The Rise and Fall of the Future: America’s Changing Vision of Tomorrow, 1939–1986
Mid–20th century America envisioned a wondrous future of comfort, convenience and technological advancement. Popular culture—including World’s Fairs, science fiction and advertising—fed high hopes even when war and hardship threatened. American ingenuity and consumer culture promised to deliver flying cars, undersea cities, household robots and space travel. By the 1960s political assassinations, the civil rights and women’s movements, the Vietnam War and the “generation gap” eroded that optimism, refocusing attention on the issues of the present. The nation’s utopian dream was brief but revealing. Based on a wide range of sources, this book takes a fresh look at America’s precipitous fall from futurism to disillusionment.