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1919 The Year That Changed America


1919 The Year That Changed America

What was the world like in 1919? On the verge of the roaring twenties and emerging from World War I, there was plenty of unrest for returning soldiers. Racial unrest, especially in the deep south (Red Summer), fights over civil rights, problems with anarchists (terrorists), women’s suffrage, individual citizen issues (Prohibition), workers strikes, presidential and congressional powers, immigrant problems and a slew of other things. Does any of this sound familiar?

In 2019, we are still tackling many similar situations: we have struggles with Muslim bans, refugee control, racial equality, women’s rights, civil liberties, gun control, presidential and congressional powers and equal rights for gay/transgender persons along with many other issues of today. Underlying mentalities seem to still be prevalent in a game of pushing forward and back through history. So what does history teach us? Do we learn from our mistakes?

"Martin W. Sandler has created a beautiful look into the chaos of 1919 with well-researched information and extraordinary photographs."

Martin W. Sandler has created a beautiful look into the chaos of 1919 with well-researched information and extraordinary photographs. Between chapters he gives us timelines reflecting the events and issues from the subjects covered to present day. He also inserts two-page spreads with more detailed profiles of selected events and/or important personalities. All in all, his book is a marvel of weaving historical happenings that often coincide with present day occurrences.

Sandler points out that despite the turmoil, tragedies and violence of the events of 1919, those very events were often the spring- boards of great and positive changes. We do learn and re-learn from our histories, but sometimes it takes a little longer than we anticipate.

The book itself is beautiful with striking black and white photography. Measuring 9” by 11”, each page is like falling into the vividness of the turmoil of 1919. It has an excellent index with lists of further readings provided at the end. 1919 is a book to be added to every high school and public library. Its information, writing style and layout make it perfect for research.

Well known for his ability to tell a good story and his consummate research, Sandler is a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee and an historian with endless curiosity and energy. His other books like IRON RAIL IRON MEN and IMMIGRANTS are among a few examples of the range of his work. 1919 is both disturbing and fascinating. It would be a wonderful addition to any library collection.

Reviewed by Sally Tibbetts on January 30, 2019

1919 The Year That Changed America
by Martin W. Sandler