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Tomorrow-Land: The 1964-65 World's Fair and the Transformation of America

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  258 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
Motivated by potentially turning Flushing Meadows, literally a land of refuse, into his greatest public park, Robert Moses—New York's "Master Builder"—brought the World's Fair to the Big Apple for 1964 and '65. Though considered a financial failure, the 1964-65 World' s Fair was a Sixties flashpoint in areas from politics to pop culture, technology to urban planning, and ...more
Hardcover, 360 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by Lyons Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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(showing 1-30)
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Peter Mcloughlin
I am surprised a the tepid ratings for this book. I really enjoyed it. It's focal point is the 1964 worlds fair in NYC. It captures the dynamic changing times in America and NYC of the time. Their are a whole host of major figures from the time from Robert Moses who planned it to Malcolm X, Bob Dylan and Beatles, Andy Warhol, Mayor Wagner, Kennedy Johnson, who all come in for appearances in this book which captures what NYC was in the mid sixties. We forget the kaleidoscopic scene of the mid ...more
Kressel Housman
Oct 20, 2014 Kressel Housman rated it it was amazing
I grew up a few miles away from Flushing Meadow Park, the site of the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs, so I picked up this book just for a little Queens history. It turned out to be much more than that; it was one of the best retrospectives on the Sixties I’ve ever read. The reason it was so effective was that it wasn’t about just one thing – not just the music or just the activism or just the hippies, but everything together, including the very commercialized message the “silent majority” got at ...more
Martin
Mar 11, 2016 Martin rated it liked it
I honestly don't know how to rate this book. Objectively speaking, the book is about much more than the world's fair. It is about America on the verge of exponential change. Unfortunately, I wanted a book that was mostly about the worlds fair. I don't really need to rehash the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Robert McNamara, Bull Connor, Ken Keysey, or poor Kitty Genovese. This book is great for newcomers to modern American history. I felt that if the book was more focused on the fair itself, there would ...more
Mark Skousen
Mar 15, 2014 Mark Skousen rated it really liked it
Tomorrow-Land: The 1964-65 World's Fair and the Transformation of America, by Joseph Tirella (Global Peuot Press, 2014). I listened to the audiobook read by Joe Barrett. Living all the way on the other side of the Continent (Portland, Oregon), I never went to the 1964 New York World's Fair. But I heard about it, and wished I had gone. This is a wonderful in-depth behind-the-scenes look at the World's Fair, and how the autocrat Robert Moses (the man who built New York City's highways and parks) ...more
Andie
Jun 05, 2014 Andie rated it liked it
In 1964 my family (along with a lot of the other families we knew) traveled to New York City for the World's Fair, the latest in a series of spectacular exhibitions that seem to have disappeared from the world's stage. This book not only gives the history of the development of the fair (seemingly the last egomaniacal act of New York City's "master builder" Robert Moses) but also juxtapositions it with the events of the day: the civil rights struggle, the assassination of John F. ...more
Jane Buchbauer
May 23, 2014 Jane Buchbauer rated it really liked it
A historical account of the politics and background of the 1964-1965 World's Fair in NYC, this book is interesting but not for everyone. It is non-fiction and well written but a tedious read, nonetheless. As a child I was raised in Queens and attended the fair more than once. The tumultuous world revolving the event was not lost on me in spite of my young age, at the time, and the telling of the story brought a lot of strange, negative feelings to the surface. Racial tensions, increased crime, ...more
Mike Gabor
Mar 19, 2014 Mike Gabor rated it really liked it
Motivated by potentially turning Flushing Meadows, literally a land of refuse, into his greatest public park, Robert Moses—New York's "Master Builder"—brought the World's Fair to the Big Apple for 1964 and '65. Though considered a financial failure, the 1964-65 World' s Fair was a Sixties flashpoint in areas from politics to pop culture, technology to urban planning, and civil rights to violent crime.

