Friday, March 1, 2013

"When the exquisitely impulsive Louise Brooks, a teenage Ziegfeld Follies girl, stepped off the train from her native Kansas and glanced up at the soaring Manhattan skyline, she "fell in love with New York forever.""

All Night Party: The Women of Bohemian Greenwich Village and Harlem, 1913-1930 by Andrea Barnet

256 pages

Genre: Non-fiction, Women’s History, GLBT

Summary: All Night Party gives the reader a glimpse into the lives of women that shaped Harlem and Greenwich Village from 1913-1930.

Review: Confession time: I’m pretty sure I bought this book as a resource for an undergrad project I was working on many moons ago. My bad! Fortunately, my interest in women’s history has not waned since that time, and I was very happy to discover that I still had All Night Party in my possession.

As a whole, I found this book rather fascinating, and I read through it quite quickly. While All Night Party doesn’t go too deeply in depth about each of the women it showcases, it does offer interesting anecdotes from each woman’s life. I hadn’t heard of many of the women mentioned throughout the course of the book, but seeing this brief glimpse into what their lives were like really made me want to learn more.

I especially enjoyed the chapter on Edna St. Vincent Millay. I had heard of this poet before, but had never read anything she had written,and I found her story to be really thought-provoking. Bessie Smith’s story was also intriguing, and I loved how fearless, strong, and resilient she was.

Of the people I hadn’t heard of, I found Mina Loy to be the most memorable. She led an extremely interesting life, and I can’t wait to read more about her and her literary exploits.

Up All Night provides an excellent jumping off point if you’re looking for information on counterculture American women from 1913-30. If you’re at all interested in women’s history, especially if you don’t know very much about the women being discussed, you’ll probably enjoy this book.

Rating: 3.5/5