counter create hit The City's End: Two Centuries of Fantasies, Fears, and Premonitions of New York's Destruction - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

The City's End: Two Centuries of Fantasies, Fears, and Premonitions of New York's Destruction

Availability: Ready to download

From nineteenth-century paintings of fires raging through New York City to scenes of Manhattan engulfed by a gigantic wave in the 1998 movie Deep Impact, images of the city’s end have been prolific and diverse. Why have Americans repeatedly imagined New York’s destruction? What do the fantasies of annihilation played out in virtually every form of literature and art mean? From nineteenth-century paintings of fires raging through New York City to scenes of Manhattan engulfed by a gigantic wave in the 1998 movie Deep Impact, images of the city’s end have been prolific and diverse. Why have Americans repeatedly imagined New York’s destruction? What do the fantasies of annihilation played out in virtually every form of literature and art mean? This book is the first to investigate two centuries of imagined cataclysms visited upon New York, and to provide a critical historical perspective to our understanding of the events of September 11, 2001. Max Page examines the destruction fantasies created by American writers and imagemakers at various stages of New York’s development. Seen in every medium from newspapers and films to novels, paintings, and computer software, such images, though disturbing, have been continuously popular. Page demonstrates with vivid examples and illustrations how each era’s destruction genre has reflected the city’s economic, political, racial, or physical tensions, and he also shows how the images have become forces in their own right, shaping Americans’ perceptions of New York and of cities in general.


Compare

From nineteenth-century paintings of fires raging through New York City to scenes of Manhattan engulfed by a gigantic wave in the 1998 movie Deep Impact, images of the city’s end have been prolific and diverse. Why have Americans repeatedly imagined New York’s destruction? What do the fantasies of annihilation played out in virtually every form of literature and art mean? From nineteenth-century paintings of fires raging through New York City to scenes of Manhattan engulfed by a gigantic wave in the 1998 movie Deep Impact, images of the city’s end have been prolific and diverse. Why have Americans repeatedly imagined New York’s destruction? What do the fantasies of annihilation played out in virtually every form of literature and art mean? This book is the first to investigate two centuries of imagined cataclysms visited upon New York, and to provide a critical historical perspective to our understanding of the events of September 11, 2001. Max Page examines the destruction fantasies created by American writers and imagemakers at various stages of New York’s development. Seen in every medium from newspapers and films to novels, paintings, and computer software, such images, though disturbing, have been continuously popular. Page demonstrates with vivid examples and illustrations how each era’s destruction genre has reflected the city’s economic, political, racial, or physical tensions, and he also shows how the images have become forces in their own right, shaping Americans’ perceptions of New York and of cities in general.

30 review for The City's End: Two Centuries of Fantasies, Fears, and Premonitions of New York's Destruction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rob Atkinson

    [3.5 stars] As a native New Yorker and NYC history buff, I enjoyed this chronicle of popular culture’s persistent death-wish fantasies of New York’s destruction, by monsters, climate change, nuclear war, fires, floods and arch-villains’ evil plots. Rose demonstrates the continuity of the theme (briefly interrupted by the shock of 9/11, but quickly resumed); however 80% of the material he employs is second-tier: pulp fiction, comics, and B (or worse) movies. This book has certainly got me trackin [3.5 stars] As a native New Yorker and NYC history buff, I enjoyed this chronicle of popular culture’s persistent death-wish fantasies of New York’s destruction, by monsters, climate change, nuclear war, fires, floods and arch-villains’ evil plots. Rose demonstrates the continuity of the theme (briefly interrupted by the shock of 9/11, but quickly resumed); however 80% of the material he employs is second-tier: pulp fiction, comics, and B (or worse) movies. This book has certainly got me tracking down some of the cheesy sci-fi movies he cites and turned me on to my current read, Paul Auster’s “Country Of Last Things”, which I am loving. But many of the titles talked about at length are probably justly forgotten. This is a fun diversion for pop-culture and New-Yorkiana geeks, and I’d recommend it to that crowd.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ely

    An broad, but not terribly deep, analysis of a fascinating subject. Nice to see "Soylent Green" getting the academic treatment though. An broad, but not terribly deep, analysis of a fascinating subject. Nice to see "Soylent Green" getting the academic treatment though.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Americans have long had a complex relationship with their nation's largest city. Despite (or perhaps because of) New York City's central role in the financial, social, and cultural life of the nation, many have fantasized and depicted its destruction in print, on canvas, and on the silver screen. In this book Max Page examines nearly two centuries of works depicting New York destruction in an effort to draw out their social and cultural meaning. From it he divines commonalities that say much abo Americans have long had a complex relationship with their nation's largest city. Despite (or perhaps because of) New York City's central role in the financial, social, and cultural life of the nation, many have fantasized and depicted its destruction in print, on canvas, and on the silver screen. In this book Max Page examines nearly two centuries of works depicting New York destruction in an effort to draw out their social and cultural meaning. From it he divines commonalities that say much about our broader anxieties regarding modern society, anxieties that we project onto the city in disaster tale after disaster tale. Page's examination is chronological, with all the strengths and weaknesses that come with this approach. In the nineteenth century, destruction typically took the form of some sort of natural disaster, a modern-day biblical cleansing that would wipe away the sins Americans already associated with Gotham. By the early twentieth century, some authors offered social criticisms as well as moral ones, as did W. E. B. Du Bois when he penned a short story that used the survival of a black man and a white woman to make a broader statement about racism. The destruction of the city was also sometimes accomplished at the hands of an foreign attacker, a useful way of making political points about preparedness and vulnerability. By the 1960s, the sense of urban crisis came to predominate in many depictions, suggesting that its destruction would come from within rather than without. Though the attacks of September 11 brought a temporary moratorium on such explorations, it was not long before the city was being flooded, frozen, and smashed once again, demonstrating that as long as New York remained America's premier metropolis it would be continued to be targeted by writers, artists, and film makers. Broad ranging and generously supplemented with illustrations, Page's book is an interesting examination of the meaning behind fictional destruction of New York. The September 11 attacks loom large within his analysis as an intersection between life and the theme of the works in his study, suggesting just how much of our fixation on this day was rooted in the longstanding fixation he examines. Yet his focus is somewhat idiosyncratic, as he excludes many relevant works (such as Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka's novel Warday) while important historical events such as the burning of the city during the American Revolution barely rate a mention. As a result the book ultimately proves to be something of a disappointment; while readers interested in New York City or disaster fiction with find points of interest in it, most will finish it wanting more than what the author offers, which is a shame given the promise of his topic.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bill Wallace

