Book Reviews

The Other Paris

Paris, the city of lights, was founded around 900 A D, and is the most populous of France.

The city attracts millions of tourists, and while most visit the famous sites many are generally oblivious of its past.
Each arrondissment (district) has a distinct history, citizens specializing in a craft, industry, night life, and its share of drinking establishments (bistros), some serving wines , anthers beers.

Luc Sante pays a paean and eulogy of old Paris delving into anarchy, crime, and serendipity that once shaped the character of the city.

Up to the 19th century, rag pickers were combing the city to pick up rags, and anything edible, or usable to recycle or consume.

The author wrote an informative book, lively in style, evoking the turbulence of a vanished periods of Paris.

He deals with a  specific period in each chapter and explores its history, the dominant characters, how administrators reacted, or combated uprisings.

Paris` rich history is unfailingly linked to its modern look ad behaviour of its citizens.

Parisians never meekly accepted overwhelming government power, unreasonable rules and regulations. Revolts occurred frequently and violence swept through an entire district.

The Other Paris exposes excesses of bon vivants and speculators by telling the story of the needy, poor, and those excluded from comforts of the time. Capitalists reigned the city administration and lived their lives to the fullest while working people barely got by.

An excellent book on the history of Paris. It should be studied by anyone planning to visit the city, all historians, and students of the French culture.

Highly recommended.

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