Twilight at the World of Tomorrow by James Mauro
Genius, Madness, Murder, and the 1939 World's Fair on the Brink of War

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 8 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

The summer of 1939 was an epic turning point for America—a brief window between the Great Depression and World War II. It was the last season of unbridled hope for peace and prosperity; by Labor Day, the Nazis were in Poland. And nothing would come to symbolize this transformation from acute optimism to fear and dread more than the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

A glorious vision of the future, the Fair introduced television, the fax machine, nylon, and fluorescent lights. The “World of Tomorrow,” as it was called, was a dream city built upon a notorious garbage dump—The Great Gatsby’s infamous ash heaps. Yet these lofty dreams would come crashing down to earth in just two years. From the fair’s opening on a stormy spring day, everything that could go wrong did: not just freakish weather but power failures and bomb threats.

Amid the drama of the World’s Fair, four men would struggle against the coming global violence. Albert Einstein, a lifelong pacifist, would come to question his beliefs as never before. From his summer home on Long Island, he signed a series of letters to President Roosevelt urging the development of an atomic bomb—an act he would later recall as “the one great mistake in my life.”

Grover Whalen, the Fair’s president, struggled in vain to win over dictators Benito Mussolini and Joseph Stalin, believing that his utopian vision had the power to stop their madness. And two New York City police detectives, Joe Lynch and Freddy Socha, who had been assigned to investigate a series of bomb threats and explosions that had terrorized the city for months, would have a rendezvous with destiny at the Fair: During the summer of 1940, in a chilling preview of things to come, terrorism would arrive on American shores—and the grounds of the World’s Fair.

Yet behind this tragic tableau is a story as incredible as it is inspiring. With a colorful cast of supporting characters—including Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, Robert Moses, and FDR—Twilight at the World of Tomorrow is narrative nonfiction at its finest, a gripping true-life drama that not only illuminates a forgotten episode of the nation’s past but shines a probing light upon its present and its future.
 

About James Mauro

See more books from this Author
James Mauro is a former editor of Spy magazine and executive editor of Cosmopolitan. Most recently he was editorial director for Moffly Media, publishers of the Connecticut periodicals Greenwich, Stamford, Westport, New Canaan Darien, and AtHome. His writing has been featured in Radar, Details, Spy, Psychology Today, and a host of other publications. He lives in Connecticut, where he is at work on his next book.
 
Published June 22, 2010 by Ballantine Books. 432 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Science & Math. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Twilight at the World of Tomorrow

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

He wonderfully elaborates on the fair’s movers and shakers: feisty Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, imperious and scheming Parks Commissioner Robert Moses and businessman Harvey Gibson, whose feckless application of “homey touches” to the proceedings embarrassed the city’s official greeter and fair pre...

| Read Full Review of Twilight at the World of Tomo...

The Washington Times

See more reviews from this publication

Not only does he of course include the outbreak of World War II while the fair was in its first season and the effect this had, particularly on its 1940 second act, but he also uses Albert Einstein’s connection with the New York World’s Fair to make it a kind of backdrop to his role in the develo...

Jul 30 2010 | Read Full Review of Twilight at the World of Tomo...

AV Club

See more reviews from this publication

Yes, this book is about a landmark world's fair, its chief architect, and an associated famous figure, but it's no Devil In The White City.

Jul 15 2010 | Read Full Review of Twilight at the World of Tomo...

Christian Science Monitor

By Cam Martin / July 13, 2010 Twilight at the World of Tomorrow: Genius, Madness, Murder and the 1939 World’s Fair on the Brink of War By James Mauro Ballantine Books 401 pp., $28 ...

Jul 13 2010 | Read Full Review of Twilight at the World of Tomo...

USA Today

In Twilight at the World of Tomorrow , James Mauro probes political, personal, societal and financial factors that meshed and sometimes collided to create New York's 1939 World's Fair.

| Read Full Review of Twilight at the World of Tomo...

BookPage

Few epic celebrations have predated more dire events than the 1939 New York World’s Fair, nicknamed “The World of Tomorrow.” Its futuristic exhibits and architecture were designed to divert global attention from the Great Depression’s economic devastation and the sense of impending doom signaled ...

| Read Full Review of Twilight at the World of Tomo...

Huntington News

James Mauro decided to write "Twilight at the World of Tomorrow: Genius, Madness, Murder, and the 1939 World's Fair on the Brink of War" when he came across a half-buried plaque in Flushing Meadows Corona Park dedicated to two New York Police detectives, Joe Lynch and his partner, Freddy Socha, ...

Jun 23 2010 | Read Full Review of Twilight at the World of Tomo...

NJ.com

Einstein ate a hot dog at the 1939 World’s Fair Twilight at the World of Tomorrow: Genius, Madness, Murder, and the 1939 World’s Fair on the Brink of War James Mauro Random House, 386 pp., $28 Reviewed by Tom Mackin Tom Mackin is a reviewer from Lakewood.

Jun 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Twilight at the World of Tomo...

Reader Rating for Twilight at the World of Tomorrow
82%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 59 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review