I couldn't resist this rather battered copy of The Miracle of Man from the 1940s in a charity shop the other day. The impressive illustration on the jacket (above) reproduced again in fuller form on the endpapers (below) give an idea of the tone of this book. Optimism. This is a book about how wonderful humanity is and about its achievements are amazing. It would be hard to imagine a book being published with such a message today of course, but is it not equally remarkable that this book contains plenty of references to the Nazi Party "setting Europe alight" and yet still, promulgates that upbeat, optimistic, progress-is-everything view of the world that we have come to love from the the 1920s and 30s?
The last scan below is from a chapter titled, "Science - Miracle of Menace?" (the answer to which not being that much in question), and the caption that went with it captures the tone nicely "The ugliness associated with factories is gradually disappearing. Serious attempts are made not only to erect places entirely convenient for their main purpose - 'Functionalism' is the word coined for this - but to render them attractive to the operatives. The above representation of Power, in stainless steel, is on the building of an electric light company, and typifies the function of the structure. Art has found its way into the modern factory"
Needless to say, if anyone can supply a photograph of that statue and/or a location, it would be gratefully received.
UPDATE: Thank you to the ever resourceful J who, in the comments identifies this building as the Niagra Mohawk Power building in Syracuse NY. This photo below is from the buildings Wiki page but there are better ones at this link provided by J: http://www.buffaloah.com/a/virtual/us/syr/niagmo/niagmo.html