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This documentary, the third in a 10-volume series chronicling the entire 20th century, focuses on the famed Roaring Twenties, and shows how this amazing decade was a study in contrasts. Making good use of archival films and vintage photographs, the cultural conflicts that marked the decade are portrayed. The decade began with the banning of all alcohol in the U.S., a disastrous social experiment that led to the rise of bootleggers and widespread organized crime. And while the Ku Klux Klan rose to such prominence that thousands of hooded members paraded down Washington's Pennsylvania Avenue in 1924, the Harlem Renaissance, a flowering of African American art and writing, was taking place in New York City. America wanted to withdraw from international affairs following the cataclysm of World War I, and Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini were rising to prominence overseas. Evocative use of archival material, such as a film in which a Treasury agent demonstrates popular smuggling techniques of bootleggers, make this an informative look at a decade that saw America rise mightily in prosperity only to have its hopes dashed in the stock market crash of 1929. --Robert J. McNamara
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