1939 evokes a time when America and the world were unknowingly poised on the brink of an irrevocable transformation. Gelernter gives readers a virtual reality picture of the 1939 World's Fair, and the passionate feelings it still evokes in those who were there. Illustrations.
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This book is a strange beast: a meditation on the meaning of the 1939 New York World's Fair seen through the lens of David Gelernter's angry political opinion that society today has gone to moral rot and ruin--mostly because of the ideas of New York-style liberals, who have led us astray. Richly detailed observations of the 1939 World's Fair and its social milieu are interspersed with a rather sparse fictional account of an old-fashioned romance that got its fuse lit on the fairgrounds. If you want a straightforward 1939 World's Fair novel, the classic is still World's Fair, by E. L. Doctorow. But Gelernter writes likes nobody else. His historical research is painstaking, and his pro-1939, anti-modern political jeremiad gives the book an eccentric but propulsive narrative drive. Gelernter has a qualified love of two-fisted old-time social engineers, such as Robert Moses, and he yearns for a time when society was ruled by authority figures instead of celebrities. Ah, the good old days, when the 1939 World's Fair introduced America to TV, the fax machine, nylons, fluorescent lighting, long-distance phone calls, and an underwater Salvador Dali exhibit starring live, half-nude women. Gelernter wrote this book while recovering from a murder attempt by the Unabomber (recounted in Gelernter's Drawing Life), but his true claim to fame is the cranky individualism of his mind.From Publishers Weekly:
The 1939-40 New York World's Fair was built on a garbage dump in Flushing, Queens. Through the eyes of fictitious characters, we see the exhibits: AT&T, Ford, General Motors, DuPont, Futurama and Democracity. We review the fair's many firsts: the introduction of regular TV broadcasting, FM radio, fluorescent lighting and the fax machine. The computer?which existed in a rudimentary form?wasn't even mentioned. We are introduced to the society of the day?everyone loved big-band music, men always seemed to wear neckties and all feared the European war that had just begun. Also at the fair, "pornography was a mainstay"; the fair perhaps even invented the peep show. The author convincingly argues that the Americans of 1939 were more sophisticated than Americans are today: they were readers, and their educational systems were superior. Three names crop up repeatedly: President Franklin Roosevelt, inventor of the New Deal, which fueled the money that made New York City what it is; Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, the no-nonsense turbo known as the Little Flower; and builder Robert Moses, the man with the edifice complex that made?and some say destroyed?modern New York City. Return to a time when lunch at the Automat was 15?, the streets were safe?and remember one thing: the fair went bankrupt. Gelernter (The Muse in the Machine) has given us a portrait of yesteryear that is to be cherished. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description The Free Press, New York, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. New. Very light shelfwear. The jacket is in new mylar. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. History. Bookseller Inventory # 032663
Book Description Free Press, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. ** WE SHIP DAILY (Mon-Fri) ** Free Tracking Information. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000059129
Book Description Free Press, New York, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. New book, unmarked and urnread, in crisp dust jacket with 1/4" edgetear. 8 plates of b&w photos; 418 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 27357
Book Description FP div. Simon & Schuster, New York, 1995. Hard Cover in Dust Jacket. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Photos (illustrator). First Edition. 1995 Hardcover book in original dust Jacket , with photos intact. Brand New from 1995 publisher; Never opened, Never read. * Please note, there is a 1-1/2 " black feltpen line bottom edge. Intact soft paper jacket has faint mark to front edge, not interfering with the great graphics. Book size 6 x 8-1/4 x 1-1/2" thick; weighs 1-1/2 pounds. 418 deckle-edged pages with index + illustrated with 16 pages glossy B&W archival photographs + double-page matte B&W map of the site on front and back endpages - maps are flat, not fold-out.Handsome book ; Navy blue boards with Gold gilt title impressed onto white linen spine ; in textured soft-paper jacket with artwork by John Cruz. Author David Gelernter is Professor of Computer Science at Yale University, and author of The Muse in the Machine. In this brilliant book, he has given us all a glimpse at the world of 1939 New York, through the World's Fair there that year. The names have been changed, ( except for the famous ), but the tales are all true. He spoke with people who were there to research his book; some attended ten times or more, and studied the history of the generation that built it, to show the life and times of America in 1939, just before the Second World War. The theme of the World's Fair that year was The Future - Futurama was a big exhibit - and the future was now as far as the modern New Yorker was concerned - they couldn't get enough of the great fair and of the products it promoted. Television , Nylon stockings , the Fax machine , Flourescent lighting , FM Radio, and long distance telephone calls were all shown off at the fair that year. There was such hope in the glorious future to come. There were exhibits on Democracy , and lots of big band music; the 1939 fair even invented the peep show , and there was an avant garde exhibit by Salvador Dali , underwater, no less, featuring live half nude beautiful female models - no wonder so many attended over and over again ! AT&T , Ford , DuPont, and General Motors were all there and it was opened by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. From a former garbage dump in Flushing , Queens, arose what was considered 'the greatest show of all time'. Brings the fair to life, and the life and times into focus, for those who love a good story that really happened, and the history of the 1930s. Author Ray Bradbury said of this book : " The New York World's Fair 1939 ! I was there, this book is it ! " . Photographs include the Perisphere , inside the Futurama where you'd get 'a perfect illusion of flying ' ; the view of the fairgrounds from Manhattan ; the view of Manhattan from the fairgrounds ; FDR in his opening address; pavilions, and more. This book is " 1939 - The Lost World of the Fair " , by David Gelernter , 1995 Hard cover book in original DJ , published by FP division of Simon & Schuster , New York *** Secure packing, Safe shipping, since 1965 *** Size: 6 x 8-1/4 x 1-1/2 ". Bookseller Inventory # 91113
Book Description Free Press, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0028740025
Book Description Free Press, 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110028740025
Book Description Free Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0028740025 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0004001