The Vertigo Years: Change and Culture in the West, 1900-1914

The Vertigo Years Change and Culture in the West The most breathtaking work of history since Paris Europe early in the th century a world adrift a pulsating era of creativity and contradictions The hot topics of the day terrorism and global

  • Title: The Vertigo Years: Change and Culture in the West, 1900-1914
  • Author: Philipp Blom
  • ISBN: 9780771016417
  • Page: 139
  • Format: Paperback
  • The most breathtaking work of history since Paris 1919.Europe, early in the 20th century a world adrift, a pulsating era of creativity and contradictions The hot topics of the day terrorism and globalization, immigration, consumerism, the lack of moral values, and rivaling superpowers could make one forget that it is a century ago that this era vanished into the trenThe most breathtaking work of history since Paris 1919.Europe, early in the 20th century a world adrift, a pulsating era of creativity and contradictions The hot topics of the day terrorism and globalization, immigration, consumerism, the lack of moral values, and rivaling superpowers could make one forget that it is a century ago that this era vanished into the trenches of the Somme and Vimy Ridge.Or did it The closer one looks, the this world seems like ours, the one sees that the questions and realities shaping our lives and thoughts were formulated and laid down at the beginning of the 20th century feminism, democratization, mass communication, commercial branding, consumerism, state sponsored genocide, and psychoanalysis were all concepts birthed in this period This was a time radically unlike the Victorian era that preceded it, a time in which all the old certainties broke down Philipp Blom succeeds in bringing to life the immediacy of the lives and issues of this fascinating, flawed pre war period.Through a series of historical vignettes, each chapter focusing on one particularly telling event for every year from 1900 to 1914, The Vertigo Years discovers the great people, powers, and ideas of Europe after 1900 The approach is eclectic, brilliantly combining the novelist s eye with the craft of the historian It opens up this era in all its contradictions and similarities to our own.From the Hardcover edition.

    One thought on “The Vertigo Years: Change and Culture in the West, 1900-1914”

    1. Dangerous Ideas; Necessary IdeasThe Vertigo Years traces the initial eruptions of some of the most explosive ideas and social phenomenons of the century that bore the brunt of the first mad rush of modernity —  from socialism and fascism, to nuclear physics and the theory of relativity; from conceptual art and consumer society, to mass media and democratization; to feminism and psychoanalysis. The many issues and the intellectual interplay is explored in great detail and gives an overall impr [...]

    2. As I have read this book thanks to Kris Rabberman, it is to her that I shall dedicate my review. And since it is also her birthday today (January 22nd), this is my gift to her.This book has a smart and clear structure. Blom has taken the fifteen years that preceded WW1 and surveyed the key cultural and social aspects that, mostly in Europe, accompanied the political events that led to the declaration of the Great War. These were times of rapid change. The relative political and diplomatic weight [...]

    3. After reading numerous non-fiction books dealing with the infamous European history of the first half of the 20th century, I thought I deserved a break from all this madness, atrocities, and right-out horror. So I decided to read “The Vertigo Years”, a book about the so-called “Belle Epoche”, expecting it to be a light read about golden times and containing an abundance of entertaining juicy stories.Mind you, I had read several reviews of this book and, thus, should have known better. Bu [...]

    4. “The Vertigo Years,” much like Blom’s earlier “Wicked Company,” is a history for the general reader who wants to gain a feel for the general Zeitgeist of fin-de-siècle Western Europe coming up through the beginning of World War I. If you desire a history of something specifically with “the events leading up to WWI” in mind, keep looking, as this book has almost nothing to do with the complicated set of alliances and feuds that eventually resulted in the death of Archduke Ferdinand [...]

    5. Machines, women, speed and sex: a rather bourgeois look at the opening of the 20th centuryWhat if World War One hadn't happened and we looked back on the preceding 15 years without the shadows of that conflict cast over it? Almost like those that lived through it might have seen it. What was on their minds?Rather than covering the tracks of political, economic and social histories of the start of the 20th century, Blom tries to picture the state of mind of Europe. And for this he picks the dynam [...]

    6. A wide scope of a book that successfully presents the period 1900-14 (pre- World War I) within in own context, not as a retrospective of the build-up to World War I.As the author states, in July 1914 the major news headlines in France were about the murder of a newspaper editor by Henrietta Caillaux, not the assassination in Sarajevo.We often think of changing to the 21st century as a period of intense upheaval – the advent of the computer age. This book demonstrates successfully that there we [...]

