The Year Before the Storm

Book - 2013
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Random House, Inc.
An International Bestseller

“An absolute gem of a book.” —The Observer

Just before one of its darkest moments came the twentieth century’s most exciting year . . .

It was the year Henry Ford first put a conveyer belt in his car factory, and the year Louis Armstrong first picked up a trumpet. It was the year Charlie Chaplin signed his first movie contract, and Coco Chanel and Prada opened their first dress shops. It was the year Proust began his opus, Stravinsky wrote The Rite of Spring, and the first Armory Show in New York introduced the world to Picasso and the world of abstract art. It was the year the recreational drug now known as ecstasy was invented.

It was 1913, the year before the world plunged into the catastrophic darkness of World War I.

In a witty yet moving narrative that progresses month by month through the year, and is interspersed with numerous photos and documentary artifacts (such as Kafka’s love letters), Florian Illies ignores the conventions of the stodgy tome so common in “one year” histories. Forefronting cultural matters as much as politics, he delivers a charming and riveting tale of a world full of hope and unlimited possibility, peopled with amazing characters and radical politics, bristling with new art and new technology . . . even as ominous storm clouds began to gather.

Baker & Taylor
A month-by-month history of the year 1913, chronicling the important cultural and political events that took place.

Book News
In annal form, Illies walks readers through the the last year before the advent of industrial warfare. Thee events he notes are political, social, cultural, literary, musical, and now historical. Among examples are Picasso owns three Siamese cats, Marcel Duchamp only two. The 1913 defence expenditure accounted for two percent of gross domestic product of Austria-Hungry, 3.9 percent in the German Reich, and 4.8 percent in France. Rainier Maria Rilke is treated for a toothache at Berlin's Western Hospital. Photographs, drawings, and monochrome reproductions of paintings are included. Annotation ©2014 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Publisher: Brooklyn, NY : Melville House Pub., 2013
ISBN: 9781612193519
Branch Call Number: 940.288 Ill
Characteristics: 268 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Alternative Title: Nineteen thirteen


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