The twentieth century was born not in the trenches of the Somme, but rather in the fifteen years preceding World War I. In this short span of time, a new world order was emerging in ultimately tragic contradiction to the old. The major topics of the day: terrorism, globalization, immigration, consumerism, the collapse of moral values, and the rivalry of superpowers. These were the years in which the political and personal repercussions of the Industrial Revolution were felt worldwide: cities grew as 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; mass-produced items transformed daily life; industrial laborers demanded a share of political power; and women sought to change their place in society. Historian Philipp Blom chronicles this extraordinary epoch year by year, bringing the wonders, horrors, and fears of the early twentieth century vividly to life.--From publisher description.