Sunday 9 June 2019

Paris at the End of the World

Finished June 4
Paris at the End of the World: The City of Light During the Great War, 1914-1918 by John Baxter

This book has a split focus. Part of it is following the experiences of John's grandfather as he left his family in Australia and signed up to be a soldier in Europe. The other is the one in the title, Paris herself during this historic time. The book moves back and forth between these two things.
On the personal side, John was looking to both discover what his grandfather's motives and experiences were, and find out where he was during his time in Europe.
On the bigger picture side, John used a variety of historical items and situations to bring this time in Paris to life. He looks at a variety of historical figures including Jean Cocteau, Misia Sert, Douglas Haig, Rupert Brooke, and Joseph-Simon Gallieni. He uses contemporaneous news and entertainment magazines, postcards, ephemera, and other resources to bring the city of Paris and its people to life.
There are lots of little tidbits of information the author shows here that humanizes the people he writes about and makes the book very interesting.

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