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Christopher Lehmann-Haupt...[S]trives with considerable success to give a documentary sense of what the times were like.
—The New York Times
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|1||Seeds of Change 1901-1914||2|
|2||Shell Shock 1914-1919||48|
|3||Boom to Bust 1920-1929||98|
|4||Stormy Weather 1929-1936||144|
|5||Over the Edge 1936-1941||184|
|6||Global Nightmare 1941-1945||232|
|7||An Uneasy Peace 1946-1952||280|
|8||Mass Markets 1953-1961||320|
|9||Into the Streets 1961-1969||364|
|10||Years of Doubt 1969-1981||420|
|11||New Morning 1981-1989||464|
|12||Machine Dreams 1989-1999||522|
Peter Jennings: We are well and grateful to be here. Thank you for inviting us.
Peter Jennings: It's the decade of runaway technology, and if the earlier years of the century are any indication, technology sometimes surprises us. We don't know the effects of the new technologies of the 1990s yet, any more than people in 1910 understood the auto or the telephone.
Peter Jennings: There are numerous book signings, hopefully one near you. Signed copies are certainly available. Barnes & Noble will know. Thursday we will be at the B&N on the Upper West Side in New York City.
Peter Jennings: Yes. And not always fortunately. We are struck by how much interesting literature there is about the "Titanic," and we are pleased that the opening scene of "Private Ryan" takes the very same realistic approach that we take in THE CENTURY about the true horrors of combat.
Peter Jennings: Todd says Václav Havel. I say probably Anwar Sadat who admitted in one interview that he actually shot a man, and it surprised the hell out of me.
Peter Jennings: We are both struck by the reality that at the end of the century, man is still killing his fellow man -- see Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda, Somalia, etc., much as he did in previous generations. And that even in our freshly global society, it is the age-old ethnic conflict that continues to encourage so much violence.
Peter Jennings: Regninald, you make the point yourself, but one thing the Internet does do is enable so many more of us to participate in events and the commentary about events.
Peter Jennings: We don't spend much time on the press in the book. Although we do note what changes were wrought by the introduction of a national culture, which really began in the 1920s with the arrival of radio. Some people will invariably argue the press is going in the wrong direction!
Peter Jennings: Great question...we're thinking.
Peter Jennings: Todd would love to have lived in the very first years of the century when America was coming of age and so many new technologies were leading people to believe that man could do almost anything. In the first chapter of THE CENTURY we include a witness who describes watching the Wright Brothers make a first flight. She arrives at the site in a surrey, and in that juxtaposition you can see what radical change was ahead. The automobile was not yet common, and yet first flights were being made. I would have wished to be a reporter during the First World War, where there were none. Perhaps a reporter might have better alerted the world to the horror of the war, which haunted the rest of the century.
Peter Jennings: John, I stand corrected -- it won't happen again.
Peter Jennings: The First World War. See the previous answer.
Peter Jennings: It started as a companion book to a TV series to the History Channel and ABC, but then, thanks to Todd, the book took on a life of its own, and we have been chasing it ever since.
Peter Jennings: The first thing we would do was resolve&how we would spell millenium/milennium. See "World News Tonight" tomorrow.
Peter Jennings: Women figure prominently in the first chapter of the book when the Progressive Era is in full swing. This is when social work emerged as a profession, and most early social workers were women. By the 1920s women were entering into a period of great social transformation and were part of the emerging urban culture. THE CENTURY includes a testimonial from a woman who was a barnstorming pilot. Boy, did she show them.
Peter Jennings: Saul, this is more of a local television story, not one which we have to deal with too much at the network.
Peter Jennings: I think that it was the Iranian Revolution. My daughter was born then, and I was running back and forth from Iran to London where we then lived.
Peter Jennings: Todd says, the more recent history because the dust is yet to settle. I agree, in that we have had to go back and write about events we may have covered. Which sometimes reminded us that we could have done better the first time.
