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The Vertigo Years: Change And Culture In The West, 1900-1914

Philipp Blom

4 Reviews

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Prose: non-fiction, History, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000, Social & cultural history

A panorama of Europe, 1900-1914, describing the cultural, economic and political life before the First World War.

Europe, early in the twentieth century: a world adrift, a pulsating era of creativity and contradictions. But did this era vanish in the trenches of the Somme, of Ypres and of Passchendaele? Look closer and the more this world seems like ours: feminism, democratisation, commercial branding, genetics, consumerism and racism, radioactivity and psychoanalysis are all terms first used during this period.

This was a time in which old certainties broke down and many people lost their bearings. At the heart of this vibrant Europe, was a contradiction that would cause its collapse: the new, modern world of mass production, urban life, technological warfare and a rapidly growing working class that was still ruled by men who preferred the image of dashing cavalry officers to the prosaic slaughter of the machine gun, and national mythology to political cohesion and democracy.

The eventual scope of the catastrophe often obscures the fact that the great cultural divide in Europe's history lies before 1914. This book brings to life the immediacy of the lives and issues of this fascinating and flawed period.

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Praise for The Vertigo Years: Change And Culture In The West, 1900-1914

  • offers stimulating insights into the period and is illuminating on Austrian contributions to the innovative ferment of the time - SUNDAY TIMES

  • [Blom] aims both to highlight the prophetic power of the first globalised age...and to shun the easy hindsight that would throw the blight of the Great War back over all that came before. It's a tough course, but one he negotiates in style. - INDEPENDENT

  • Blom's is an ambitious project that delivers a fascinating whistle-stop tour of European history - DAILY TELEGRAPH - Naomi Booth

  • A breathtaking account of a world in flux told with engaging attention to detail. - BIG ISSUE IN THE NORTH

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