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Material Worldby Peter Menzel
Synopses & Reviews
We are witnessing the emergence of a unified world economy, as exemplified by NAFTA and GATT, that will, in theory, make goods available at cheaper prices, create new jobs throughout the world, raise standards of living, and benefit the average family. However, population growth and resource exploitation will also affect these potential benefits as patterns of consumption change. In stunning photographs and text, Material World demonstrates the present context for the emerging global economy, what it means to be "statistically average," by displaying families in more than thirty nations outside their homes - with all their possessions in view.
Among the 350 stunning images are those of a family in lush Samoa juxtaposed with a Kuwaiti family and the two Mercedes-Benzes parked outside their desert home; a family in Iceland posing with their treasured string instruments while a family in Sarajevo huddles outside their bullet-ridden apartment. The text describes what it means to be "average" in each of thirty very dissimilar cultures and the impact of each way of life on the local environment. Statistical information about each country accompanies the photo-essays so that readers can easily compare one culture with another.
Material World is a fascinating portrait of multicultural diversity and a preview of emerging issues raised by the impact of the global economy on the cultural heritage of the human community.
Book News Annotation:
A fascinating project--sponsored by a number of international organizations--resulting in this richly intriguing book (it will get well-deserved promotion and distribution via all sorts of media). Sixteen photographers traveled to 30 nations to live for a week with families that are "statistically average" for that nation. At the end of each visit, photographer and subjects collaborated on a portrait of the family, outside of its home, surrounded by all of its material possessions--a few jars and jugs for some, an abundance of electronic gadgetry for others. The 360 color photos are accompanied by information about the standard of living in each country, notes by the photographers about their experiences, and profiles of family members and their lives.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
In an unprecedented effort, sixteen of the worldand#8217;s foremost photographers traveled to thirty nations around the globe to live for a week with families that were statistically average for that nation. At the end of each visit, photographer and family collaborated on a remarkable portrait of the family members outside their home, surrounded by all of their possessionsand#151;a few jars and jugs for some, an explosion of electronic gadgetry for others. Vividly portraying the look and feel of the human condition everywhere on Earth, this internationally acclaimed bestseller puts a human face on the issues of population, environment, social justice, and consumption as it illuminates the crucial question facing our species today: Can all six billion of us have all the things we want?
In stunning photos and text, Material World demonstrates the present context for the emerging global economy by displaying families in more than 30 nations outside their homes--with all their possessions in view. Statistical information accompanies the photo-essay, so readers can compare one culture with another. 350 color photos.
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