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The Brazen Age: New York City and the American Empire: Politics, Art, and Bohemia
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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2016
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A brilliant, sweeping, and unparalleled look at the extraordinarily rich culture and turbulent politics of New York City between the years 1945 and 1950, The Brazen Age opens with Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s campaign tour through the city’s boroughs in 1944. He would see little of what made New York the capital of modernity—though the aristocratic FDR was its paradoxical avatar—a city boasting an unprecedented and unique synthesis of genius, ambition, and the avant-garde. While concentrating on those five years, David Reid also reaches back to the turn of the twentieth century to explore the city’s progressive politics, radical artistic experimentation, and burgeoning bohemia.
 
From 1900 to 1929, New York City was a dynamic metropolis on the rise, and it quickly became a cultural nexus of new architecture; the home of a thriving movie business; the glittering center of theater and radio; and a hub of book, magazine, and newspaper publishing. In the 1930s, the rise of Hitler and World War II would send some of Europe’s most talented men and women to America’s shores, vastly enriching the fields of science, architecture, film, and arts and letters—the list includes Albert Einstein, Erwin Panofsky, Walter Gropius, George Grosz, André Kertész, Robert Capa, Thomas Mann, Hannah Arendt, Vladimir Nabokov, and John Lukacs.
 
Reid draws a portrait of the frenzied, creative energy of a bohemian Greenwich Village, from the taverns to the salons. Revolutionaries, socialists, and intelligentsia in the 1910s were drawn to the highly provocative monthly magazine The Masses, which attracted the era’s greatest talent, from John Reed to Sherwood Anderson, Djuna Barnes, John Sloan, and Stuart Davis. And summoned up is a chorus of witnesses to the ever-changing landscape of bohemia, from Malcolm Cowley to Anaïs Nin. Also present are the pioneering photographers who captured the city in black-and-white: Berenice Abbott’s dizzying aerial views, Samuel Gottscho’s photographs of the waterfront and the city’s architectural splendor, and Weegee’s masterful noir lowlife.
 
But the political tone would be set by the next president, and Reid looks closely at Thomas Dewey, Henry Wallace, and Harry Truman. James Forrestal, secretary of the navy under Roosevelt, would be influential in establishing a new position in the cabinet before ascending to it himself as secretary of defense under Truman, but not before helping to usher in the Cold War.
 
With The Brazen Age, David Reid has magnificently captured a complex and powerful moment in the history of New York City in the mid-twentieth century, a period of time that would ensure its place on the world stage for many generations.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
03/22/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781101870662
ASIN:
B00SPVZBI2
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APA Citation (style guide)

David Reid. (2016). The Brazen Age: New York City and the American Empire: Politics, Art, and Bohemia. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

David Reid. 2016. The Brazen Age: New York City and the American Empire: Politics, Art, and Bohemia. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

David Reid, The Brazen Age: New York City and the American Empire: Politics, Art, and Bohemia. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

David Reid. The Brazen Age: New York City and the American Empire: Politics, Art, and Bohemia. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2016. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: DAVID REID is the editor of Sex, Death and God in L.A. and coeditor of West of the West: Imagining California. His essays, articles, reviews, and inter- views have appeared in Vanity Fair, The Paris Review, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, and in several anthologies, including The Pushcart Prize XII. He lives in Berkeley, California.
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title
The Brazen Age
fullDescription
A brilliant, sweeping, and unparalleled look at the extraordinarily rich culture and turbulent politics of New York City between the years 1945 and 1950, The Brazen Age opens with Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s campaign tour through the city’s boroughs in 1944. He would see little of what made New York the capital of modernity—though the aristocratic FDR was its paradoxical avatar—a city boasting an unprecedented and unique synthesis of genius, ambition, and the avant-garde. While concentrating on those five years, David Reid also reaches back to the turn of the twentieth century to explore the city’s progressive politics, radical artistic experimentation, and burgeoning bohemia.
 
From 1900 to 1929, New York City was a dynamic metropolis on the rise, and it quickly became a cultural nexus of new architecture; the home of a thriving movie business; the glittering center of theater and radio; and a hub of book, magazine, and newspaper publishing. In the 1930s, the rise of Hitler and World War II would send some of Europe’s most talented men and women to America’s shores, vastly enriching the fields of science, architecture, film, and arts and letters—the list includes Albert Einstein, Erwin Panofsky, Walter Gropius, George Grosz, André Kertész, Robert Capa, Thomas Mann, Hannah Arendt, Vladimir Nabokov, and John Lukacs.
 