    Since its founding, New York City has been destroyed by sin, Socialism, Communism, Fascism, Capitalism, crime, meteors, floods, the bomb, dinosaurs, apes, plague, and a swarm of metal-eating termites. Writers who have trashed the Big Apple include such luminaries as Ignatius Donnelly, WEB Dubois, H.G. Wells, Orson Welles, Stan Lee, and Stephen Vincent Benet. Urbanist Max Page delivers here a modest essay on the history of the city's fictional devastation and, of greater interest, some cogent and Since its founding, New York City has been destroyed by sin, Socialism, Communism, Fascism, Capitalism, crime, meteors, floods, the bomb, dinosaurs, apes, plague, and a swarm of metal-eating termites. Writers who have trashed the Big Apple include such luminaries as Ignatius Donnelly, WEB Dubois, H.G. Wells, Orson Welles, Stan Lee, and Stephen Vincent Benet. Urbanist Max Page delivers here a modest essay on the history of the city's fictional devastation and, of greater interest, some cogent and convincing analysis of what the scenarios have signified in the context of their times. Simply written but never simplistic, his book is also a brief history of urban theory and how it has evolved over almost 200 years. The book is also a good catalog of themes in popular culture that touch on apocalyptic fear (and yearning), including a surprisingly sharp analysis of comic books, from Superman to Spiegelman. There are also a bunch of nice illustrations, including full for Collier's magazine. Cheap copies are plentiful on Amazon and anyone with an interest in this particular niche of our perverse culture should probably check this book out.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Max Page has created an elegantly designed, well-proportioned survey of fictional portrayals of New York’s destruction. I was initially drawn to this book because I was curious about the persistent presence of this kind of destruction in my own fantasy life: What was behind my apparent need to imaginatively destroy New York? I moved to New York a little while ago, and was mildly unnerved by how frequently I soothed myself by picturing it destroyed in true disaster film fashion. In the context of Max Page has created an elegantly designed, well-proportioned survey of fictional portrayals of New York’s destruction. I was initially drawn to this book because I was curious about the persistent presence of this kind of destruction in my own fantasy life: What was behind my apparent need to imaginatively destroy New York? I moved to New York a little while ago, and was mildly unnerved by how frequently I soothed myself by picturing it destroyed in true disaster film fashion. In the context of my own sublimated psychological issues, I was thankful to have a broader understanding of this impulse. This is a useful survey of the destruction of New York in relation to greater sociological fears, personal psychological postures, and (especially) cinematic and literary history. It’s a decent book – with many illustrations – that, while probably not of great interest to a large demographic, is nonetheless enlightening for the general reader. Anyone who is interested in disaster movies, for example, will find something here that is worthwhile.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

    This book examines the variety of fiction work that has destroyed New York City and seeks to explain why society has such a hunger for envisioning the city's end. I enjoyed Page's description of some older apocalyptic fiction I wasn't aware of (W.E.B. Dubois' The Comet sounds pretty interesting) and his coverage of the familiar (Independence Day, Armageddon, etc.). I was a bit disappointed not to see The Stand mentioned, because Larry Underwood's escape through the horrors of the Lincoln tunnel is This book examines the variety of fiction work that has destroyed New York City and seeks to explain why society has such a hunger for envisioning the city's end. I enjoyed Page's description of some older apocalyptic fiction I wasn't aware of (W.E.B. Dubois' The Comet sounds pretty interesting) and his coverage of the familiar (Independence Day, Armageddon, etc.). I was a bit disappointed not to see The Stand mentioned, because Larry Underwood's escape through the horrors of the Lincoln tunnel is one of my favorite visuals from any work of fiction. Also, one of my favorite movies, Cloverfield, wasn't mentioned, but I'm sure that was due to the movie coming out recently. Overall, I enjoyed this book and thought it had some good insight into why we are always seeking to destroy New York City in our fiction (excluding the brief interlude after 9/11, which is also discussed). If you are a fan of apocalyptic fiction, this book is worth a look.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Kim

    A pretty interesting read and a stimulating cinematic analysis. On the other hand, pretty repetitive.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dave Friedrich

  10. 4 out of 5

    Owen

  11. 4 out of 5

    Oliver

  12. 4 out of 5

    Christine Freschi

  13. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  14. 4 out of 5

    Will

  15. 5 out of 5

    John

  16. 4 out of 5

    Neil Condit

  17. 5 out of 5

    Peter

  18. 5 out of 5

    Noel

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  20. 4 out of 5

    Hugh N

  21. 4 out of 5

    Heather Johnston

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rowena

  23. 5 out of 5

    Dean

  24. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

  25. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nick Frangipane

  27. 5 out of 5

    Han OC

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Massa

  29. 4 out of 5

    Martin Lund

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lee

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.