One Hundred Years of Human Progress, Regression, Suffering and Hope
An extraordinary, award-winning history of the last century in photographs.
Conceived and edited by Bruce Bernard
Before even opening this award-winning book, you are struck by the sheer physical presence of Century. With 1,224 pages and 1,090 images, this colossal volume offers an informative, intimate and incisive insight into the twentieth century from the very beginning to the very end. Century is an extensive historical trajectory through the twentieth century, told through an eclectic yet exhaustive sequence of monumental photographic images.
More than any other before it, the twentieth century was one of unforeseeable advances, discoveries and victories as well as unanticipated atrocities and suffering. It was also the first century to have been documented entirely through the lens of the camera. The chronological journey of Century - in a visually extraordinary sequence of images - takes us from the end of Queen Victoria's reign, through the antics of Buster Keaton and the odyssey into outer space, to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the news of September 11. Assimilated from diverse sources across the world, the photographs are instantly arresting and tirelessly thought-provoking. Selected for their capacity to expose distinctly human stories with the dynamism that drives historical change, the tome combines iconic images with photographs previously unseen, from international political events to highly personal and anonymous vignettes.
Each photograph is substantiated by a brief but thorough historical explanation; every single scene is brought to life by evocative literary and political quotations. Century is as much an historical tour de force as it is an enlightening visual celebration of the past from a vast range of angles.
"I have this fantastic book on a stand in my study. It's an incredible commentary on the 20th century, in many ways a century of horror, but which gave us the reasons why human rights matter. On every page beautiful black-and-white photographs display the inhumanity of war, lynching in America, Belsen, poverty, events throughout the world. I learned human rights by sitting in cells, in immigrant detention centres, in refugee camps. But you also learn from understanding our history and there's nothing more powerful than an image to remind us. In the field of law, we've got to keep remembering we're capable of terrible things unless we speak to our better angels." —Chosen by Helena Kennedy QC, Labour peer and humans rights campaigner, Observer, The New Review
"Intelligently conceived and edited, packed with memorable photographs." —The Observer
"Astonishing photographs from the last hundred years, brilliantly chosen and then tendentiously captioned. This is about as powerful as a picture book can be." —Evening Standard
"Your eyes will be glued to images by turns beautiful and horrifying. The captions are great too." —Daily Telegraph
"Century is an outstanding book, one to be treasured, viewed and re-viewed often." —The Good Book Guide
"Century is an extraordinary publishing feat - unforgettable images from the best of photo reportage – which sometimes define our understanding of the century more eloquently than words." —The Bookseller
Bruce Bernard (1929-2000) was Picture Editor of The Sunday Times Magazine and in 1980 he produced Photodiscovery - a highly respected account of the revolution in attitudes to photography. Bernard was Visual Arts Editor of the Saturday Independent Magazine for its first four years. He curated the exhibition 'All Human Life' at London's Barbican Centre in 1996, and was the curator of a private collection of photographs. Century is the culmination of his extensive knowledge and the experience he gained during 30 years of looking at pictures.
Terence McNamee, who acted as historical advisor and wrote the historical background for Century, studied politics and international relations at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and at the McGill University, Montreal.
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