Reid draws a portrait of the frenzied, creative energy of a bohemian Greenwich Village, from the taverns to the salons. Revolutionaries, socialists, and intelligentsia in the 1910s were drawn to the highly provocative monthly magazine The Masses, which attracted the era’s greatest talent, from John Reed to Sherwood Anderson, Djuna Barnes, John Sloan, and Stuart Davis. And summoned up is a chorus of witnesses to the ever-changing landscape of bohemia, from Malcolm Cowley to Anaïs Nin. Also present are the pioneering photographers who captured the city in black-and-white: Berenice Abbott’s dizzying aerial views, Samuel Gottscho’s photographs of the waterfront and the city’s architectural splendor, and Weegee’s masterful noir lowlife.
 
But the political tone would be set by the next president, and Reid looks closely at Thomas Dewey, Henry Wallace, and Harry Truman. James Forrestal, secretary of the navy under Roosevelt, would be influential in establishing a new position in the cabinet before ascending to it himself as secretary of defense under Truman, but not before helping to usher in the Cold War.
 
With The Brazen Age, David Reid has magnificently captured a complex and powerful moment in the history of New York City in the mid-twentieth century, a period of time that would ensure its place on the world stage for many generations.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Mike Davis, author ofCity of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles
      • content: "A truly great book. David Reid's narrative is magnificently rich and complex, but his thesis is simple: with Europe's metropolises in ruins in 1945, New York became the melting pot of global avant-gardes, the primate city of both an age and an empire. Like Diego Rivera's great destroyed mural at Rockefeller Center, The Brazen Age magically captures the clamoring convergence of genius, power, and revolt--of dreams, manifestoes, and defeats--that made Manhattan the central power plant of late modernity."
      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from March 1, 2016
        No less than Paris in the 1920s, New York City in the 1940s was the center of the world, according to this exhilarating account of the city during that decade. Journalist and editor Reid (Sex, Death and God in L.A., 1992, etc.) begins his rich history with a bang, describing the city's boroughs through the eyes of a gaunt, ailing Franklin Roosevelt during a daylong, 50-mile 1944 electioneering tour in an open car in a cold rain to refute Republican claims that he was ailing. The purpose of the tour, writes the author, was "to demonstrate in the most vivid possible way that...he was alive and laughing." At his death six months later, great world cities not in ruins after World War II were exhausted, but New York flourished. At the time, journalist John Gunther praised NYC as "the incomparable, the brilliant star city of cities, the forty-ninth state, a law unto itself, the Cyclopean paradox, the inferno with no out-of-bounds, the supreme expression of both the miseries and splendors of contemporary civilization, the Macedonia of the United States." This efflorescence benefitted from a flood of European exiles fleeing fascism. Superstars (Einstein, Toscanini, Brecht, Stravinsky) aside, the average American and America's government felt little sympathy, but this represented the greatest transplant of talent since Greek scholars fled to Italy after the 1453 fall of Constantinople. Movie and theater attendance began declining after 1945, but it remained the golden age of print. New York had more than 15 daily newspapers and dozens of smaller ones, and the nation's largest department store, Macy's, contained the nation's largest bookstore. Having read or seen nearly every artifact of this period, Reid delivers his opinion in a score of unrelated but brilliant chapters on iconic New York individuals (Berenice Abbott, Weegee), groups (returning soldiers, homosexuals), politics (the 1948 elections, leftist magazines), and bohemia (Greenwich village again and again). A historical tour de force.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        March 15, 2016

        New York City is an entity unto itself. Even during World War II, a time when citizens of several countries were uniting in ways previously unexplored, New York operated under its own set of rules. Reid (Sex, Death and God in L.A.) writes about "the brazen age" of New York, beginning with Franklin D. Roosevelt's last campaign trip through the city in 1944. The author covers a lengthy period of history with a large cast of characters, making it difficult to keep track of pertinent details. While the narrative describes the art, bohemia, and politics of 20th-century New York, the lack of chronological order means it can be hard to differentiate between sections. VERDICT This study will appeal to readers seeking a history of New York from the beginning of the 20th century to the end of the 1940s, although the attempt to cover several areas means it may not be as comprehensive as some readers would prefer.--Rebecca Kluberdanz, New York P.L.

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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shortDescription
A brilliant, sweeping, and unparalleled look at the extraordinarily rich culture and turbulent politics of New York City between the years 1945 and 1950, The Brazen Age opens with Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s campaign tour through the city’s boroughs in 1944. He would see little of what made New York the capital of modernity—though the aristocratic FDR was its paradoxical avatar—a city boasting an unprecedented and unique synthesis of genius, ambition, and the avant-garde. While concentrating on those five years, David Reid also reaches back to the turn of the twentieth century to explore the city’s progressive politics, radical artistic experimentation, and burgeoning bohemia.
 
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