Flappers: Six Women of a Dangerous Generation
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Flappers: Six Women of a Dangerous Generation

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  234 ratings  ·  56 reviews
By the 1920s, women were on the verge of something huge. Jazz, racy fashions, eyebrowraising new attitudes about art and sex—all of this pointed to a sleek, modern world, one that could shake off the grimness of the Great War and stride into the future in one deft, stylized gesture. The women who defined this age—Josephine Baker, Tallulah Bankhead, Diana Cooper, Nancy Cuna...more
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published January 14th 2014 by Sarah Crichton Books (first published May 23rd 2013)
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Anne
Judith Mackrell is the Guardian's dance critic and is the author of four other books, all non-fiction, and all based around dance.

Flappers, sub-titled 'Six Women of a Dangerous Generation' is a multi-biography. Judith Mackrell follows six women from the 1920s who between them were the faces of this generation.

Diana Cooper, Nancy Cunard, Tallulah Bankhead, Zelda Fitzgerald, Josephine Baker and Tamara de Lempicka were either adored or scorned by the public. They were women who broke the mould, who...more
rachael gibson
Yet another book about flappers for me - do I need to find a new genre??

Downloaded this to read on a four-day train journey and devoured it in two - six short, readable, fascinating biographies of half a dozen women whose lives intersected, personally as well as through their obvious common ground.

Whether you're a flapper-freak already or just want an introduction to some notable characters from the era before investing in more indepth biographies, this makes for a brilliant read.

Without distrac...more
Becca Allen
Not only is this a biography of six women in one - Nancy Cunard, Tallulah Bankhead, Josephine Baker, Diana Cooper, Zelda Fitzgerald and Tamara de Lempicka - it is also a biography of the flapper; the 1920s girls who broke the mould and irreversibly changed the status of women.

Mackrell has chosen six women from very different backgrounds and who lived very different lives, yet who still came to embody - even create - the flapper. I was only previously familiar with the story of Josephine Baker,...more
Bronwyn
I really enjoyed this book. Going into it I knew little about any of the women. I'd previously read some about Zelda Fitzgerald and Diana (Manners) Cooper, and recognized Tamara de Lempicka's paintings, but that was about it. This book expanded on the little I knew, and gave me great starting points on the other women.

Flappers covers the lives of Diana Manners Cooper, Nancy Cunard, Tamara de Lempicka, Tallulah Bankhead, Zelda Fitzgerald, and Josephine Baker. Mackrell has two chapters on each wom...more
Denise
This was an extremely interesting and well-researched book about six notable flappers. They were Josephine Baker, Tallulah Bankhead, Zelda Fitzgerald, Diana Cooper, Nancy Cunard and Tamara de Lempicka.

They came from different walks of life but all shared several commonalities: creativity, fierce drive for independence, talent and a strong desire for revolution. They lead extremely interesting lives in exotic places. They also suffered hardships and battled hard to gain respect equal to their mal...more
Joanne
I was looking forward to reading this book from the moment I heard about it. I'm really attracted by this period in history, and I love biographies. My reading about and from the early twentieth century has expanded greatly since joining the Bright Young Things group on Goodreads last year, and I think that group may be where I first heard about this book.

