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Paris Reborn

Napoléon III, Baron Haussmann, and the Quest to Build a Modern City
Nov 30, 2016
This book is an easy and fast read, well written, and enjoyable. To a great extent, it repeats the history of Haussmann's work which has been commented on many times before. The one contribution the author appears to have made is ascribing greater influence for the overall project and objectives to Napoleon III, as opposed to Haussmann, who is usually given the credit. However, the author's text makes it clear that even Napoleon III was not the original creator as ideas about modernizing Paris had been bruited about for decades before the advent of the Second Empire. Also, in a quick aside near the end, the author mentions briefly the works of the Third Republic which completed, continued and extended the previous accomplishments. This book succeeds as a light even frothy history of events but does not deliver for a reader seeking a solid, deeply researched account of the incredible complexity of what was accomplished, and this in spite of the author's architectural background. Also, there are no detailed maps showing the extent of the works and the transformations wrought.