Philipp Blom – The Vertigo Years

Europe, 1900 – 1914: a world adrift, a pulsating era of creativity and contradictions. The major topics of the day: terrorism, globalization, immigration, consumerism, the collapse of moral values, and the rivalry of superpowers. The 20th century was not born in the trenches of the Somme or Passchendaelebut rather in the 15 vertiginous years preceding World War I.

In this short span of time, a new world order was emerging in ultimately tragic contradiction to the old. These were the years in which the political and personal repercussions of the Industrial Revolution were felt worldwide: Cities grew like never before as people fled the countryside and their traditional identities; science created new possibilities as well as nightmares; education changed the outlook of millions of people; mass-produced items transformed daily life; industrial laborers demanded a share of political power; and women sought to change their place in society as well as the very fabric of sexual relations.

From the tremendous hope for a new century embodied in the 1900 Worlds Fair in Paris to the shattering assassination of a Habsburg archduke in Sarajevo in 1914, historian Philipp Blom chronicles this extraordinary epoch year by year. Prime Ministers and peasants, anarchists and actresses, scientists and psychopaths intermingle on the stage of a new century in this portrait of an opulent, unstable age on the brink of disaster. Beautifully written and replete with deftly told anecdotes, The Vertigo Years brings the wonders, horrors, and fears of the early 20th century vividly to life.

Author: Philipp Blom
Narrator: Joel Richards
Duration: 15 hours 29 minutes
Released: 10 Jul 2001
Publisher: Audible Studios
Language: English

User Review:

humility charming

I’ve been wanting to read this book for quite a while. Finally I see it’s available in audiobook form and I buy it! Oh my gosh, I don’t mean to be unkind but I hope they didn’t actually pay the person who narrated it.

Mispronunciations: Auschwitz is pronounced “Oss-witch.” Erascible is pronounced “Ee-rask-able.” Barbara Tuchman’s last name is pronounced “Touch-man.” I could go on and on.

Accents: He starts out giving the French people Russian accents until I realize that is his idea of a French accent. However, he keeps his own American accent when reading British voices. I’m only about a quarter of the way through, but I think he has given up doing doing accents altogether.

Foreign Languages: I am no expert on correct pronunciations of French or German words, but I *think* he is murdering them too.

Sound Quality: Generally, the sound quality is poor; it sounds like this had been recorded in a broom closet. And when a correction is ‘punched in’ – that is, a phrase or sentence is re-recorded later on – it sounds so different as to sound like a different narrator in a different studio.

I was so glad to see this book was available in audiobook format, I made the mistake of buying it without reading the reviews first. I am sorry for that.