The 1964-65 World's Fair and the Transformation of America

Tirella, Joseph

Book - 2014
Average Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
Baker & Taylor
Explores how the New York World's Fair embodied the cultural and political changes in New York, the United States, and the world during the decade of the 1960s.

Globe Fearon Co

Motivated by potentially turning Flushing Meadows, literally a land of refuse, into his greatest public park, Robert Moses—New York's "Master Builder"—brought the World's Fair to the Big Apple for 1964 and '65. Though considered a financial failure, the 1964-65 World' s Fair was a Sixties flashpoint in areas from politics to pop culture, technology to urban planning, and civil rights to violent crime.

In an epic narrative, the New York Times bestseller Tomorrow-Land shows the astonishing pivots taken by New York City, America, and the world during the Fair. It fetched Disney's empire from California and Michelangelo's La Pieta from Europe; and displayed flickers of innovation from Ford, GM, and NASA—from undersea and outerspace colonies to personal computers. It housed the controversial work of Warhol (until Governor Rockefeller had it removed); and lured Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. Meanwhile, the Fair—and its house band, Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians—sat in the musical shadows of the Beatles and Bob Dylan, who changed rock-and-roll right there in Queens. And as Southern civil rights efforts turned deadly, and violent protests also occurred in and around the Fair, Harlem-based Malcolm X predicted a frightening future of inner-city racial conflict.

World's Fairs have always been collisions of eras, cultures, nations, technologies, ideas, and art. But the trippy, turbulent, Technicolor, Disney, corporate, and often misguided 1964-65 Fair was truly exceptional.

This New York Times bestseller is a vivid account of the 1964-65 World’s Fair in New York City, a spectacle that embodied the innovation, lunacy, hope, and fear of a dramatic twenty-first century decade—and one that pitted Robert Moses vs. Andy Warhol, brought the vision of Walt Disney together with the Merry Pranksters, featured an Audio-Animatronic Abraham Lincoln and real-life LBJ in the midst of the Civil Rights struggle, and featured much, much more. Tomorrow-Land entertains, informs, and illustrates how the 1964-65 World’s Fair—inside its gates and just outside its gates—represents the cultural and political pivots taken by New York City, America, and the world during the 1960s.

Publisher: Guilford, Connecticut :, Lyons Press, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press,, [2014]
ISBN: 9780762780358
Branch Call Number: 607.3474 T
Characteristics: 355 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Alternate Title: Tomorrow land


From Library Staff

Thursday, August 14.

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Dec 11, 2014
  • ernstblofeld rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

When the author sticks to Robert Moses, and the planning and logistics of the Fair, he does well enough (especially in conveying Moses' monstrous character).

However the book suffers greatly due to the author's tired, boiler-plate Cold War narrative that cheerleads for USA and it's allies at the expense of any actual political analysis beyond "those evil Commies/Arabs."

The civil rights movement in the U.S. rightly is featured a great deal but there is little effort or success at contextualizing it in relation to the international facade of the Fair.

Beyond the scope of such a project? A, uh, "fair" point if it were not for the devolvement of the end of the book into unadorned worship of Bob Dylan.

The importance of his efforts and influence are overstated, seemingly due to the fact that he played the Singer Bowl at the Fair.

If there is room for that, there would've been room for more substantive analysis of various other topics.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Find it at NYPL


Other Formats

Buy It Now

Support your library, keep it forever!

View Purchase Options Learn more about this program

Your Cart

Hello! We noticed you have the following items in your cart right now:

If you'd still like to purchase the items you have in your cart, you can do that now.

You'll be able to purchase your eBook after you have checked out your current cart.

Tirella, Joseph

To continue with your eBook purchase immediately, you can clear your cart by clicking below.

All items will be removed from your cart.

I'd like to keep browsing! I'll decide later.

Explore Further

Browse the Shelf

Subject Headings