    7. Survey of the western world 100 years ago. The existing academic categories of defining western thought were not challenged or expanded, but well explained. It's unnerving how much is lost so quickly, this book unintentionally shines light on modern culture's branding of individual endurance, i.e. modern culture trains us, or we train each other, to perceive a lifespan, a generation, as being much longer and enduring then it actually is. A year is a measurable timespan, with a beginning and an e [...]

    8. It's usually thought WWI brought about the enormous changes in Europe which ushered in the modern world. Blom's great lesson is that the social and cultural changes we associate with the war and after had already occurred or were underway. The war acted as catalyst causing processes in motion to speed up, to sometimes bring about collapse of ways of thinking or to shift identities or create new enthusiasms. Each chapter is headed by a year, and the course of the narrative is generally chronologi [...]

    9. Philipp Blom's central thesis is that the years 1900-1914 tend to be overlooked by historians analysing twentieth century history due to the dramatic events that followed, however he asserts that everything that followed has it genesis in these years. He makes a good argument too. Like our own era, the era was characterised by an incredible rate of technological change, profound social upheaval, etc. and Blom's book has given me a good insight into life during the early years of the twentieth ce [...]

    10. This is a different kind of history book as the author does not confine himself to the causes leading up to WWI but, rather, what was happening across Europe at all levels of society and thought. Each chapter concentrates on a specific year and addresses a particular issue which was in flux at the time.It becomes a bit pedantic but generally is a unique and interesting approach to a changing world.

    11. The author takes an event in each year from 1900 to 1914 as the basis for each chapter. He then expands on the theme, so that Chapter 1 on the Paris World Fair also gives a wider coverage of France at the time, the Dreyfus affair and antisemitism, Chapter 2 on the death of Queen Victoria looks at Britain and the changing role of the aristocracy there and throughout Europe, Chapter 3 on Sigmund Freud finally getting a post and recognition discusses psychoanalysis and its effects on thought, art a [...]

    12. I really enjoyed this book. I liked that the author had a particular theme for each year (1900-1914. Each chapter could be read on its own.Among the topics I found most interesting were: the suffragettes, the genocide in King Leopold's Congo (must read King Leopold's Ghost), the Curies, the development of cinema, and Russian thought and society. I also enjoyed reading about the pacifist Bertha von Suttner, who was an entirely new name to me. It was interesting reading about Rudolf Steiner too. I [...]

    13. I'm reading the news about investigation of the death in 2013 of some Japanese girl who worked as a journalist. And they say that this happened because of extreme overwork and exhaustion. Then in "The Vertigo Years" I read about a new phenomenon born in XXth century: neurosis caused by high workload The next news in today's feed is a massacre in Las Vegas when a single man killed more than 50 people. The same day I read in the book about Ernst Wagner, a silent and descent school teacher who one [...]

    14. I did really enjoy this but it seemed uneven, so only 4 stars not 5. Each chapter is a different topic and the topics were almost all very interesting (and those that weren't to me were because of my interest in the topic, nothing on the author's part). It just seemed to jump around a bit which decreased some of my enjoyment of it.

    15. It is a very good, albeit limited assessment of the first 15 years of the last century. Blom, who picked up later with a book about the post-World War I world, whips the reader on a tour of Europe's changing landscape in the run up to Sarajevo --- which of course no one knew was coming. But Europeans knew something was happening, and Blom makes a persuasive case that this is perhaps the most important decade in modern history. Everything changed, and although he does an excellent if slightly mun [...]

    16. Pretty scattered (inevitable in a book covering these years in the major countries of Europe and -- to a lesser extent -- the U.S.) but an enjoyable corrective to the idea that WWI marked a complete break with the past. Blom shows that, at least for elites, the psychological crack-up brought on by rapid technological and social change was well underway before 1914. There are no foot-notes, although there are "notes" at the end of the book, listed by page, so if you think the author thought somet [...]

    17. I'm no expert on this period, and happened to read the book only because a friend of mine who is a fanatic on all things fin-de-siecle recommended it. But I found it fascinating, accessible, and very interesting. It's a very spicey survey of various elements of culture in this period. One of its weak points, however, is its rather careless and uninformed disparagement of socialism. A few rhetorical shots and evasions, and presto, one of the most significant movements (probably THE most significa [...]

