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1939: The Lost World of the Fair
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1939: The Lost World of the Fair

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  100 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
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.
Hardcover, 418 pages
Published May 1st 1995 by Free Press
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Jan 14, 2014 Walter rated it it was amazing
There are some occasions when a book is so good that it surprises you. This is the case with "1939 The Lost World of the Fair", which may very well be the most under-rated and under-appreciated history book of the past 20 years. Written by David Gelernter, MIT professor of technology and a victim of the Unibomber, this book tells the story of the 1939-1940 World's Fair in New York. Gelernter describes the enormous effort to convert the swampland in the Flushing district of Queens into a world cl ...more
Jan 10, 2008 Michael rated it really liked it
An intriguing look into life and American society in what are called the "High 1930s" (1935-39). The last remaining years of America's innocence in the 20th Century. An era when men always wore hats and women often wore gloves. A time of hope and optimism that persnal well-being could be found in all things material, machine and technological coming out of the ravages of the Great Depression.
Oct 08, 2010 Perilun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent snapshot look at America in the depression and looking toward war overseas. Its some of the small things like working people smoking to stave off hunger that sticks in the mind.
Sep 02, 2013 Matt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
"I actually bought the hardcover edition of this book as a gift for [my spouse] when it first came out in 1995. Yes, it’s taken me thirteen years but I finally got around to reading it. Now that I’m done, I can see why it took so long since [my spouse] warned me that the book wasn’t very good. Gelertner’s central idea is solid — presenting the 1939 New York Worlds Fair as both a straightforward history and an impressionistic, novelized view from a 'typical' visitor — but unfortunately it fails t ...more
May 05, 2010 Simone rated it really liked it
Recommended to Simone by: BT
a history book with the sweetest thread of a love story woven throughout. a beautiful, insightful book. then again, i'm pretty much obsessed with life in new york city from around the turn of the century to 1960.

i like his argument that all the technologies of the future presented at the 1939 world's fair were largely realized in the 60's. and that we collectively lost something to believe in, and it sort of set us adrift.

this also really made me want to go to disney world, because it's the cl
May 22, 2013 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd recommend this book to read after reading Twilight at the world of tomorrow : genius, madness, murder, and the 1939 World's Fair on the brink of war by Mauro, James. The Lost World of the fair is more of a social view with a good deal of thoughts on the what else was happening, etc...and the author threw in a little fictional couple to make things a bit more interesting. The couple add their views on the fair.

Twilight At the World of Tomorrow was all non-fiction.
Kelly Bolin
I really wanted this to be a 5-star book, but it just wasn't. The book did provide a fascinating look at what the world was like at that time, not only physically, but mentally - which was the best part. But the parts of the couple at the fair and his "interview" were drawn out, a bit dry and sometimes hard to follow. I also thought the whole drama with Sarah was unnecessary and distracted from the rest of the book.
Sep 10, 2014 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An intriguing meditation on the fundamental ways in which we are different-- and perhaps, diminished-- in comparison with the optimistic End-of-the-Depression era. A meditation on the true meanings of authority, sophistication , obligation, and the American civic religion of progress and justice, it nevertheless questions our credulous acceptance nowadays of technology as panacea. By all rights, the "lost world" of 1939 ought to have been a pessimistic one with the long economic ordeal of the de ...more
Rob Salkowitz
Jan 13, 2008 Rob Salkowitz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the top 10 books I have ever read, notwithstanding the fact that the author is apparently something of a right-wing crank. Fantastic evocation and celebration of the culture of the 1930s, with an inventive and unexpected structural complexity.
Nov 07, 2008 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Extremely interesting.

I have a Heinz pickle pin!
Jan 27, 2008 RJ rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Usually, if I don't like a book, I just casually put it aside, not finishing it or touching it ever again. With this one, it was a very, very deliberate act.
Kari Mathias
It was pretty well, written, but I found it to be incredibly boring. I guess I'm not cultured enough to enjoy this book.
Tamara Housh
Nov 15, 2015 Tamara Housh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
fiction read
Did not finish.
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David Hillel Gelernter (born March 5, 1955) is an artist, writer, and professor of computer science at Yale University. He is a former national fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and senior fellow in Jewish thought at the Shalem Center, and sat on the National Endowment for the Arts. He publishes widely; his work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, LA Times, Weekly Sta ...more
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