LIFE: Century of Change: America in Pictures 1900-2000

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9780821226971: LIFE: Century of Change: America in Pictures 1900-2000

So much of daily life that we take for granted today simply didn't exist a century ago. Life before McDonald's restaurants, before frozen food? Remember shopping before the mall and the e-mall -- at Mom and Pop stores, or Woolworths? When corsets gave way to panty hose and wonderbras? Unlike LIFE: Our Century in Pictures -- a chronological overview of political and cultural events -- this next LIFE project is a richly illustrated, very entertaining cultural history of 100 years of change arranged not on a time line but by theme. It explores all the key aspects of daily life and how they have been transformed -- from the homes we live in, the jobs that employ us, the fashions we've worn and discarded, the ways we've brought up our children, and how we've entertained ourselves. Famous writers and experts will again contribute brief essays to open the chapters, sharing their personal take on that particular theme -- be it how notions of sex in America have shifted, or the evolution of pop music. The hundreds of images (some famous but most startlingly fresh) will capture the spirit of times past and present as only LIFE can do. LIFE: Our Century of Change recalls its bestselling precursor in format -- same trim, close to the same page count, similar dynamic design, and cover look -- but it is distinguished by a brilliant color background on the cover.

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Review:

From the time of its founding in 1936 to its final monthly issue in May 2000, Life magazine chronicled the world around us. In Life: Century of Change, the editors have assembled a jaw-dropping assortment of quintessentially American images. The 723 photographs from the Life archives present a composite portrait of an evolving nation by focusing on 10 key areas of American life and culture. Thoughtful essays by writers, including Stephanie Coontz on family, John R. Stilgoe on the American home, and Thomas Hine on industrial design, add depth, but the real stars of the book are the photographs: New York's modest decorations for New Year's Eve 1899, a sagging couple at a dance marathon, the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge, a young Hugh Hefner surrounded by Playboy bunnies, Christa McAuliffe training at zero G's three months before the Challenger disaster, Collins and Venter standing before a giant depiction of the completed human genome map, Elián González pitching a baseball while a wall of cameramen looks on. Century of Change is both informative and deeply entertaining--and proof positive that a picture is worth a thousand words.

About the Author:

Richard Stolley is Senior Editorial Advisor of Time Inc. For nineteen years he worked on LIFE magazine and covered events and personalities throughout the world. He was also the founding editor of PEOPLE magazine.

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Life
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