    18. Dipping in and out of the arts, literature, science, politics, and social history, swinging back and forth through Britain, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia, Blom enacts a dizzying waltz through the dawn of the 20th century.His central purpose is to portray these fourteen years as a dynamic part of the 20th century as opposed to the last gasp of the long nineteenth. He does an excellent job of sampling a sufficient variety of modernist thought and bewildering social change to make hi [...]

    19. If you want to get an insider’s angle on why Europe ultimately engaged in “the war to end all wars,” this may well be your book. Yes, it’s just one of many written about the period of 1900 – 1914 (e.g Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August comes most immediately to mind), but it’s also probably one of the best. Are there perhaps thousands of details we could do without? Possibly. But a pointillist creates the big picture by including thousands of details; should (s)he leave any one o [...]

    20. I supposed when I've thought of the span of twentieth century history, I've been guilty of thinking of the fourteen years preceding the First World War as nothing but a prelude, a working-up to the cataclysm that befell Europe in the summer of 1914. Phillip Blom invites the reader to try to forget everything from that summer onwards and to examine the artistic, social, political, military, literary, scientific and technological developments of that period as if it were an open-ended era, not kno [...]

    21. This is a well written, well researched cultural history looking at the factors that lead to profound changes in the way the world was viewed in the opening years of the Twentieth Century. It is information rich and I learned quite a bit. I didn't entirely agree with all Blom's arguments and I thought there were some sins of omission, but I found it very well argued and stimulating reading. Blom's central theme is that the period can be explained as a nervous reaction to Europe's perceived loss [...]

    22. Das Kernproblem dieses Buches ist wohl, dass es ein zu weites und zu ungenau umgrenztes Feld abdecken möchte: Russland, Deutschland, England, Frankreich und das Habsburgerreich (und noch den einen oder anderen zusätzlichen Schauplatz) in den ersten 14 Jahren des 20. Jahrhunderts. Kultur, Politik, Gesellschaft, Wissenschaft usw. Soetwas ist wohl enorm schwierig zu fassen und zu strukturieren. Dementsprechend konnte ich als Leser nicht immer nachvollziehen, warum sich der Autor nun gerade diesem [...]

    23. Not so much this-and-then-than happened, as an attempt to get at the zeitgeist. I don't know enough to say whether its a good attempt, but it was certainly an interesting read. Culture, politics, morals, women, technology, health, race, art and a very great deal of sex. The world was moving too fast, capitalism was destroying identity, the right sort of people were having too few children and everyone else was having too many, the traditions of earlier ages were being shattered, technology was c [...]

    24. I was led to this book by Margaret McMillan’s The War That Ended Peace: The Road To 1914. She views the 1900-1914 era in light of the build-up to a war that she argues did not have to happen. Philipp Blom wants us to take her word for that, forget the war, and view this fascinating era on its own merits.This time period is in many ways so similar to our own, and Blom provides thought provoking coverage of much of it. I just can’t find a way to write a meaningful review that is worthy of this [...]

    25. I was excited to read this book, so I'm sad to say that I'm happy to be done with it. The subject has great potential — the world changed tremendously between 1900 and 1914 — but it's too big for a book like this. Topics are covered quickly, often with little more than lists of events or names that simply must be mentioned. The moments when it enters into narrative are its best. I wish this book covered half the material in twice the depth. It reminded me a great deal of Graham Robb's _The [...]

    26. In fifteen chapters, one for each year from 1900 to 1914, Philipp Blom shows how Europeans in this period had good reason to feel dizzied. But the chapters aren't about the years per se. They're about the Paris Exposition Universelle, the launch of HMS Dreadnought, the suffrage movement, and other events that took place during these years. Blom makes a good story of each. None of the figures portrayed in this book see the Great War coming. Nor do the events described make it inevitable. As revie [...]

    27. A well-written, interesting book, rather dry at times. It's given me a better perspective on the period 1900-1914.There was more about crime, sexuality and mental health than I expected. The chapter that focused on eugenics was very detailed and I found it unsettling.

    28. Like _Rites of Spring_ and _The Great War and Modern Memory_, this work treats the decade and a half before the outbreak of WWI as the incubator of the movements unleashed by the war as technology reacted with the old regime.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *