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Comic Century: An Unreliable History of the 20th Century

Gautam Bhatia (Author)
Synopsis Over coffee at the Moulin Rouge, Picasso and Marie Curie discuss the theory of existentialism, with Pablo insisting that the natural existentialist never used contemporary reality as a cover for social and political change, at least not on Thursdays. Niels Bohr splits the atom using a sharp knife, only to find the Americans have beaten him to it, using a blender. Hugh Hefner ushers in the American sexual revolution by starting the first all-nude magazine. Called Playback, the inaugural issue showed complete stereophonic paraphernalia spread across the pages, both Sony speakers completely exposed and only a light muslin covering the receiver and dials. In this slightly askew history of the twentieth century, Gautam Bhatia revisits the past to give us his own version of what really happened when the Wright brothers embarked on their first test run, Hitler won the Nuremberg rally, Gandhi gatecrashed the Round Table Conference and other such equally momentous events. With his characteristic panache and impudent wit, Bhatia sprays the whole cast and events with humour, denuding them of their halos. Complementing these comic retellings are Vishwajyoti Ghosh’s brilliant illustrations which pull images and products out of known contexts to create a parallel story of irreverence and subversion. Shedding new light on the making of the automobile, the Indian independence movement, Marily Monroe and heart transplants, Comic Century is one history book that will not gather dust on the bookshelves.
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About the author

Gautam Bhatia

Gautam Bhatia graduated in Fine Arts and earned a Master's in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. A Delhi-based practising architect, he has received several awards for his buildings and written extensively on the subject. Besides Laurie Baker: Life, Work and Writings, he has written Punjabi Baroque, Silent Spaces and Malaria Dreams-a trilogy that focuses on the cultural and social aspects of architecture, The Punchtantra-a rewriting of the original Panchatantra into contemporary folk-tales and Comic Century, An Unreliable History of the 20th Century. Two recent shows of drawings entitled Looking Through Walls and The Good Life examined disparities between the professed goals of architecture and the public perception of building. Gautam Bhatia is currently working on Below the Horizon-A City Neighbourhood Underground, a sponsored project.

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Bibliographic information

Title Comic Century: An Unreliable History of the 20th Century
Author Gautam Bhatia
Format Softcover
Date published: 01.01.2004
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0143031406
length xviii+313p., Figures; 20cm.
Subjects History