The 20th century in Europe was an urban century: it was shaped by life in, and the view from, the street. Women were not liberated in legislatures, but liberated themselves in factories, homes, nightclubs, and shops. Lenin, Hitler, and Mussolini made themselves powerful by making cities ungovernable, with riots rampaging through streets and bars occupied one-by-one.
New forms of privacy and isolation were not simply a by-product of prosperity; rather, they came about because people planned new ways of living: new forms of housing in suburbs and estates across the continent. Our proudest cultural achievements lie not in our galleries or state theatres, but in our suburban TV sets, the dance halls, pop music played in garages, and hip hop sung on our estates.
In Streetlife, Leif Jerram presents a totally new history of the 20th century, with the city at its heart, showing how everything distinctive about the century, from revolution and dictatorship to sexual liberation, was fundamentally shaped by the great urban centres which defined it.
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I want to read this book over and over.
This book ranks in the top ten of books I have read.
This is not a book of moments and scenes. It is a book of life; real life as it is lived. It is history in the making day-to-day. We read about kings, generals, world leaders and great people in our history books. We memorize dates and and great moments but this is a book of how life changes at the street level which is where we truly live. It is full of information and bits and pieces of facts that bring you through from the late 19th century to the mid 20th century introducing us to the simplest things such as the 'teenager' which did not exist before WWII and disposable income. Prior to then young people simply worked with thier families then married and life went on. Where did the soda shop come from? What did teens do before the War? How was seating arranged before lighting was available in large theaters? This book answers questions you never had and astonishes you in its simplicity. I enjoyed this book immensley.
I had a strong desire to re-read this book once I finished it.