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Exit to Tomorrow: History of the Future, World's Fair Architecture, Design, Fashion 1933-2005 Hardcover – October 2, 2007
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Two Fairs, Chicago (1933/4) and New York (1939/40) probably deserve the extensive coverage they get in the book. Both occurred at trying times and projected a bright future courtesy of science and both had huge attendances. After the Second World War fairs gradually changed from mechanical and science oriented to the problems and suggested solutions facing man in the modern world. Whatever the theme any fair allowed designers and architects to indulge in fantasy for a few months before the structures were torn down. Fortunately there are still standing reminders of these past futures: the Atomium, Brussels (1958) the Seattle (1962) Space Needle, the Unisphere from New York (1964) or Moshe Sadie's Habitat from Montreal Expo (1967) for example.
The book's sub-title: World's Fairs Architecture, Design, Fashion 1933--2005 is basically covered pictorially with two hundred photos or more. I thought this had an inherent editorial weakness because they are mostly PR shots and unfortunately the quality various enormously. I think a much more rigorous photo selection would have helped by deleting several of the soft focus or confusing images. Strangely there is a major omission: none of the Fairs have a site map. The addition of the standard aerial or three-quarters looking down on all the exhibits and pavilions would seem an obvious graphic to include for each featured fair.
Exit Tomorrow will give you a brief overview of past optimism and the two page bibliography has plenty of books for further study, especially the wonderful New York World's Fair of 1939/40.
***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.
I could detail more errors but this is a review not a fact check, something that should have been done prior to publishing.
The rest of the text is minimal and cursory for a book claiming to be a "History of the Future...". If you are looking for interesting pictures, there are a few here that are not available elsewhere, but most are postcards and other commonly available images. The short shrift given some of the fairs like 1937 fair in Paris and more obviously the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco really detract from the book.
Overall, it's a picture book with words thrown in to fill space.
Garn's compendium of the visual memorabilia of the past showing the way things were going to look is a delectable history of our highest aspirations (and occasional follies). This is the book to give someone who's convalescing -- from a physical or better yet emotional malady. I revisit my copy often. It makes me feel happy and positive, full of wonder just as I did in 1964, greeted by the Unisphere. It may have been full of holes, but it was the world on offer. These photos amaze and amuse. They are forever.