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When New York’s Parks Commissioner Robert Moses began planning the 1964–65 World’s Fair in 1961, he enjoyed the support of President John F. Kennedy and many wealthy businessmen. Styled as the Master Builder, 73-year-old Moses constructed highways, bridges, and parks. But his bullying ways ran up against a new generation of political activists who threatened traffic “stall-ins” and sit-ins when the fair opened just five months after Kennedy’s assassination. While other pavilions showcased Goya, El Greco, and Michelangelo’s La Pieta, the art establishment scoffed at the New York pavilion’s pop artists Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol. Tirella’s story flows with a wealth of historical content that reveals how strongly the World’s Fair reflected the times. He covers, for example, the rise of Malcolm X, Bob Dylan, and the Beatles, and how the fair highlighted new inventions, including color TVs and shiny Ford Mustangs. Walt Disney even introduced concepts there that ended up in his nascent Florida theme park, including a ride-around-the-world exhibit filled with tiny singing dolls. Yes, it was a small world, after all. --Laurie Borman
—Gay Talese, author of The Kingdom and the Power, The Bridge, and A Writer's Life
—Emily Raboteau, author of Searching for Zion: The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora
“With Tomorrow-Land, Joseph Tirella makes a riveting case for Queens, New York, as the origin of all that is great and modern in today’s America. If you’ve ever wondered what Robert Moses, Andy Warhol, and Malcolm X have in common, this book connects the dots and more. Tirella breathes in all the tumult and cultural vertigo surrounding the 1964 World’s Fair, and exhales an intoxicating swirl of pure possibility.”
—Alec Foege, author of The Tinkerers: The Amateurs, DIYers, and Inventors Who Make America Great
“This book is filled with fascinating stories about global political contests between the Soviet Union and the United States, domestic protests against social inequality, the politics of massive resistance waged by conservatives of both major parties, corporations playing social engineering games, America becoming a multicultural nation, and New York City experiencing massive physical change. Joseph Tirella’s Tomorrow-Land takes us back in time fifty years and documents through thorough research and wonderful narrative how the World’s Fair fell short of its goal to promote, ‘Peace Through Understanding,’ but still managed to give America an accurate vision of its future self.”
—Brian Purnell, Africana Studies and History, Bowdoin College, and author of Fighting Jim Crow in the County of Kings: The Congress of Racial Equality in Brooklyn
“First-time author Tirella, a former reporter for the New York Times, adroitly switches focus from [Robert] Moses and the fair to external events in the city, nation and world and back again, following several disparate threads—the civil rights dialectic between Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., a New York City obscenity crusade that targeted Lenny Bruce and the gay bohemian subculture, the parallel paths of the Beatles and Bob Dylan, the escalation of the Vietnam War—and never losing control of the narrative’s forward momentum…. [T]he World’s Fair provides an excellent perspective on the 1960s in America…. Top-notch popular history.”
"A model of accessible narrative, showing the author’s immersion in archival research, this book will be appreciated most by those who love reading about Sixties or New York City history or, of course, world’s fairs."
Tomorrow Land was a very interesting look at the post JFK era and the actual start of the 1960's. The Civil Rights marches, Dylan, Beatles, LBJ, are all touched on in this book. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Grimston
Not nearly enough pictures. I attended the Worlds Fair that year. I wanted to reminisce with some pics.Published 5 months ago by Susan Descutner Kaspersen
Couldn't get into this book.....starts out way too slow, very boring.Published 7 months ago by S. Young
I both enjoyed the book and found it informative, even acknowledging the many miscues. As a long time fan of Margaret Keane, I was disappointed that her husband was still being... Read morePublished 7 months ago by wckercher2
It's OK. Only Ok. It is way, way too heavy on the racial stuff. I was interested in the fair, not the civil rights struggle. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Canonfog
As one who visited the World's Fair in July 1965 when I was 13, I read this book to get the back story of what I remember so vividly. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great book! Anyone who is a NYC history buff, this book is a great read!Published 9 months ago by S. kontarinis
Very interesting perspective on the Fair and the times. The World's Fair was planned with the optimism of the Baby Boomers and the '50s in mind, but it came up against a... Read morePublished 10 months ago by S. Lewis