A very interesting look into how Robert Moses put together and ran the World's fair. In addition
...more
Jack
May 21, 2014 Jack rated it liked it
A fascinating look at the story behind the 1964 World's Fair in NYC. Set against the back drop of the Civil Rights movement, Beatlemania and the Kennedy assassination, the describes the single minded determination of one man to get the job done. While previous World Fairs had introduced the world to the Ferris wheel and ice cream cones, the 1964 fair also had elements to showcase. Walt Disney prototyped "it's a small world", Abe Lincoln ambitronics and EPCOT at the fair. Also America was ...more
Frank
Feb 17, 2016 Frank rated it really liked it
An excellent book on a pivotal time and place in American history. The only thing that keeps me from giving this book five stars is I think the author spent an excessive amount of time on the Beatles and Bob Dylan. He should have written another book about the music of the time. That being said I highly recommend this book. I had no idea how much was going on in the town of my birth at the time of my birth.
Josh
May 21, 2014 Josh rated it liked it
Shelves: history
A fascinating look at America in the first half of the 1960s - politically, racially, artistically. Wish there was more about individual reactions to the fair itself...although maybe it reflects the period where he Fair was consumed by everything around it. There was little on innovations from the Fair (none?) the reaction to Disney's creations, individual responses to seeing foreign cultures up close. Felt like a drive-by of the Fair.
Katie
May 10, 2014 Katie rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Well researched and interesting overview of the 1964-65 World's Fair set in the context of American politics, Civil Rights, and music of the time. Tirella could have used a good editor, but otherwise a very enjoyable read.
Batya7
Nov 28, 2016 Batya7 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
For me, the 1964-65 World's Fair in New York City was THE World's Fair. I was 6 years old in the summer of 1964 when my family went to the fair. I can still remember many of the exhibits and the energy of being there. I was too young to have any direct knowledge of the dealings behind the decisions leading up to its establishment or construction. I was glad to have a book which put the background and mood in perspective.

Joseph Tirella's treatment gives excellent taste of the history, politics, a
...more
Adam
Jul 19, 2016 Adam rated it liked it
When we speak of "progress" in relation to American history, we speak of two dichotomous elements: those who envisioned change, and those responsible for making that change a reality. Capitalists, industrialists, politicos, and robber barons dreamed of railroads and oil fields, of rising cityscapes and vast homesteads, of rivers spanned by steel and gateways blasted through mountains; and to accomplish these dreams, they employed the poor and desperate, many of them new to the nation and from ...more
Viridian5
Mar 18, 2014 Viridian5 rated it it was ok
In the midst of Robert Moses creating a 1964-65 World's Fair showing a Tomorrow-Land, with the idea of using the no doubt massive profits to turn Flushing Meadows Corona Park into the crown jewel of his park system, the US was changing faster and in ways he didn't expect or often acknowledge. It was a financial failure, partly from race riots, skyrocketing crime, changing tastes, culture wars, etc. but also from his mismanagement and willful cluelessness. Tomorrow-Land: The 1964-65 World's Fair ...more
Biblio Files
Jan 27, 2014 Biblio Files rated it really liked it
It's only January, 2014, and there's already an avalanche of 50th anniversary books about 1964. How to choose? I like to opt for accounts with an unusual perspective. Tomorrow-Land looks at 1964-65 by focusing on the World's Fair in New York. Author Joseph Tirella centers on the Fair and its planner, Robert Moses, while widening the scope to include the atmosphere beyond the Flushing Meadows Fairgrounds to include music, art, and the Civil Rights Movement.

While the Fair took shape and the planni
...more
Bill Howard
Sep 22, 2016 Bill Howard rated it really liked it
Interesting work centered on Robert Moses and the New York World's Fair of 1964-65. I visited the fair and was looking for a book about the fair to help jog my memory. While the book hits on many of the highlights of the fair its primary focus is the political and cultural struggles that surrounded the fair and Robert Moses.
Maxine
Dec 10, 2014 Maxine rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished, owned
*This book was given to me in a publisher's sweepstakes*

Many popular histories and biographies try hard, too hard, to be "relevant" and draw paralells between the past and the future. Tomorrow-Land does not committ this sin; instead, it presents an era when America's triumphs and travails truly mirrored today's dilemmas. Telling the rocky story of the 64-65 World's Fair in New York, the book closely follows the outsize personalities of the day, hopping between the saga of the Fair itself and t

...more
G.
Sep 20, 2016 G. rated it really liked it
This book was not what I expected, it was much more. I was expecting a straight up history of the fair. Instead its a broad overview of the changes wrought in American society in the mid to early 60s and how they were (or were not) reflected in the fair.
Robert
Dec 22, 2014 Robert rated it it was amazing
Joseph Tirella’s TOMORROW-LAND is a very interesting and entertaining read. Having gone to the 1964 New York World’s Fair a couple of times as a kid, and living just a couple of miles from the site now, I was especially looking forward to reading this book, and I wasn't the least bit disappointed. Quite the opposite in fact…it was way more interesting than I had expected, and one need not have experienced the Fair or live in NYC to appreciate it. The 60s was an amazing decade, and it’s both ...more
Erin
Sep 26, 2013 Erin rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received an ARC through the First Reads program.

