Synopses & Reviews
Since the first worldandrsquo;s fair in London in 1851, at the dawn of the era of industrialization, international expositions served as ideal platforms for rival nations to showcase their advancements in design, architecture, science and technology, industry, and politics. Before the outbreak of World War II, countries competing for leadership on the world stage waged a different kind of warandmdash;with cultural achievements and propagandaandmdash;appealing to their own national strengths and versions of modernity in the struggle for power. and#160;Worldandrsquo;s Fairs on the Eve of War examines five fairs and expositions from across the globeandmdash;including three that were staged (Paris, 1937; Dusseldorf, 1937; and New York, 1939andndash;40), and two that were in development before the war began, but never executed (Tokyo, 1940; and Rome, 1942). This coauthored work considers representations of science and technology at worldandrsquo;s fairs as influential cultural forces, and at a critical moment in history, when tensions and ideological divisions between political regimes would soon lead to war.
andldquo;This is an original, well-executed account of a neglected facet of the history of international exhibitions. As a contribution to our understanding of a passage in history in which democratic, communist, and reactionary/fascist regimes all used international exhibitions as a vehicle for displaying their antagonistic wares, this is a book that was waiting to be written.andrdquo;
andmdash;Robert Fox, University of Oxford
andldquo;Worldandrsquo;s fairs of the 1930s are sometimes remembered as funhouse mirrors of artistic and architectural modernism. This thought-provoking book takes a different view, underscoring their seriousness of purpose in branding nationsand#160;as they prepared for war.and#160;Students of cultural and public diplomacy will find this an eye-opening study.andrdquo;
and#160;andmdash;Robert Rydell, Montana State University, and author of World of Fairs: The Century-of-Progress Expositions
About the Author
Robert H. Kargon
is the Willis K. Shepard Professor of the History of Science at Johns Hopkins University.
Karen Fiss is professor of visual studies and design at California College of the Arts.
Morris Low is associate professor of Japanese history at University of Queensland, Australia.
Arthur P. Molella is director of the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Smithsonian Institution.