The six women Judith Mackrell writes about are: Diana Cooper, Nancy Cunard, Tallulah Bankhead, Zelda Fitzgerald, Josephine Baker and Tamara de...more
Peter Mcloughlin
This book traces the lives of six women who lived a glamorous and free but also harrowing life as a new kind of women living who emerged in the 1920s "the flapper". The word was used in the 19th century to denote a gawky adolescent girl but was attached to the new woman of the 1920s and the label is firmly stuck to the young bold women of that era. They broke the rules of their elders and sought the what then was called the fast life which involved the kind of freedom that women today don't have...more
Agnesxnitt
Marvelous - well written and with a couple of chapters to each 'Dangerous Woman' about their rise to fame and afterwards.
The 20's seem to have been a wonderfully indulgent time to live - but only if you had the money, or the noteriety and cash, to really party through the decade.
Some women were not satisfied with just living as society expected, and the women, or Ladies in some cases, certainly weren't and acted accordingly.
Though their antics/life styles/life choices would hardly raise an eyebr...more
Jayde
To be honest, I loved this book. I'm not sure what's holding me back from a 5 star review, but something is. If you want a brief look into the life of 6 quite amazing ladies of the 20s then this book is one for you. Don't be put off by its size, each section is an absolute joy and breeze to read. I think the missing star is because I'm now going to have to go and read more in-depth about each one and some of the other figures mentioned such as Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Waugh and I already...more
Len
Powerful and fascinating women in a fascinating time. A great introduction to some of history's most famous women, including Zelda Fitzgerald, Tallulah Bankhead, Tamara de Lempicka and Josephine Baker. It so amazes me that these women were so bold and individual so many years ago, and yet still, in many cases, victimized by men. So ironic, as well, that, being among the first "liberated women", they gave rise to the birth of the cosmetic and beauty industry (that so often now defines women by st...more
Linda
Fascinating look at the period where women struck out on their own: working, living alone or with roommates and lovers, having sex outside marriage, drinking, driving, smoking, voting. The author looks at the era and the cultural, social and economic changes through the lens of six women. The book gives each woman two chapters, with an overall intro and epilogue that tie it all together. Tight time period of basically ten years (the 1920s) with bio info on each woman setting the stage for her st...more
Colleen
I picked this book up because I am fascinated by the 1920s and it didn't disappoint. Flappers offers a good snippet of six extraordinary women. Each woman is the subject of two chapters in the book; one about their beginnings and rise to prominence and one about their prominence and struggles later in life. I confess that I knew nothing about Lady Diana Cooper and felt less interested in the chapters related to her. It would appear that the author was particularly interested in her as her chapte...more
Teresa
Loved this, my favourite era! Review to follow whenever I get caught up...
Jennifer
Fascinating. The author blends the gossip with the facts so well. With some of the narrative, the gossip side wins and I was left with a feeling that the PR version of a woman's life won out instead of the facts. But at this point who really knows!?

I think I learned the most about Josephine Baker, cared the least for Zelda Fitzgerald. Poor Nancy Cunard and Diana Cooper's stories often blended into each other.

I am amazed at the list of social stigmas these women lived with and through are still i...more
Brittany
Flappers were in deed a, “new breed” roaring into the 1920's social scene following world war 1 and emerging themselves as well into the jazz and art age. Women alive during this time made it an age of independence, forgoing the social expectations of them, were short hair, bobbed skirts, wearing too much make up, driving automobiles freely, living their lives to be seen, noticed and famous, yet listening to jazz and drinking, a time were sex was seen as a casual concept and the age of explorati...more
Elaine Ruth Boe
One thing I took away from FLAPPERS is that I'm glad I live in the 21st century. The constrictions placed on the women of the 20th century, even in the somewhat liberating decade of the 1920s, contributed to their ruin. I'm left feeling pity, sympathy, and distaste for our six heroines. Their inability to handle money frustrated me, as did their neglect of their children. Yet these women took it upon themselves to carve a path for their own passions, come hell or high water. I was surprised to d...more
Lola
If you know me at all (Or have read any of my reviews, which is close enough on Goodreads), then you know I am a 1920s nut. I love everything about it, and I never hesitate to read anything, fiction or nonfiction, about that era. It felt like fate when I found Flappers because my APUSH class was on its 1920s chapter on the time.

I gave Flappers three stars reluctantly. I wish it could have been a four. In terms of people and storytelling, it was splendid. Flappers focused on six women: Josephin...more
Aaron
Per FTC regulations, I received this book as a GoodReads First Reads Giveaway.