I was primarily interested in this book because I am a big Disney fan, and Walt Disney was a major contributor to the 64-65 World's Fair. I've visited Disneyland and seen some of the attractions that originated at the World's Fair and was excited to learn a little more about their history. Needless to say, these were my favorite stories of Tirella's book. Learning about how Disney used the World's Fair as an opportunity to create new technologies
...more
Ralph
May 21, 2014 Ralph rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
I saw the 1964 New York World's Fair from the vantage point of Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., and even spoke to some of the fairgoers via videophone, something unimpressive now but nothing short of magic back in the day. The fair, for me, might just as well have been in Oz or on Barsoom, as NYC, as all seemed about equally distant, or accessible. I had no idea of how the fair had come into being, the deadly currents of politics and social turmoil it's creators had to navigate to bring the fair ...more
Elizabeth
Jan 12, 2016 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
The 1964-65 World's Fair was advertised as "The World of Tomorrow." Even at the time, it was described as "the world of today," and indeed it was. I went a few times and like all events, it was fun. The cars, the Disney animation, the Pieta! I'm not sure it had much to do with the "transformation of America," but the times were certainly a changin'.

In a way the fair was a glimpse back--John Kennedy had been assassinated and the world seemed in turmoil. Robert Moses, of course in charge of the fa
...more
Jane
Feb 26, 2014 Jane rated it liked it
Tomorrow-Land is an interesting book about the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair and the transformation of America. Although I can understand why the two are thought to be connected, I find it difficult to follow the thesis that "the World's Fair was a flashpoint in American history and for two years was a cultural nexus at the center of American politics, pop culture, technology, urban planning, and civil rights" (quoted from the book jacket). Mr. Tirella did a very nice job of narrating the ...more
Steve
Dec 08, 2015 Steve rated it liked it
Yup. It accumulates a lot of details about A) the World's Fair and B) life in the U.S. at that time. Weaving together the complex behind-the-scenes maneuvering to make the Fair happen with the intensity of Civil Rights battles, the revolution in popular music, heightened awareness of crime, and political infighting, Tirella knows how to keep a story moving. What he lacks in true insight, he makes up for in referring to journalism of the time and a plethora of richer looks at each individual ...more
Paul
Mar 10, 2015 Paul rated it really liked it
An interesting account of the 1964-65 New York World's Fair and how the events at and in the vicinity of the Fair reflected changes in American society of that time. You could plausibly argue - as the author does - that the period immediately before and during the Fair was when what we now think of as "The Sixties" began, and the book covers many events related to New York and the Fair that showcase it, from milestones in race relations and pushbacks to urban renewal to the emergence of the ...more
Bob
Feb 13, 2016 Bob rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 4-star, 2016
The center of this nonfiction work is the 1964-65 World's Fair in Queens, NY. "Peace Through Understanding" was the motto for the fair. The fair did not take place in isolation. All of the U.S. and world events prior to and during the fair had either a direct or indirect affect; racial strife, labor strife, Vietnam War, Cold War...
The lives of those who had an impact on the event; Robert Moses (Master Builder of New York), John F. Kennedy, Walt Disney, Lyndon Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr.,
...more
Lisa-Michele
Jan 06, 2016 Lisa-Michele rated it liked it
This is a fascinating look at an anachronistic effort to celebrate America’s “gospel of consumerism” by holding a World’s Fair in New York City, while all the racial tensions percolated, the Vietnam War started and the President was assassinated. Before reading this, I didn’t really understand the point of World’s Fairs. I am not sure I do now, either. But the commentary on American culture was riveting. We are audacious. I learned about pavilions from obscure countries that featured ...more
Joe Fahey
Mar 09, 2014 Joe Fahey rated it really liked it
I was excited to see this book at the store, having attended the World's Fair several times while living in New York as a kid. The Fair was a big part of my family's life and took place in a very fascinating era of American history. The book took a while to get rolling, plenty of history and background to establish in the story of the Fair's organizer, Robert Moses, an urban planner who shaped much of the parkway system of New York.


When the book does kick in though, it's a fascinating story set
...more
Rod Hensel
Mar 13, 2014 Rod Hensel rated it liked it
World's Fairs have always fascinated me for the forecast of what the future will be like. The 1964 World's Fair in New York was the most extravagant forecast yet, funded by America's biggest companies and rooted in the "go to the moon" optimism of the Kennedy administration. This book details how it all happened, led by master manipulator and planner Robert Moses, the man who literally invented urban sprawl and the squandering of natural resources for highways. A bureaucrat so powerful Governors ...more
Jackie
Apr 26, 2014 Jackie rated it really liked it
I had trouble putting this book down once I started it. I have always been fascinated by Flushing Meadows Park. Home of my favorite baseball team, as well as one of the most important tennis events in the world, growing up the park seemed to have all these 'almost amenities'. I always knew there was a World's Fair, 2 actually, and wondered how these beauties of the park were just left over. The author does a great job of putting it all together. Robert Moses, the Master Builder, had envisioned ...more
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