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The Lost World of the Fair


David Gelernter (View Bio)
Hardcover: The Free Press, 1995.


Between the Great Depression and World War II, a World's Fair was held in the city of New York. This event thrilled a generation with its spectacular vision of the world's bright future. Millions thronged from every corner of the globe to gaze on breathtaking wonders such as the Trylon and the Perisphere—and especially to celebrate the utopian future whose imminence the Fair foresaw. It would be a transformative world, one in which the "good life," through modern science, technology, arts, and enlightened morality, would be just around the corner

David Gelernter's 1939: The Lost World of the Fair, evokes a moment in time brimming with the promise of the new—a world that chose innocently to look forward in bright hope, rather than backward with regret.

"The New York World's Fair of 1939! I was there, this book is it!" — Ray Bradbury

"Immensely charming.... In clean, elegant prose, Gelernter lovingly describes the fair's exhibits...and, Doctorow-like, he weaves a narrative about fictional characters amid all the precise nonfiction details." — Nicholas Lemann, Washington Monthly

"Original and arresting...very good and incalculably sad.... Gelernter has given us a vivid portrait not merely of the fair but of the city and the nation that conceived it.... It makes one ache for a world forever lost." — Washington Post Book World

"Wonderful...absorbing...original and striking.... Gelernter captures the essence of a culture that, like a Gershwin tune, encapsulates a decade forever." — Boston Globe

"Provocative...epic...admirable." — Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Gelernter has given us a portrait of yesteryear that is to be cherished." — Publishers Weekly

"One of the most moving love stories I have ever read." — Commentary

"An innovative cultural history." — Booklist

"Part fiction, part history, part sociology and part prophecy...1939 is strong on the pleasures of the past.... The reader can sense the wonder of the fair." — The New York Times

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