Tomorrow-Land

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Select media coverage: New York Times Book ReviewKirkus ReviewsNew York Daily NewsPreservation magazine, Parade, WNYC’s The Takeaway

** A selection of Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers series for Spring 2014 ** 

Early praise for TOMORROW-LAND, by Joseph Tirella

Tomorrow-landThe theme of the 1964-65 World’s Fair in New York was ‘Peace Through Understanding.’ But as Joseph Tirella demonstrates in Tomorrow-Land, the fair’s preparations—and the United States, in general—were anything but peaceful in turbulent 1960s America. Tirella follows New York’s fair from its earliest days as a seed of an idea to 18 months after the last visitor left the fairgrounds and the land was rechristened Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. With great detail, he tells the story of powerful Robert Moses, New York’s ‘Master Builder’ who used any number of tricks and tactics to create the fair he envisioned—even when it became clear to the public that the fair was a financial disaster. He lays bare the political landscape of New York and all its major players, as well as all the negotiations and in fighting that took place during the years leading up to the fair’s opening. And Tirella takes readers past these planning stages to the opening day of the fair, when the pavilions were largely panned by architecture critics and the number of actual visitors fell far short of expectations. But understanding the 1964-65 fair and what led to its disappointing outcome, Tirella argues, requires an examination beyond the fair itself. It requires a closer look at America in the ‘60s. After all, fairs had always been a celebration of cultures, nations, and ideas, with an eye to the excitement of the future. Why was this fair not greeted with the same enthusiasm? To answer that, Tirella presents an impressive historic overview of the decade, spanning popular music trends, the political climate, Civil Rights efforts, and the rise in urban crime. He surveys the major players of the decade—the Beatles, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Andy Warhol, for starters—and the major events—like the Harlem Riots, New York City’s crackdown on downtown bohemians and artists, and the Vietnam War —to show that the world was changing in ways that no longer fit with the common ethos of the fairs of the past.”
Preservation magazine 

 “First-time author Tirella adroitly switches focus from Moses and the fair to external events in the city, nation and world and back again, following several disparate threads-the civil rights dialectic between Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., a New York City obscenity crusade that targeted Lenny Bruce and the gay bohemian subculture, the parallel paths of the Beatles and Bob Dylan, the escalation of the Vietnam War-and never losing control of the narrative’s forward momentum. With a huge cast of characters that includes Walt Disney, Andy Warhol, Muhammad Ali and the pope, the World’s Fair provides an excellent perspective on the 1960s in America. . . . Top-notch popular history.”
Kirkus Reviews

“In an interesting and original way, Joseph Tirella has used the storied setting of the 1964–65 World’s Fair in New York to describe the entrepreneurial spirit, the criminal nature, the egalitarian tendencies, and inevitable compromises that characterized a complex and important period in the history of the city and the nation.”
—Gay Talese, author of The Kingdom and the Power, The Bridge, and A Writer’s Life

TOMORROW-LAND: The 1964-65 World’s Fair and the Transformation of America
—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—

With 2014 being the fiftieth anniversary of the New York World’s Fair and the year 1964, Lyons Press is proud to announce the release of TOMORROW-LAND: The 1964­-65 World’s Fair and the Transformation of America, by Joseph Tirella (January 7, 2014, 978-0-7627-8035-8, $26.95 hardcover)—an epic narrative of the astonishing pivots taken by New York City, America, and the world during the World’s Fair—a spectacle that embodied the innovation, lunacy, hope, and fear of the 1960s and served as a flashpoint in areas from politics to pop culture, technology to urban planning, civil rights to violent crime.

TOMORROW-LAND is being released just a few months before the fiftieth anniversary of the Fair, which opened on April 22, 1964, and provides a natural peg from which to look at the amazing half-century since. But the Fair is not the only fiftieth anniversary coming up in 2014. There is an astounding number of events—musical, political, cultural, historical—that happened in 1964, and all are recounted in the book.

  • The opening of the Fair (April 22)
  • The Beatles arrive in America (Feb. 7); the Beatles play Ed Sullivan (Feb. 9); and more
  • The murder of Kitty Genovese (March 13) in Kew Gardens, Queens
  • Malcolm X delivers his “Ballot or the Bullet” speech (April 3)
  • Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters make their first cross-country acid-dropping trip in their psychedelic bus and arrive at the World’s Fair (July)
  • New York City cracks down on bohemians, downtown artists, poets, and gays (this actually began in late 1963 but was brought on by the impending arrival of the World’s Fair, and continued into 1964)
  • Bob Dylan releases his third album, The Times They Are A-Changing (January 13) and his fourth album, Another Side of Bob Dylan (August 8)

TOMORROW-LAND author Joseph Tirella is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Vibe, Rolling Stone, Esquire, People, the Daily News, Portfolio.com, and Reader’s Digest, among other publications. A former senior editor at Fortune Small Business, he is currently the Associate Director of Media Relations at Herbert H. Lehman College of the City University of New York.

One thought on “Tomorrow-Land

  1. I have 1964 new york city world fair w? muhamad ali attending the fair on 16mm film,. if you are intersted, pls let me know ., we ‘ll talk

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