Synopses & Reviews
Europe, 19001914: a world adrift, a pulsating era of creativity and contradictions. The major topics of the day: terrorism, globalization, immigration, consumerism, the collapse of moral values, and the rivalry of superpowers. The twentieth century was not born in the trenches of the Somme or Passchendaelebut rather in the fifteen vertiginous years preceding World War I.
In this short span of time, a new world order was emerging in ultimately tragic contradiction to the old. These were the years in which the political and personal repercussions of the Industrial Revolution were felt worldwide: Cities grew like never before as people fled the countryside and their traditional identities; science created new possibilities as well as nightmares; education changed the outlook of millions of people; mass-produced items transformed daily life; industrial laborers demanded a share of political power; and women sought to change their place in societyas well as the very fabric of sexual relations.
From the tremendous hope for a new century embodied in the 1900 Worlds Fair in Paris to the shattering assassination of a Habsburg archduke in Sarajevo in 1914, historian Philipp Blom chronicles this extraordinary epoch year by year. Prime Ministers and peasants, anarchists and actresses, scientists and psychopaths intermingle on the stage of a new century in this portrait of an opulent, unstable age on the brink of disaster.
Beautifully written and replete with deftly told anecdotes, The Vertigo Years brings the wonders, horrors, and fears of the early twentieth century vividly to life.
The vertiginous atmosphere of a tumbling prewar societyat the same time exciting and frighteningis described with atmospheric clarity. The combination of easily worn scholarship, fascinating character studies and fluent story-telling that is often very funny makes this a hugely enjoyable and illuminating book.... A work of narrative history at its best.”
Impressive and thought-provoking
encapsulate[s] complex historical and biographical events pithily and in an illuminating context.... The book brings the fears, enthusiasms and blindspots of the period brilliantly to life.”
Globe and Mail
In this enthralling, panoramic sweep of the 15 years preceding the First World War, Blom convincingly argues that it was this decade and a half that truly marked the start of the modern age, with all its grandeur and calamities.... With his impressive synthesis of historical literature, old and recent, and his finely drawn portraits of both emperors and workers, Blom's Vertigo Years will surely enlighten and interest another generation of readers in an era far in the past, yet worth understanding all the same.”
New York Review of Books
[Blom] brings an appealing energy and curiosity, and occasional humor, to his subject.... [He] has been remarkably successful at synthesizing a wide range of material, creating a panorama of the whole European culture during this frantic time.”
Engrossing.... Imaginative.... A multifaceted, panoramic approach animated by vivacious narration of individual stories.”
Wall Street Journal
Mr. Blom gives us a picture of a Europe that, in spite of its wealth and sprawling empires, had become profoundly uncertain of itself.”
Blom is an amazingly talented writer who seamlessly draws the cultural and philosophical connections between art, science, politics, culture, literature and society as a whole.... Two thumbs WAY UP for The Vertigo Years.”
From 1900 to 1914, Europe was a world adrift. In this short span of timebetween the death of Queen Victoria and the outbreak of World War Ia new world order was emerging. In The Vertigo Years
, historian Philipp Blom chronicles this conflicted epoch year by year, creating a unique anatomy of a pivotal era.
From the advent of fascism to cubist painting, from the theory of relativity to consumer culture, Blom shows how the years between 1900 and 1914 molded the entire twentieth century. With deftly-told anecdotes and a novelists sensitivity for poignancy, Bloms work brings the wonders, horrors, and fears of the early twentieth century vividly to life.
From 1900 to 1914, Europe was a world adrift. In this short span of time--between the death of Queen Victoria and the outbreak of World War I--a new world order was emerging. In "The Vertigo Years," historian Philipp Blom chronicles this conflicted epoch year by year, creating a unique anatomy of a pivotal era.
From the advent of fascism to cubist painting, from the theory of relativity to consumer culture, Blom shows how the years between 1900 and 1914 molded the entire twentieth century. With deftly-told anecdotes and a novelist's sensitivity for poignancy, Blom's work brings the wonders, horrors, and fears of the early twentieth century vividly to life.
The old order gives way to the new in a vast panoramic history of Europe on the brink of the Great War.
About the Author
Philipp Blom holds a doctorate from Oxford University and is the author of To Have and To Hold and Enlightening the World. He frequently contributes articles to The Financial Times, The Independent, and The Guardian among others. He lives in Vienna.
Table of Contents
1. 1900: The Dynamo and the Virgin
2. 1901: The Changing of the Guard
3. 1902: Oedipus Rex
4. 1903: A Strange Luminescence
5. 1904: His Majesty and Mister Morel
6. 1905: In All Fury
7. 1906: Dreadnought and Anxiety
8. 1907: Dreams and Visions
9. 1908: Ladies with Rocks
10. 1909: The Cult of the Fast Machine
11. 1910: Human Nature Changed
12. 1911: Peoples Palaces
13. 1912: Questions of Breeding
14. 1913: Wagners Crime
15. 1914: Murder Most Foul