Twilight at the World of Tomorrow: Genius, Madness, Murder, and the 1939 World's Fair on the Brink of War [Audiobook] - Love!
What is it about World's Fairs and craziness and/or horrible ironies? Though I've not finished Devil in the White City, I know those two things play a part and the Fairs talked about in Dawn of the Belle Epoque seemed to attract these issues as well!
I'm beginning to rethink my wish to visit a World's Fair before I die!
New York's Fair of 1939 took place amid the disaster of The Great Depression and the coming storm of WWII. Something that was suppose to reclaim land long an eyesore, bring needed revenue to the city, celebrate scientific advances and the promise of tomorrow, and reiterate the goal of peace in the World failed on all counts. Even as the fair was going on, pavilions were being built or were maintained for countries that no longer existed. War was coming and even Einstein knew it by the end of the fair. Science advances gave way to entertainment to try and entice people through the gates, and their fairy tale future was too expensive for people at the time to believe and would soon cease to be a possibility because of the growing conflict. Also, the science they were celebrating would help bring about the destructive end of the war in Japan. The fair was a fiscal disaster and the bond holders barely got their money back, much less brought money to the city. As for the land, it was suppose to be used as a park afterwards, but these buildings that had been built to celebrate peace instead housed military as the U.S. entered WWII. It's all but pathetic.
All of this doesn't even get into the often larger then life people who brought the World's Fair into existence, those that played a part good or bad in it, and those touched by it. Politics, interesting people, the world moving towards the point of no return, and bomb threats and explosions all come together to make this an interesting and thought-provoking read. Politics don't tend to interest me, but I couldn't stop listening to this.
I spent all those hours wondering who'd read this book and thinking how well they captured the writing style, making this very interesting to listen to. When I found out the author read this, I was both surprised and not. I've had mixed experiences with authors reading their work: some are brilliant while others really should have someone else bring their creations to life. This book, however, felt like the author was having a very long, very detailed conversation with you. Not to everyone's taste perhaps, but I love learning from knowledgeable people.
I recommend this book if you're interested, as I am, in the history of World's Fairs and/or the lead up to WWII. This is an interesting story of history I've never head before and am glad I learned about it now and from such a fun book!