A Generation Lost and Found
Woodrow Wilson was not the only embittered individual in postwar America. Four years of European carnage had shown the worst of which humanity was capable. The war broke the spirit of some people; in others, it created a combination of restlessness, desperation, boredom, and thrill-seeking that earned the decade its nickname: the Roaring Twenties. Some Americans, mostly young intellectuals, found that after the war, they could not settle back into life at home. A colony of expatriate artists and writers gathered in Paris. Many of these individuals congregated in the apartment of a remarkable medical school dropout named Gertrude Stein—writer, art collector, and cultivator of creative talent. One day, she remarked to one of these young people, Ernest Hemingway, “You are all a lost generation.” That phrase stuck as a description of those individuals cast adrift after the war, their former ideals shattered. by battle, yet unable to find new values to replace the old.