The Vertigo Years by Philipp Blom
Europe, 1900-1914

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Synopsis

Europe, 1900–1914: a world adrift, a pulsating era of creativity and contradictions. The major topics of the day: terrorism, globalization, immigration, consumerism, the collapse of moral values, and the rivalry of superpowers. The twentieth century was not born in the trenches of the Somme or Passchendaele—but rather in the fifteen vertiginous years preceding World War I.

In this short span of time, a new world order was emerging in ultimately tragic contradiction to the old. These were the years in which the political and personal repercussions of the Industrial Revolution were felt worldwide: Cities grew like never before as people fled the countryside and their traditional identities; science created new possibilities as well as nightmares; education changed the outlook of millions of people; mass-produced items transformed daily life; industrial laborers demanded a share of political power; and women sought to change their place in society—as well as the very fabric of sexual relations.

From the tremendous hope for a new century embodied in the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris to the shattering assassination of a Habsburg archduke in Sarajevo in 1914, historian Philipp Blom chronicles this extraordinary epoch year by year. Prime Ministers and peasants, anarchists and actresses, scientists and psychopaths intermingle on the stage of a new century in this portrait of an opulent, unstable age on the brink of disaster.

Beautifully written and replete with deftly told anecdotes, The Vertigo Years brings the wonders, horrors, and fears of the early twentieth century vividly to life.

 

About Philipp Blom

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Philipp Blom is the author of The Vertigo Years, Enlightening the World, and To Have and To Hold. He contributes articles to the Times Literary Supplement and the Guardian, among others. He lives in Vienna, Austria.
 
Published October 21, 2008 by Basic Books. 481 pages
Genres: History, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Vertigo Years

Kirkus Reviews

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As Queen Victoria passes, Vienna-based historian Blom (To Have and to Hold: An Intimate History of Collectors and Collecting, 2003, etc.) finds a Modern World breaking through the crust.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Vertigo Years: Europe, 19...

Publishers Weekly

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Virginia Woolf famously declared that “human character changed” in the year 1910; this dizzying survey of European history and culture before WWI elaborates. Historian Blom (<EMPHASIS T

Sep 22 2008 | Read Full Review of The Vertigo Years: Europe, 19...

The Guardian

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The Vertigo Years is an ambitious book - a one-volume assessment of the gravity-eroding, giddying sweep of European cultural, social, political and spiritual change that permeated the first 15 years of the 20th century.

Sep 13 2008 | Read Full Review of The Vertigo Years: Europe, 19...

Booklist Online

But there’s good news—by subscribing today, you will receive 22 issues of Booklist magazine, 4 issues of Book Links, and single-login access to Booklist Online and over 160,000 reviews.

Oct 15 2008 | Read Full Review of The Vertigo Years: Europe, 19...

BookPage

In contrast, the English had little use for New Age - style bohemianism that was most notable in Germany and Austria - Hungary.

Aug 19 2015 | Read Full Review of The Vertigo Years: Europe, 19...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

The essay for 1906 flows from the Wilhelm II's miserable childhood and envy of his uncle, Edward VII of England, to the naval arms race between England and Germany, to Europe's militarism and extensive honor culture, to the trial for homosexuality of Wilhelm's close confidante, Philipp zu Eulenbe...

Jan 05 2009 | Read Full Review of The Vertigo Years: Europe, 19...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

The essay for 1906 flows from Wilhelm II?s miserable childhood and envy of his uncle Edward VII of England, to the naval arms race between England and Germany, to Europe?s militarism and extensive honor culture, to the trial for homosexuality of Wilhelm?s close confidant, Philipp zu Eulenberg (an...

Jan 05 2009 | Read Full Review of The Vertigo Years: Europe, 19...

Bookmarks Magazine

and women sought to change their place in society—as well as the very fabric of sexual relations.From the tremendous hope for a new century embodied in the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris to the shattering assassination of a Habsburg archduke in Sarajevo in 1914, historian Philipp Blom chronicles t...

Oct 26 2008 | Read Full Review of The Vertigo Years: Europe, 19...

The New York Review of Books

It is a very effective reminder that, as Blom writes in his introduction, “to most people who lived around 1900 [the] nostalgic view with its emphasis on solidity and grace would have come as a surprise.” It is not enough to say that the pre-war years were a time of transition—so are all times.

Apr 30 2009 | Read Full Review of The Vertigo Years: Europe, 19...

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