An International Bestseller
“An absolute gem of a book.” —The Observer
Just before one of its darkest moments came the twentieth century’s most exciting year . . .
It was the year Henry Ford first put a conveyer belt in his car factory, and the year Louis Armstrong first picked up a trumpet. It was the year Charlie Chaplin signed his first movie contract, and Coco Chanel and Prada opened their first dress shops. It was the year Proust began his opus, Stravinsky wrote The Rite of Spring, and the first Armory Show in New York introduced the world to Picasso and the world of abstract art. It was the year the recreational drug now known as ecstasy was invented.
It was 1913, the year before the world plunged into the catastrophic darkness of World War I.
In a witty yet moving narrative that progresses month by month through the year, and is interspersed with numerous photos and documentary artifacts (such as Kafka’s love letters), Florian Illies ignores the conventions of the stodgy tome so common in “one year” histories. Forefronting cultural matters as much as politics, he delivers a charming and riveting tale of a world full of hope and unlimited possibility, peopled with amazing characters and radical politics, bristling with new art and new technology . . . even as ominous storm clouds began to gather.
|Publisher:||Melville House Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Florian Illies is a German journalist who has worked for major European newspapers and magazines and cofounded the art magazine Monopol. He is the author of four previous bestselling books, which have sold more than 1 million copies. 1913 is his first book to be translated into English.
Shaun Whiteside’s translations include Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy and Robert Musil’s The Confusions of Young Törless. Jamie Lee Searle’s recent translations include works by Ursula Poznanski, Frank Schatzing, and Dora Heldt.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I can't really understand why the author felt it necessary to detail each individual day of 1913 the way that he did but I found it tedious. I couldn't get interested enough to stay with it. Too bad because I think there is a story to be told, just not to this level of detail.
1913 is a nonfiction history book and... it was spectacular! Classical music concerts inciting pandemonium and near-riots. Mervyn O'Gorman's incredible autochrome photographs (no photos in the book, just enticing descriptions which made me look them up - take a look and remember, these were taken in 1913!?!). There was even a little bit of mystery, as we wonder from month to month, where is the Mona Lisa? I loved Florian Illies's slightly mischievous sense of humor and gift of storytelling, which reminded me of the late Paul Harvey's style of sharing the news. "We can't forget Kafka, or his bride! So how did Felice Bauer react to the most preposterous marriage proposal of all time?" "So: worries about worries in Augsburg. Was anyone in a good mood in May 1913? Plainly not." I also found that some ideas and actions aren't quite as modern as I might consider them to be: men walking around with their trousers hanging low (painter Oskar Kokoschka), worries that technology will destroy nature, and more seriously, school shootings. 1913 does put a heavy focus on figures and events in European nations, especially France and Germany. But the abundant cast and their fascinating stories kept me clicking over to Google to research more. That made for a slightly slower read, but I was enthralled from beginning to end. This is exactly the kind of non-fiction read that keeps readers engaged and brings history to life! Loved it. I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.
An interesting chronological account of a year that saw the culmination of many modern-isms that would have long term historical effects on the world. Although the book can seem somewhat haphazard, all of the elements are related to each other and help to explain why 1913 was a pivotal year for humanity. My only caveat: the author assumes the reader will have a pretty thorough knowledge of all of the people in the book, offering little if any background about them.