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Antiques JournalWorld's fair have traditionally been the yardstick by which nations measure their industrial rank and inventiveness. They are open forums for participating countries to show off their most crowning achievements. While other books on individual fairs exist, World's Fairs by historian and collector Erik Mattie, is the first illustrated volume to present an illustrated volume to present an international history of the most notable world exhibitions.
Over time, the original intention of the fairs to encourage world peace through world trade has changed, as has the general nature of the fairs themselves. World peace and free trade have becomes separate ideals, and the preeminent attraction of fairs today is their entertainment value. For example, displays of national identity are more popular now (ie., picturesque historical villages) than displays of a country's industrial products. While smaller, more specialized fairs have taken precedence in industry and technology, world's fairs still possess the ability to excite the imagination, instill national pride, and stimulate the senses of their visitors.