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The New Yorker Book of the 40s: Story of a Decade Hardcover – 6 May 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 720 pages
  • Publisher: William Heinemann (6 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0434022411
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434022410
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4.4 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Think of it as one of Alice’s Wonderland potions, to be sipped from occasionally when one is in need of a dose of the extraordinary." (The Economist)

"Great stuff … it’ll take the reader a long, long time to devour everything in it." (Sunday Business Post)

"Endlessly interesting … If you haven’t yet decided where to go this summer, why not try a spell of time-travel to the Forties?" (Independent)

"An embarrassment of riches" (Herald)

"This fascinating book is a must for history fans" (The Lady)

Book Description

The cultural and poliltical history of the watershed decade of the 20th century, as told by the New Yorker.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
‘The 40s: The Story of a Decade’ prepared by The New Yorker Magazine is an extensive collection of articles that were published during the 40s in The New Yorker Magazine.

When I say extensive, I really mean it, because reader will have plenty of things to read on its more than 700 pages especially given the fact there are no photographs (at least in Kindle version I read) except for those few cover arts which were placed on each section start.

The book is divided in sections similar to those found in the magazine what makes extremely easy and convenient to skip to the parts based on your preferences you like to read and then equally easy go to some other section because this is the book you can read in whatever order you like.

When you think that more than seventy years had passed since these events were happening, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to realize there are many parallels that can be drawn with our days, of course, with the exception that names are different. I mostly enjoyed the section that discusses movies of these days, and from this time distance is very entertaining to read about the critic impressions of then released movies which are classics such as Citizen Kane.

Overall, with ‘The 40s: The Story of a Decade’ the authors did an interesting look into the past that manages to present those days probably even more interesting than was living them. We can expect in the future when someone will read a book about our times would think that the world no matter how many bad things were happening was still a better place to live.
Similar to the feeling you have when you close the last page of this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Neville Wortman on 8 Aug 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fascinating trip through the forties includes a 'blockbuster' (literally) on HIROSHIMA. My how they got it wrong on a classic film review piece of under-writing, in CASABLANCA . Is it just the passage of the years that finally makes for an iconic popular song and movie masterpiece ? - missed the coollest simmering passion of Bogart and heartbreak of Bergman.
There's so much in this Anthology only now beginning to appreciate its scope.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas John Chandler on 3 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
Beautiful writing rich and languorous, written on studied reflection rather than off the cuff as today's journalism. A.J. Liebling's account of the fall of Paris was just such a piece; showing he was well informed and well placed to write an intelligent piece balancing the officially received reports from government agencies alongside personal anecdotes of daily life of many ordinary folk that surrounded him.

A book to savour and save for moments of indulgence.
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By Adil Certel on 11 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
Excellent
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 78 reviews
61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
Step Into The New Yorker Time Machine 7 May 2014
By takingadayoff - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Weighing in at over 700 pages, The 40s: The Story of a Decade is a massive collection of pieces from The New Yorker during the 1940s. It's arranged by magazine sections, and I quickly found that I was reading the book just like I read the magazine. I was reading parts of articles, skipping to my favorite sections, returning to read that long profile I didn't have time for earlier.

I was surprised at how much the tone of the writing matches the tone of today's magazine. You could almost be reading this week's magazine, except that the article is about occupied Paris or Eleanor Roosevelt or George Orwell's new novel 1984. You've probably read some of these pieces before -- John Hersey's Hiroshima is here and so is Shirley Jackson's The Lottery.

Although the movie reviews were not given much priority in the 40s, when The New Yorker was still self-consciously a local New York magazine that emphasized local theater, not Hollywood cinema, there are some fun reviews here such as Casablanca and Citizen Kane. David Denby's introduction to the cinema section contains the surprising fact that University of Southern California offered the first degree in film studies beginning in 1932.

The kindle version seems like a good deal, especially since there are no cartoons and the only illustrations are some magazine cover art at the beginning of each section. No photographs.

(Thanks to NetGalley for a digital review copy.)
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
A Rich Volume 10 May 2014
By A Pawtuxet Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The 40s: The Story of a Decade is a remarkable compilation. Its pages are filled with writings gleaned from The New Yorker during a dramatic and pivotal decade, and represent some of the finest names in American journalism and literature.

