9780714838489 / 0714838489



Publisher:Phaidon Press



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About the book:

The 20th century has, more than any other period in history, forced those who lived through it to become brutally aware of their times. The huge impact of photography, with its permutations and manipulations, has created incredible images of human hope and suffering. Inured as we are to the sights of our age, anyone who leafs through the astonishing chronicle that is Bruce Bernard's Century cannot fail to be impressed and moved by this vast visual document of the last 100 years. Weighing 6kg and containing 1,100 black-and-white and colour photographs, Bernard's 30 years' experience as a picture editor with the Sunday Times Magazine have resulted in this significant document of human history. Divided into six sections--"1899-1914 High Hopes and Recklessness"; "1914-33 Self-Inflicted Wounds Remain Infected"; "1933-45 Rise and Fall of the Unspeakable";"1945-65 Atomic Truce Walks a Tightrope"; "1965-85 Vietnam to the Moon to Soviet Collapse" and "1986-99 Chaos and Hope on a Burdened Planet"--with accompanying text and quotations, Century displays an average of 10 images for each year, from the banal to the brilliant. And so in 1921 we can witness Claude Monet overseeing his glorious water-lily gardens next to an image of starving children in the Russian famine that followed the end of World War I; the young Princess Elizabeth walking her corgi in London's Hyde Park in 1934 while the facing page shows the moment of King Alexander I's assassination in Marseilles. American GIs laugh with girls on a German beach in 1946, a couple of pages on from the recently revealed horrors of the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Three decades later, and 1977 brings us the Sex Pistols in concert at the advent of punk rock, while anti-apartheid leader Steve Biko lies murdered by police in his South African cell. By turns harrowing and humorous, Century is a magnificent photographic testament to 100 years of human advancement, futility, acts of heroism and episodes of unspeakable cruelty. Ending on a note of hope with a still from a 1999 German production of Beethoven's opera Fidelio,a triumph of goodness over evil, it is hard to erase the preceding images of refugees fleeing Kosovo in the same month and the same year, history's hour of darkness come round once more. --Catherine Taylor

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