Paris: The Secret History
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Paris: The Secret History

4.2 10
by Andrew Hussey
     
 

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ISBN-10: 1596913231

ISBN-13: 9781596913233

Pub. Date: 11/28/2006

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

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

Overview

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 to prostitution and opium dens. The many pieces of the city coexist, each one as real as the next. What's more, the conflicted identity of the city is visible everywhere-between cobblestones, in bars, on the métro.

In 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 Secret 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 picaresque journey through royal palaces, brothels, and sidewalk cafés, uncovering the rich, exotic, and often lurid history of the world's most beloved city.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596913233
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
11/28/2006
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
512
Product dimensions:
6.37(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.50(d)

Table of Contents

Contents

List of Illustrations....................xi
Acknowledgements....................xiv
Introduction: An Autopsy on an Old Whore....................xv
1 Dirty Water....................3
2 Severed Heads....................14
3 Sea Gods....................22
4 Infidels....................31
5 A Cruel and Brilliant Place....................45
6 Sacred Geometry....................52
7 Lovers and Scholars....................57
8 Saints, Poets, Thieves....................67
9 Destroying the Temple....................76
10 Rebels and Riots....................82
11 The English Devils....................89
12 Machaberey's Dance....................93
13 Maps and Legends....................102
14 Dark with Excess of Light....................107
15 Choose Now - The Mass or Death!....................114
16 As Above, So Below....................122
17 Sinister Days....................129
18 Making Paradise Visible....................137
19 A Marvellous Confusion....................145
20 Splendour and Misery....................155
21 Shadow and Stench....................165
22 Porno Manifesto....................172
23 Night-Vision....................179
24 From Revolt to Revolution....................190
25 The Bloody Path to Utopia....................198
26 Empire....................209
27 Occupation and Restoration....................220
28 The Bourgeois World of Louis-Philippe....................228
29 Balzac's Mirror....................237
30 The Age of Contempt....................245
31 The Cretin's Empire....................258
32 Ghosts in Daylight....................266
34 After the Orgy....................291
35 New Spirits....................309
36? New Wars....................320
37 Paris Peasants....................329
38 Darkness Falls....................338
39 Night and Fog....................353
40 Patriots and Traitors....................369
41 Landscapes After the Battle....................383
42 The Seventh 'Wilaya'....................393
43 An Obscure Conspiracy....................403
44 The Killing of Paris?....................416
Epilogue: Paris Underground....................432
Notes....................434
Select Bibliography....................458
Index....................463

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Paris: The Secret History 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
DaveandElaine More than 1 year ago
Ever wonder just where historical events happened in Paris? Interested in Roman Lutetia, King Clovis, Sts. Genevieve & Denis, architecture, church history, Capetians, and would you be surprised that things and places in Paris from ts earliest times still exist? But most of all, are you interested in the the common, but extraordinary, people who lived in this great city these more than 2000 years? Where and how did they live? What did they do for a living, how healthy were they, where did they teach, do laundry, fetch water, worship, make love, build bridges, catch fish, where did they get all the stone for their city? Why did they rebel and die for their causes? Are you interested in more recent events like WW II, post war politics, student and ethnic uprisings, how the city fares today? You'll find the answers and so much more in this wonderfully enjoyable book. It reads like a novel full of colorful characters of every sort and from every era. Paris lives and breathes on every page. We visited the city last May-June and after reading Andrew Hussey's book we sigh more deeply than ever to go back. "Paris, The Secret History" could easily be used alongside any good guidebook for it provides layers of additional depth and passion to every place, every person and every event. Of the dozens of histories on the city of Paris that we've read, this is by far the best in every respect.
Bliokh More than 1 year ago
One can easily recommend some book because of its solid judgment and few errors. It is another matter altogether to be fascinated by the book despite its obvious failings. And this book is fascinating indeed. This is a popular history of Paris as a living being, mostly chronological, but unsystematic and anecdotal; I could not tear myself from it for several days.
Hussey's book contains many lapses of judgment. For instance, its author
does not seem to care about modern architecture preferring old slums with "character" and other sentimental stuff; another quintessential Parisian, probably Charles Nodier, once quipped: "During the times of Voltaire even educated people thought that a gazebo in a fake Greco-Roman style had style, while the Notre Dame did not." He obviously does not think much of scientists and engineers as well because the contributions of Parisians to scientific or technical progress are practically absent from the book. Not so of homosexuals whose progress is specifically outlined in every other chapter; and similarly to the Jews, who are mentioned only as nameless targets of persecution, while their cultural and economic contributions to the city are omitted. Without a slightest tint of disapproval Hussey provides a lengthy quote from XIXth Century American journalist who uses a racial slur to describe an Afro-American transplant to Paris. Slightly less troubling is his routine tutelage of young, sexually active women as "whores."
The author shares strange French adoration of L.-F. Seline though the private man was as personally repugnant as his Nazi views were inhumane; Jean Genet is rashly called the "enemy of all authority" (but obviously not the Gestapo, association with which he flaunted long before it became safe again). Marquis de Gallifet is nicknamed by Hussey a "sadistic dandy" for the dapper General's role as a butcher of Paris Commune in 1871. Forgotten is the General¿s achievement, as a French Minister of War, in creating professional and de-politicized French Army. Finally, the seat of Yaroslav the Wise, the Grand Prince of the Kievan Rus and Henry I father-in-law is called "an old Ukrainian city" about as accurately as it would be to call J. Caesar "an Italian dictator" or Cleopatra "an Arab princess."
Yet, for all its defects, "Paris" is a wonderful read.
This and other book reviews can be found on my blog
oldpossumsbookreview.blogspot.com
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I came from the review of Goosefeather's Curse...?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lots of interesting facts about early Paris and how village evolved into modern day Paris. I wish I had read the book before going to on vacation to Paris.
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