Summary and book reviews of The Century by Peter Jennings

The Century
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    Nov 1998, 608 pages

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Book Summary

A keepsake volume that presents history as it was lived, and as it will be remembered for the next hundred years.

What was it like to watch the Wright Brothers soar into the sky? To hear the first crackling voice aired on the radio? To cower in the ghastly trenches of Europe during World War I? To lose everything in the stock-market crash of 1929, or experience the birth of rock and roll? To watch the Berlin Wall divide East and West, and then, twenty-eight years later, to see it fall under the weight of tens of thousands seeking to taste freedom? For the past seven years, researchers, reporters, and producers for ABC News have searched the world's archives for the rarest and most stunning photographs and images, consulted eminent twentieth-century historians, and discovered and interviewed hundreds of eyewitnesses and participants in the significant moments of the most eventful one hundred years in human history.

The result is this spectacular book, the independent companion volume to the landmark ABC News and The History Channel television series The Century. Co-written by ABC News Anchor Peter Jennings and Senior Editorial Producer Todd Brewster, The Century features a narrative of extraordinary quality that tracks major themes--the impact of technology, the soaring of the imagination, the ghastly violence, the joy of entertainment--through chronological chapters recounting the signal moments of each era in the century. From "Seeds of Change: 1901-1914" to "Machine Dreams: 1990-1999," each chapter is threaded through with fascinating first-person accounts of the great events of the twentieth century, and illustrated with over five hundred color and black-and-white photographs (many never published before) reproduced in exquisite depth and clarity.

The Century presents history as it was lived, and as it will be remembered for the next hundred years. Here is a keepsake volume destined to be an essential part of every family's library: an epic journey through the last hundred years, whose heroes are our grandparents, our parents, ourselves.

On the night of June 5, 1944, Americans tuned their radios to hear FDR announce that the Italian fascists had been deposed under the force of Allied troops. The Italian and African campaigns had always been sideshows to the war in Europe and Russia, but the fall of Italy was symbolic, the first of the Axis nations to surrender. In the Roman square where Il Duce had once whipped crowds into a frenzy, the celebration was enormous.

Roosevelt was happy over the news ("One up and two to go!" he said), but he was understandably preoccupied. For even as the president spoke, 175,000 young Allied soldiers (many of them teenagers about to witness their first days in combat) were pushing off from the coast of England toward France in the largest amphibious operation in the history of war.

Operation Overlord, as it was called, was a massive logistical challenge. Along with the enormous fighting force (which was scheduled to grow to 2.5 million before the invasion was completed), it involved ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

The New York Times Book Review

With so much to browse and re-live, there will be something here for everyone.

Time -Jesse Birnbaum

...a richly satisfying chronicle.

Booklist

This is a highly Americentric vision of the twentieth century; the authors note that, in determining what to include from the international scene, they asked, Are Americans different because it happened? Did Americans care? Sadly, this means that critical global developments, such as the end of European colonialism in Asia and Africa, are ignored.

Reader Reviews

sv

this book has been very helpful for school history projects.

Anonymous
Gabriella Hafner
I have had the opportunity to read most of the book in question. The overall writing style and the entire design of the book was to my liking. However, the authors of the book have forgotten one very important thing. They have ...   Read More

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If you liked The Century, try these:

  • Our Dumb Century jacket

    Our Dumb Century

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    Published 1999

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    Witness the march of history as Editor-in-Chief Scott Dikkers and The Onion's award-winning writing staff present the twentieth century like you've never seen it before.

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