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Michael Sims[Robb] is an encyclopedia of French history. But this is no ordinary history book. Although the form varies—one chapter, for example, is presented as a film script—the book is a series of character portraits in chronological order, evolving into a rich and layered history of one of the great mythological cities of the world…Charles Dickens once complained that an essay lacked "the elegant play of fancy." Robb could never be accused of this shortcoming. His fancy plays across Parisian history, darting down every alley and into the minds of kings, novelists and painters.
—The Washington Post