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REVIEW Paris The Secret History

If Adam Gopnik's Paris to the Moon described daily life in contemporary Paris this book describes daily life in Paris throughout its history a history of the city from the point of view of the Parisians themselves Paris captures everyone's imaginations It's a backdrop for Proust's fictional pederast Robert Doisneau's photographic kiss and Edith Piaf's serenaded soldier lovers; a home as much to romance and love poems as t. I was disappointed by this one There are a lot of entertaining historical anecdotes in here but somehow as a whole it doesn t uite hang togetherPart of the problem is that it wants to be than just a factual history Hussey says in the prologue that he is modelling the project on Peter Ackroyd s wonderful London The Biography but that sets the bar pretty high He is decent when he sticks to the facts but when he starts trying to be metaphysical he just doesn t have Ackroyd s control and ends up drawing rather silly and pseudo profound conclusions like The death of Princess Diana could only have happened here she is only the latest and most famous example of those who have been fatally seduced here And so onPart of the reason Ackroyd was so good at moving beyond facts into psychogeography or whatever you want to call it is that he took a catholic thematic approach to his history Hussey just starts with the Celts and works his way methodically forwards in time Of course there s nothing wrong with that as a methodology but it does mean he has to work hard to keep each chapter coherent and occasionally it slips away from himThe book s focus is neither one thing or the other It claims to be a secret history which examines the city s underclasses its back alleys and criminals and occultists Yet there is a strong relience on fairly un secret narratives about kings and presidents and other great men or important dates The result is that neither strand seems wholly satisfyingHaving one eye on the downtrodden was a good idea and it provides the book with most of its best stories It s great to hear details about things like the bread of Madame Montpensier which used flour from ground up human bones during food shortages or about the semi mythical King of Thieves holding court over the city s beggars But too often his remit manifests itself only in a vague fascination with what he calls whores and a predilection for details which while often interesting can sometimes seem juvenileFinally the uality of the writing itself irritated me He does not know the difference between flout and flaunt He uses the seismological term epicentre as a lazy synonym for centre The net result of all this is a feeling that Hussey has a wealth of information about Paris but not a very good idea about how to organise it or talk about itYou ll get some interesting stuff out of this book but it s of an effort than it should be

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Paris The Secret History

O prostitution and opium dens The many pieces of the city coexist each one as real as the next What's the conflicted identity of the city is visible everywhere between cobblestones in bars on the métroIn this lively and lucid volume Andrew Hussey brings to life the urchins and artists who've left their marks on the city filling in the gaps of a history that affected the disenfranchised as much as the nobility Paris The S. I don t know how secret any of the book s contents are It is a book I ve been reading for many many months Reading it has led me to read other books and articles along the way

Andrew Hussey ↠ 1 DOWNLOAD

Ecret History ranges across centuries movements and cultural and political beliefs from Napoleon's overcrowded cemeteries to Balzac's nocturnal flight from his debts For Hussey Paris is a city whose long and conflicted history continues to thrive and change The book's is a picaresue journey through royal palaces brothels and sidewalk cafés uncovering the rich exotic and often lurid history of the world's most beloved cit. This is a remarkable biography of one of my favorite cities Paris What makes it uniue is that the author approached it via the eyes ears and thoughts of all the revolutionaries as well as the subversive classesartists who made up the city Hussy also wrote a really good Guy Debord biography It s kind of uniue because there are not that many biographies on Debord written by a foriegner Well at least now there are two I am sure there will be in the near future


10 thoughts on “Paris The Secret History

  1. says:

    I was disappointed by this one There are a lot of entertaining historical anecdotes in here but somehow as a whole it doesn't uite han

  2. says:

    If you love Paris as the City of Light this book might change your opinion The author digs deep into the history of the people and neighborhoods and it is not a pretty picture He covers the city from pre Roman times until the present day and because he has to cram a lot of history into 433 pages some events the

  3. says:

    An engaging and at times humorous and dark look at the secret history of Paris the history of this city as seen by the poor the disposed the criminals the prostitutes poets artists and the rebels throughout this cities history It’s a fun romp through history and the city travelling to places and areas known and unknown and learn

  4. says:

    I don't know how secret any of the book's contents are It is a book I've been reading for many many months Reading it has led me to read other books and articles along the way

  5. says:

    Excellent history of Paris Don't just read it before you go Take it with you

  6. says:

    I enjoyed this book uite a bit This is an history of Paris from Roman times to the present focusing on the workin

  7. says:

    Two out of five stars This was engaging but only fitfully so; the best chapters come at the beginning and then again towards the en

  8. says:

    This is a remarkable biography of one of my favorite cities Paris What makes it uniue is that the author approached it via the eyes ears and thoughts of all the revolutionaries as well as the subversive classesa

  9. says:

    Ugh Boring less than an inch deep and factually wrong in many places

  10. says:

    A good social history of Paris but there is nothing secret about it Perhaps it's simply because so much has been written abo