Reference Bruce Bernard Century

ISBN 13: 9780714838489

Century

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9780714838489: Century

Before even opening this award-winning book, you are struck by the sheer physical presence of Century. With 1,120 pages and 1,072 images, this colossal volume offers an informative, intimate and incisive insight into the twentieth century from the very beginning to the very end. Century is an extensive historical trajectory through the twentieth century, told through an eclectic yet exhaustive sequence of monumental photographic images. More than any other before it, the twentieth century was one of unforeseeable advances, discoveries and victories as well as unanticipated atrocities and suffering. It was also the first century to have been documented entirely through the lens of the camera. The chronological journey of Century - in a visually extraordinary sequence of images - takes us from the end of Queen Victoria's reign, through the antics of Buster Keaton and the odyssey into outer space and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Assimilated from diverse sources across the world, the photographs are instantly arresting and tirelessly thought-provoking. Selected for their capacity to expose distinctly human stories with the dynamism that drives historical change, the tome combines iconic images with photographs previously unseen, from international political events to highly personal and anonymous vignettes. Each photograph is substantiated by a brief but thorough historical explanation; every single scene is brought to life by evocative literary and political quotations. Century is as much an historical tour de force as it is an enlightening visual celebration of the past from a vast range of angles.

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Review:

The impact of photography, with its permutations and manipulations, has created incredible images of human hope and suffering throughout the 20th century. Inured as readers may be to the sights of our age, anyone who leafs through the astonishing chronicle that is Bruce Bernard's Century cannot fail to be impressed and moved by this vast visual document of the past 100 years. Weighing in at around 10 pounds and containing more than 1,000 photographs, this significant document of 100 years of human history displays Bernard's 30 years of experience as a picture editor with the Sunday Times Magazine.

Divided into six sections--1899-1914, High Hopes and Recklessness; 1914-33, Self-Inflicted Wounds Remain Infected; 1933-45, Rise and Fall of the Unspeakable; 1945-65, Atomic Truce Walks a Tightrope; 1965-85, Vietnam to the Moon to Soviet Collapse; and 1985-99, Chaos and Hope on a Burdened Planet--with accompanying text and quotations, Century presents an average of 10 images for each year, from the banal to the brilliant. In 1921 readers witness Claude Monet overseeing his glorious water-lily gardens. Next to that is an image of starving children in the Russian famine that followed the end of World War I. The young Princess Elizabeth walks her corgi in London's Hyde Park in 1934, while the facing page shows the moment of King Alexander I's assassination in Marseilles. American GIs laugh with girls on a German beach in 1946--a couple of pages on from the then recently revealed horrors of the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Three decades later, sees the Sex Pistols inaugurating the era of punk rock, while anti-apartheid leader Steve Biko lies murdered by police in his South African jail cell. By turns harrowing and humorous, Century is a magnificent photographic testament to 100 years of human advancement, futility, acts of heroism, and episodes of unspeakable cruelty. The book ends on a note of hope with a still from a 1999 German production of Beethoven's opera Fidelio, a triumph of goodness over evil. It is nonetheless difficult to erase the preceding image of refugees fleeing Kosovo in the same month and the same year--history's hour of darkness come round once more. --Catherine Taylor, Amazon.co.uk

From the Publisher:

A visual history of the 20th century, the photographs in this volume cover events which range from the hard history of politics to new inventions, the arts, society and fashion. The images have been drawn from international agencies such as Life, Magnum, Picture Post and Stern. The book is divided into six chronological sections corresponding to significant historical moments. Each section opens with a short historical overview which introduces the main concerns during the period covered. There is also a selection of quotations which capture the flavour of the period covered. There are extended captions at the end of each section providing historical information about each photograph.

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