Celebrating the New World: Chicago's Columbian Exposition of 1893 / Edition 1

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By the turn of the nineteenth century America was coming of age. No event better illustrated the American rise, better mirrored American society, or better presaged the American century ahead than the World's Columbian Exposition. "The grandest exposition this planet has ever witnessed" has been captured by Robert Muccigrosso in this lively survey of the Great Fair and its reflection of American values and tastes. With exhibits and visitors from all parts of the globe, the Columbian Exposition allowed America to consider its past, examine its present, and ponder its future. The nation's most celebrated architects overcame formidable obstacles to showcase science, technology, and the arts, and to provide a meeting place for assorted congresses. But the exposition was also an entertainment for the 27 million (a remarkable figure for 1893) who came to see the great event staged in that most fascinating city of wealth, culture, and corruption, Chicago. With photographs and maps. American Ways Series.

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of American Culture
An excellent brief study of the great exposition...splendid and colorful.
The Journal of American Culture
An excellent brief study of the great exposition...splendid and colorful.
Journal Of American Culture
An excellent brief study of the great exposition...splendid and colorful.
Journal of American Culture
An excellent brie study of the great exposition...splendid and colorful.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Acknowledging that recent views of the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago deem it ``an exercise in racism, class and gender domination, social control and cultural regression,'' Muccigrosso ( American Gothic ) argues for a more nuanced interpretation in this lucid, informative book. After exploring the culture of 19th-century world's fairs, and the development of Chicago politically, ethnically and architecturally, he turns to the exposition itself: topics include the controversy of the buildings' neoclassical design, the display of new technology, tension between high and low culture and the mixed references to both wilderness and urban life. The exposition had an important influence on architecture and urban beautification; while its focus marginalized Native Americans and African Americans, Muccigrosso urges an understanding of the event's temporal context. The displays of non-Western cultures and world religions, he writes, ``showed an urge to transcend geographical limits and create a world's fair.'' Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Muccigrosso (history, Brooklyn Coll.) turns his attention to America's quatercentenary celebration of Columbus's encounter with the New World. Chief architect Daniel Burnham followed his own dictum--``Make no small plans, they have no magic to stir men's blood''--in the general design of the White City, as the Chicago World's Fair was called. From its inauspicious beginning to its grand finale, the fair is an absorbing story. The author presents an interesting narrative, covering previous fairs, the reasons for selecting Chicago, the design and construction of buildings, the prominence of science and technology exhibitions, the attractions of the Midway, and the variety of world congresses, concluding with the legacy of the fair. The current controversy surrounding the Columbus quincentennial makes this volume's appearance timely. However, it adds little to earlier works, such as David Burg's Chicago's White City of 1893 (1976) or Reid Badger's The Great American Fair ( LJ 8/79).-- Nicholas C. Burckel, Washington Univ. Libs., St. Louis
Journal Of American Culture
An excellent brief study of the great exposition...splendid and colorful.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566630146
  • Publisher: Dee, Ivan R. Publisher
  • Publication date: 3/1/1993
  • Series: American Ways Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.44 (w) x 8.26 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Muccigrosso is professor of history at Brooklyn College and at the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York. He has also written American Gothic and is co-author of America in the Twentieth Century.

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