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1939: The Lost World of the Fair by David…

1939: The Lost World of the Fair (1995)

by David Gelernter

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A wonderful book, a masterpiece. It greatly recaptures the romance of the World's Fair, that bastion of optimism valiantly standing up against the depression and looming war. It's part history of the great figures and exhibits of the fair and part oral history telling the story of one frequent visitor. This is a beautifully written and informative book. ( )
  Othemts | Nov 3, 2008 |
Half fiction, half nonfiction, 1939 is a masterpiece of living history. Readers see the 1939 World's Fair through the eyes of Laura Glassman, a young woman touring with her beau. The first person sections provide a nice counterpoint to the big issues that Gelernter returns to throughout the book. He sees the '30s as profoundly optimistic, and it is hard to read this book and not be affected by the intense hope for the future. ( )
  verbafacio | Feb 7, 2008 |
A snap shot of the NY worlds fair and U.S. history in 1939. Some times while reading it I kept thinking "It was the best of times it was the worst of times". The book is more sociology than history. It's a book I dicovered at a yard sail and was surprisingly pleased. ( )
  usnmm2 | Mar 24, 2007 |
Half-read. So far, Gelernter is insufferable. It might improve in later chapters, and I'm interested enough in the subject matter to perservere. I think. ( )
  benwbrum | Jan 3, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 038072748X, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:03 -0400)

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