Only 4 stars because I think had the author chosen a smaller scope, she might have been able to delve deeper into each of her subjects. Six people of such import is a lot to squeeze into one book. As such, there are several pages that are like being at a Gatsby party where the list of attendees just goes on and on. Still, an important book, because I think most of know Zelda and Josephine because they're the most notor...more
Elaine
I received this book through First Reads on Goodreads in exchange for an honest review. I enjoyed this book, very much. It was a little difficult to get involved with at first, but once I started reading about women with familiar names-I began to enjoy it a lot more. It also dispelled a lot of illusions I had about the ”flapper era"-these 6 women had a lot more substance to them than the women you think of in a Fitzgerald novel-& his wife Zelda, is one of the 6 discussed in the book. The boo...more
carissa
By the 1920s, women were on the verge of something huge. Jazz, racy fashions, eyebrowraising new attitudes about art and sex—all of this pointed to a sleek, modern world, one that could shake off the grimness of the Great War and stride into the future in one deft, stylized gesture. The women who defined this age—Josephine Baker, Tallulah Bankhead, Diana Cooper, Nancy Cunard, Zelda Fitzgerald, and Tamara de Lempicka—would presage the sexual revolution by nearly half a century and would shape the...more
Sara
I found this book fascinating. At first I was choosing which woman to read about, starting with Zelda, but then I had to read about them all. I learned so much about the jazz age. You can read it the way she's organized the book or as I did. I read the sections on each woman one at a time and then went to the Epilogue. It's six interlocking biographies in one. If you love the Twenties, this is the book for you.
Tom
Provocative and beautifully described, this book of six Jazz Age "flappers" will captivate anyone
who wants to meet these archetypal women. In fact, I'll guarantee that you will at least be fascinated and may even fall in love with one or two of these fierce, independent, brave young flappers who simply (and wonderfully) insist on being themselves without excuse. A great read!
Gewizaz
488 pages

actually a 3 and half. each of these women bent 1920's rules of society, family and roles women played. Sexually explicit, dramatic in many ways for attention or mood swings with alcohol and/or drugs could not stop these ladies from being independent, yet dependent on the needed attention of their "public" and men/women in their lives.

Wish it were a little briefer in nature. Author did some incredible research and documentation. Photos are included.
Monica
Comprehensive and well researched, I learned a great deal of history from this period. These women pushed the boundaries of social mores and unspoken rules. The book is divided into two sets of the six portraits. I would have preferred reading each portrait straight through. Some individuals cross paths, which adds to the interesting history. These women were very modern in many ways, and perhaps almost ahead of their times.
Becca
I really loved it. All the girls were complex, flawed and tragic characters living in one of the most glamorous decades in history. The layout could be frustrating at times and I would sometimes struggle to remember what had just happened to each girl as I began the next chapter.
Dianne Landry
Although I love flappers and think the 1920s was a fasinating era this book did nothing for me. I couldn't even finish it.

I read the first sections on each of these women and found nothing appealing about any of them. I thought they were all a bunch of spoiled rotten brats.
Michelle Domangue
First off, I got this book in the Goodreads First Giveaways. I loved this book! Josephine Baker is one of my favorite icons of this era and is amazing to read about her life. This book is really good to read to learn about the women who were inspirations of the era.
Drew Hoffman
This book is a fine introduction to the lives and loves of six forward thinking free spirits but for those all ready familiar with the ladies spotlighted (particularly Tallulah Bankhead, Josephine Baker, and Zelda Fitzgerald), very little here is fresh information.
Stormy Cole
The 1920s was a fast time and this book did a great job of having a fast pace that represented the time. I enjoyed getting to know these women through the research and writing by this author. These women were truly fascinating in how they thought, lived, and loved.
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Judith Mackrell is a writer and dance critic for the Guardian. She lives in London with her husband and two sons.
More about Judith Mackrell...
Bloomsbury Ballerina: Lydia Lopokova, Imperial Dancer and Mrs John Maynard Keynes Reading Dance Out of Line: The Story of British New Dance Zelda's Story (Flappers) Tamara's Story (Flappers)

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