Lawrence R.Samuel

The End of the Innocence

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From April 1964 to October 1965, some 52 million people from around
the world flocked to the New York World’s Fair, an experience that lives
on in the memory of many individuals and in America’s collective consciousness.
Taking a perceptive look back at «the last of the great world’s
fairs," Samuel offers a vivid portrait of this seminal event and of the
cultural climate that surrounded it. He also counters critics’ assessments
of the fair as the “ugly duckling” of global expositions. Opening five
months after President Kennedy’s assassination, the fair allowed millions
to celebrate international fellowship while the conflict in Vietnam came
to a boil. This event was perhaps the last time so many from so far could
gather to praise harmony while ignoring cruel realities on such a gargantuan
scale. This world’s fair glorified the postwar American dream of
limitless optimism even as a counterculture of sex, drugs, and rock `n` roll
came into being. It could rightly be called the last gasp of that dream:
The End of the Innocence.
Samuel’s work charts the fair from inception in 1959 to demolition in
1966 and provides a broad overview of the social and cultural dynamics
that led to the birth of the event. It also traces thematic aspects of the
fair, with its focus on science, technology, and the world of the future. Accessible,
entertaining, and informative, the book is richly illustrated with
contemporary photographs.
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