The End of the Innocence
The 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair
Lawrence R. Samuel
Narrated by Richard Teimer
Approximately 11 hours
Book published by Syracuse University Press
From April 1964 to October 1965, some 52 million people from around the world flocked to the New York World’s Fair, an experience that lives on in the memory of many individuals and in America’s collective consciousness. Taking a perceptive look back at "the last of the great world’s fairs," Samuel offers a vivid portrait of this seminal event and of the cultural climate that surrounded it. He also counters critics’ assessments of the fair as the "ugly duckling" of global expositions. Opening five months after President Kennedy’s assassination, the fair allowed millions to celebrate international fellowship while the conflict in Vietnam came to a boil. This event was perhaps the last time so many from so far could gather to praise harmony while ignoring cruel realities on such a gargantuan scale. This world’s fair glorified the postwar American dream of limitless optimism even as a counterculture of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll came into being. It could rightly be called the last gasp of that dream.
Samuel’s work charts the fair from inception in 1959 to demolition in 1966 and provides a broad overview of the social and cultural dynamics that led to the birth of the event. It also traces thematic aspects of the fair, with its focus on science, technology, and the world of the future. Accessible, entertaining, and informative.
Lawrence R. Samuel is the founder of Culture Planning LLC, a Miami– and New York–based resource offering cultural insight to Fortune 500 organizations. He is the author of The End of the Innocence: The 1964–1965 New York World’s Fair, Future: A Recent History, Rich: The Rise and Fall of American Wealth Culture, Freud on Madison Avenue: Motivation Research and Subliminal Advertising in America, Supernatural America: A Cultural History, and a number of other books.
“An overdue and well-deserved encomium to a largely denigrated chapter in [New York] city’s history.”
—The New York Times
“A poetic masterpiece, thought-provoking, and of sound scholarship.”
—New York Talks and Walks
“Samuel has a warm and conversational tone as he journeys back to the 1964–65 World’s Fair.... His book will appeal both to readers who were at the fair and those who would like to learn about it.”
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