Book: 100 Years of Oz

100 Years of Oz
John Fricke

This is a large and attractive book that focuses on images of objects from the Oz collection of Willard Carroll, which is one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of its kind in the world. The book is divided into sections by decade, starting in the first decade of the 1900s and going all the way up to the end of the 1990s. Each section showcases memorabilia that is either from or closely related to Oz events from that decade. As a result there are definite themes in many decades. For example, the 1930s focuses on the MGM movie “The Wizard of Oz” which first came out in 1939 and the 1970s focuses on the musical The Wiz which appeared both on stage and on screen in that decade. This makes for a fascinating romp down the yellow brick road of twentieth century Oz imagery.

Each section begins with a few pages of text discussing the theme of the decade and the changes and development that happened to the world of Oz during that time. Throughout the text are small images of important pieces of memorabilia and following it are several pages with simply images and captions of more objects. Sprinkled liberally throughout are quotes from the books, movies and plays that take place in Oz. The text is brief, but packed full of extensively researched information. This makes for a quick read, but a very interesting one. I was very impressed with the text both for its skilled brevity and for its completeness of information.

The images are wonderful. There are dolls, books, stamps, ornaments, and nearly anything else Oz related that you could ever think of! I loved the peanut butter jars and the various kits, they were so interesting to see. So much of the memorabilia pictured is so rare that this may be the only way most people would ever be able to see it! The presentation is attractive and (for the most part) the photography is excellent. There were a few instances where the artinesses of the photographs made it difficult to really see the objects, which was rather irritating. Nevertheless, the majority of the images are well done and the book is a lot of fun to flip through!

This is a wonderful book. It is very interesting and extremely well designed. It is probably not for everyone, but it would be very interesting for anyone who likes either Oz or memorabilia and I highly recommend it!

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