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The Brazen Age

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The Brazen Age by David Reid
Mar 22, 2016 | ISBN 9780394572376
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    Mar 22, 2016 | ISBN 9780394572376

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    Mar 22, 2016 | ISBN 9781101870662

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“The Brazen Age is a mesmerizing political, artistic, and intellectual story of New York in the forties…David Reid is an extraordinary historian who writes like a novelist…[and] brings [the era] to life.”  
The Washington Book Review
“The pages of The Brazen Age are sprawling, roving, panoramic and omnivorous… [they] are stuffed with everything: a history of skyscrapers, a tally of Franklin Roosevelt’s cocktails, a shard of Truman Capote’s wit, a litany of best-selling authors you’ve never heard of but want to look up.  [Reid] not only tells stories but also channels voices…In his own prose Reid sounds like [Edmund] Wilson and [Alfred] Kazin, sharing their capacious curiosity and emulating their stylistic momentum, epigrammatic solemnity and wryness…[He] becomes a historian of New York’s historians, a literary commentator’s literary commentator, a gossip’s gossip…this wide-ranging intensity is refreshing.” 
Eric Bennett, The New York Times Book Review

“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.”
—Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles

“[An] exhilarating account…New York City in the 1940s. [With] chapters on iconic New York individuals (Berenice Abbott, Weegee), Superstars (Einstein, Toscanini, Brecht, Stravinsky), politics (the 1948 elections, leftist magazines), and bohemia (Greenwich village). Brilliant…a historical tour de force…Reid delivers his rich history with a bang.”
Kirkus (starred review)
“Reid goes in-depth to detail the culture, media, politics, iconic individuals and strange intersections of a city teeming with life. It’s a great read.”  
San Jose Mercury News

“A brilliant, sweeping and unparalleled look at the extraordinarily rich culture and turbulent politics of New York City between the years 1945 and 1950…Reid has magnificently captured a complex and powerful moment in history.”
“Utterly masterful…a book rich with the colorful personalities of postwar America. [Reid] infuses his narrative with such energy [and] wit that it all hangs together marvelously as a cultural adventure story.”
— Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly


Table Of Contents

Introduction xiii
PROLOGUE The Last Hurrah of Franklin D. Roosevelt 1
PART I Empire and Communications
1 City Lights 37
2 Cultural Capital 42
3 The Greater City 58
4 Babylon Revisited 68
5 Wandering Rocks 83
PART II City of Refuge
1 Exiles and Émigrés 93
2 The City at War 112
PART III Words, Words, Words
1 Books Are Bullets 119
2 New York Discovers America 131
3 Limousines on Grub Street 137
4 Scenes of Writing 142
PART IV That Winter—and the Next
1 A Fractious Peace 155
2 New York Observed 162
3 Soldier’s Home 170
PART V The City in Black and White 183
1 Berenice Abbott’s Village in the City 193
2 Gottscho’s Oz 212
3 Weegee’s Dark Carnival 215
PART VI Greenwich Village: Ghosts, Goths, and Glimpses of the Moon
1 Bohemia Was Yesterday 229
2 Conciliating Nobody: The Masses and the Villagers 245
3 Brightness Falls 268
4 Another Part of the Forest 304
5 Culture and Anarchy: “The Sublime Is Now” 319
PART VII 1948: The End of Something
1 Verdict 345
2 Conference at the Waldorf: The End of Something 373
PART VIII Days Without End 387
Acknowledgments 437
Notes 441
Selected Bibliography 475
Index 479

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