on October 14, 2009
Bill Cotter has collected and assembled some of the most interesting images from the 1939 New York World's Fair I've ever seen. Many are from actual visitors to the Fair, and therefore offer a truer perspective of what it must have been like than the professional, official photographs. You often see real people wandering about among the exhibits and buildings, and overall you get a truer "snapshot" of a moment during its brief lifespan.
Moreover, the details and descriptions go way beyond ordinary captions. There is quite a bit of solid information here. Highly recommended for everyone from those who have studied the Fair to the casual observer.
This is a fascinating look at the 1939 World's Fair, a fair which saw both the hopes of many for a peaceful future based on scientific and technological progress and the opening rounds of the Second World War, with many pavilions closing or operating with their flags at half mast as the totalitarian regimes began their march of conquest. Probably the most famous of the world fairs, the 1939 has some of the most memorable imagery and indeed a lot of the material associated with the fair is highly collectible today. The USSR had a pavilion, as did the Belgium Congo and one that celebrated Italy's fascist regime. Trains and planes were celebrated as harbingers of progress and parachute rides let those daring enough to go up see the fair from high up. It could have used some more concept shots or photos which established the overall look of the pavilions but virtually all of the photos were first rate. A great book by itself or for background on other material about the 1939 World's Fair or the 1930s.
on July 29, 2014
My mother always spoke about her childhood New York World's Fair in 1939. I went to the 1963-64 New York World's Fair, and I remember after we had been the first time, she expressed disappointment and said it did not measure up to the 1939 one. She tried to describe some of the buildings and displays that made the biggest impression on her, but it was hard for me to visualize it all. This book was exactly what I needed. Clear photos and simple text. I only wish it had been published before my mother passed away because we both would have enjoyed sitting down with this book as she elaborated on what she remembered.