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Born 1900 [Paperback]

Hunter Davies


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Book Description

4 Nov 1999
The Labour Party, the DAILY EXPRESS, West Ham United FC, Birmingham University and the opera TOSCA all have one thing in common with the Queen Mother. They all saw the light of day in the year 1900. Author and interviewer Hunter Davies has had the brilliant idea of following our century through these people and institutions, casting vivid light and new perspectives on how we live now - and how we lived then. Why isn't education as valued today? Where are the great philanthropists? Why does work have so little meaning when it's all people do? These are some of the questions provoked by Hunter Davies' interviewees and their candid recollections of being born with the century. Amid huge technological changes, it is the lack of community, most people's belief that they live in an uncaring world, that defines the century's end.

Product details

  • Paperback: 389 pages
  • Publisher: Time Warner Paperbacks; New edition edition (4 Nov 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751526509
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751526509
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.6 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,218,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

What do hamburgers, the Labour Party, Freud's Interpretation of Dreams, The Queen Mother, and Len Vale-Onslow, Birmingham motorcycle mechanic, all have in common? They were all born in 1900, and are just some of the figures discussed in Hunter Davies' Born 1900: A Human History of the Twentieth Century.

Davies' book is a great concept. If, as has been suggested recently, the 20th century is The People's Century, then what better way to take stock of the epoch than through the oral testimony of a group of people born in 1900? Add to this some of the institutions and objects which have defined the century, and you have the basis for a wonderful and fascinating book. Many of Davies' interviews and stories are a joy, such as the remarkable story of Dorothy Ellis, devout Quaker and one of the few female undergraduates to study at the University of Birmingham-- another 1900 babe examined by Davies.

Unfortunately Born 1900 tends to play safe in its subject matter, and as a result often falls into banality. Interviews with people pushing a hundred can never be easy, but what about the issues which have really defined the century? Where's the political conflict? Where's the impact of industrialisation and new media? Where's the sex? Speaking of sex, the chapters on objects and institutions also disappoint, as in the discussion of Freud's.contribution. If the 20th century really was like this, then we're in serious trouble from future generations. --Jerry Brotton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'Interesting, readable, well-written... An excellent book. Put it on your presents list, preferably for yourself, immediately.' SCOTSMAN 'Good listeners make good reporters, and Davies is a superb listener. If you see the twentieth century as an unremitting tragedy, this is the antidote.' SUNDAY TIMES 'Fascinating.' DAILY TELEGRAPH 'A fine read.' FOCUS 'What do hamburgers, the Labour Party, Freud's Interpretation of Dreams, The Queen Mother, and Len Vale-Onslow, Birmingham motorcycle mechanic, all have in common? They were all born in 1900, and are just some of the figures discussed in Hunter Davies' Born 1900: A Human History of the Twentieth Century. Davies' book is a great concept. If, as has been suggested recently, the 20th century is The People's Century, then what better way to take stock of the epoch than through the oral testimony of a group of people born in 1900? Add to this some of the institutions and objects which have defined the century, and you have the basis for a wonderful and fascinating book. Many of Davies' interviews and stories are a joy, such as the remarkable story of Dorothy Ellis, devout Quaker and one of the few female undergraduates to study at the University of Birmingham-- another 1900 babe examined by Davies. Unfortunately Born 1900 tends to play safe in its subject matter, and as a result often falls into banality. Interviews with people pushing a hundred can never be easy, but what about the issues which have really defined the century? Where's the political conflict? Where's the impact of industrialisation and new media? Where's the sex? Speaking of sex, the chapters on objects and institutions also disappoint, as in the discussion of Freud's contribution. If the 20th century really was like this, then we're in serious trouble from future generations.' - Jerry Brotton

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