Peter Jennings: One of the most exciting parts of the century has been how the United States has intersected with the rest of the world. Sometimes pushing it away (isolationism), sometimes manipulating events (interventionism), and sometimes relishing the sheer theater of what is out there.
Peter Jennings: Charles, we were amused to see Time magazine note that we had left out the Clinton story as the greatest constitutional crisis of the last 15 or 20 years. We were struck by the notion that had we written it that way, by the time THE CENTURY was published, we would have been dead wrong.
Peter Jennings: I would not have pulled it together without Todd. We spent a lot of time at the kitchen table. The television series on ABC is in March, and a separate series [is] on the History Channel in April. We think of the book as the opening act now, and hope that you enjoy them all!
Peter Jennings: Naomi, we love this question. We have had so much fun with this. We are Elvis fans. And Marilyn fans. And Beatles fans. All of them are in the book. In one way or another, they all contributed to the culture. Presley particularly marked an enormous turning point for music and for the culture of the young.
Peter Jennings: Halley, the next book - ha! But as there was argument about when the century began -- including the notion that it began with the Russian Revolution and the bipolar competition between us -- some will argue that, with the end of the bipolar competition, the century has already ended.
Peter Jennings: Christine, several things, we believe. The photographs, for one. The witnesses, for another, who were so vigorous and responsive when we asked them simply to remember. And what we believe is our intent to write each decade from the perspective of those who lived through it. This was history told from the bottom up, much like the century itself.
Peter Jennings: WB, thanks for getting the book. Since we were attempting to tell history from the bottom up, we included only those presidencies that had a real impact on the culture. Five presidents make the cut - Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, JFK, Nixon, and Reagan. The chapter title -- Morning in America -- says a lot for what Reagan represented, even while there is still argument about whether he accomplished as much as he did or whether much merely happened on his watch.
Peter Jennings: Rich, Lindbergh is right up there at the top of the list. We are doing a great TV program on him.
Peter Jennings: Thanks, you are great. This has been quite an experience. May we be presumptuous? We hope you love the book. And we think you might enjoy The Century on the Internet at www.thecentury.com. Have happy holidays.
Posted February 20, 2003
We used this book in our Home School co-op and found the first 2/3 of the book VERY helpful and informative. It seemed that when Jennings was relying on research and the work of others, the account was balanced and helpful. However, once this book got into covering the period when Jennings was actively reporting, the liberal bias made both the text and pictures less and less appealing. One example of many I could cite is that I only found one tiny picture of Ronald Reagan--and that was of him in the distance, giving a speech. Reagan, whatever you may believe about his politics, was President for eight years and dramatically changed the political and foreign policies of America. Other weaknesses, IMHO, were the focus, especially in pictures, on violence in the latter third of the book, and on other pet liberal themes. There is obviously no history of the church included in this book, either.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 12, 2002
This great piece of work form two of the best journalists around combine their resources to create 'The Century'.it takes you on a journey through the century that defined this nation,highlighting things like both World Wars and many other great moments s that defined the time.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 22, 2000
Everything that is presented is first-rate quality. The only problem is the cassette version seems to be a narration of the video series without the video. There are long pauses. Each of the fifteen tapes begins with a redundant introduction on the first side and closes with a lengthy 'we hope you have enjoyed this Bantam Doubleday Dell recording . . .' The cassettes also have a short cycle of less than a half hour per side of actual material. In short, too much wasted space on each cassette and plenty of room for more details on events. Again, what's there is great, but what's missing is what would have made the 15 set series worth the money.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 20, 2000
Posted March 2, 2000
THE CENTURY is more about taking advantage of century hype in the popular media than it is about the 20th century. Even if THE CENTURY's coverage went through 1999 (it doesn't) it would still be one year short of covering the 20th century. The fact that the publisher could not wait until the end of the century calls into question the integrity of the publisher and the book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.