matter their educational background…Anyone interested in discovering Al Capone, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Charles Lindbergh in the pages of the same book will find this broad-based work a worthwhile pursuit.”