We get to read original reviews of books (such as For Whom the Bell Tolls and 1984), plays (The Iceman Cometh, Death of a Salesman, South Pacific), and movies (for example Casablanca and Citizen Kane) before anyone knew these would be classics generations later. We learn what critics thought of music, composers, and performances, modern art, architecture, and fashion. We are treated to poetry by W. H. Auden, Langston Hughes, William Carlos Williams, Ogden Nash, and Elizabeth Bishop and a dozen short stories by a dozen writers including John Cheever (The Enormous Radio), Carson McCullers (The Jockey) and Vladimir Nabokov (Symbols and Signs).

But while the literary and arts sections of this book are a treat, the real treasure comes in the first sections: The War, American Scenes, Post-War, and Character Studies. Here we time-travel. We are on the ground in Paris in the early days of the war (before anyone knew how it would turn out) hearing of the German approach. We are witnesses to Londoners living through bombing raids. We are there with the Marines at Iwo Jima and we experience Hiroshima through the eyes of those who lived through the horror. Later we sit in on a South Carolina lynching trial, learn the campaign style differences between Dewey and Truman, and have a press-pass view of the 1949 Miss America pageant. And more.

Each section is introduced by a short commentary which orients us to what we are about to find, but this is done with a light touch that avoids doing the reading or thinking for us. The entire book is preceded by an excellent Introduction that gives the history of the New Yorker and allows us to appreciate its unique vision. Throughout the volume the writing is, of course, superb.

There is much more that could be said, but if you are a student of American life, history, or letters, you will find a great deal to enjoy, learn from, and experience in this volume. Let’s hope this book is the first in a series; The New Yorker of 50s and 60s could make for amazing reading.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Interesting look into the past that manages to present those days more exciting than living them 9 May 2014
By Denis Vukosav - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
‘The 40s: The Story of a Decade’ prepared by The New Yorker Magazine is an extensive collection of articles that were published during the 40s in The New Yorker Magazine.

When I say extensive, I really mean it, because reader will have plenty of things to read on its more than 700 pages especially given the fact there are no photographs (at least in Kindle version I read) except for those few cover arts which were placed on each section start.

The book is divided in sections similar to those found in the magazine what makes extremely easy and convenient to skip to the parts based on your preferences you like to read and then equally easy go to some other section because this is the book you can read in whatever order you like.

When you think that more than seventy years had passed since these events were happening, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to realize there are many parallels that can be drawn with our days, of course, with the exception that names are different. I mostly enjoyed the section that discusses movies of these days, and from this time distance is very entertaining to read about the critic impressions of then released movies which are classics such as Citizen Kane.

Overall, with ‘The 40s: The Story of a Decade’ the authors did an interesting look into the past that manages to present those days probably even more interesting than was living them. We can expect in the future when someone will read a book about our times would think that the world no matter how many bad things were happening was still a better place to live.
Similar to the feeling you have when you close the last page of this book.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Virtually flawless time travel 24 May 2014
By Michael A. Willhoite - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I'm most of the way through this marvelous anthology, largely reading it straight through, though doing a bit of skipping around. (Couldn't resist reading some of the stories first.) It's one of the best anthologies ever, and why not? The selections are culled from probably the greatest magazine ever published in America. It's an unbelievably generous selection, even including the entire Hiroshima by John Hersey. Some of the pieces I've read before, but I'm reading them again with pleasure. (One can never re-read Joseph Mitchell too often.) I have only a few tiny quibbles. The story by John O'Hara is surprisingly drab and pointless. And the fashion writing by Lois Long is simply not for everyone. Her blithe writing style, however, merits inclusion. I agree with a reviewer above: this should lead to other decade anthologies. The 1950s and 1930s cry out for collecting. The 40s, Story of a Decade is one of the happiest purchases I've made in a long time. Bravo!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Parts of this book were fascinating, some, not ... 26 Aug 2014
By Paul Brewer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Parts of this book were fascinating, some, not so much. There is certainly something in it for everyone. Poetry, check. Short stories, check. Interesting history, check. It may not be a book one chooses to read cover-to-cover, but I feel anyone will find parts of it more than interesting.
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