The story of the world-famous monument and the extraordinary world's fair that introduced it
Since it opened in May 1889, the Eiffel Tower has been an iconic image of modern times-as much a beacon of technological progress as an enduring symbol of Paris and French culture. But as engineer Gustave Eiffel built the now-famous landmark to be the spectacular centerpiece of the 1889 World's Fair, he stirred up a storm of vitriol from Parisian tastemakers, lawsuits, and predictions of certain structural calamity.
In "Eiffel's Tower," Jill Jonnes, critically acclaimed author of "Conquering Gotham," presents a compelling account of the tower's creation and a superb portrait of Belle Epoque France. As Eiffel held court that summer atop his one-thousand-foot tower, a remarkable host of artists and personalities-Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, Gauguin, Whistler, and Edison-traveled to Paris and the Exposition Universelle to mingle and make their mark.
Like "The Devil in the White City, Brunelleschi's Dome," and David McCullough's accounts of the building of the Panama Canal and the Brooklyn Bridge, "Eiffel's Tower" combines technological and social history and biography to create a richly textured portrayal of an age of aspiration, dreams, and progress.
In the tradition of The Professor and the Madman, this fascinating account describes the astounding life of Therese Humbert, a 19th-century con-artist eccentric who lifted herself out of poverty by posing as an aristocrat. Illustrations.
"NEW YORK TIMES" BESTSELLER
Many are familiar with the story of the much-married King Henry VIII of England and the celebrated reign of his daughter, Elizabeth I. But it is often forgotten that the life of the first Tudor queen, Elizabeth of York, Henry s mother and Elizabeth s grandmother, spanned one of England s most dramatic and perilous periods. Now "New York Times "bestselling author and acclaimed historian Alison Weir presents the first modern biography of this extraordinary woman, whose very existence united the realm and ensured the survival of the Plantagenet bloodline.
Her birth was greeted with as much pomp and ceremony as that of a male heir. The first child of King Edward IV, Elizabeth enjoyed all the glittering trappings of royalty. But after the death of her father; the disappearance and probable murder of her brothers the Princes in the Tower; and the usurpation of the throne by her calculating uncle Richard III, Elizabeth found her world turned upside-down: She and her siblings were declared bastards.
As Richard s wife, Anne Neville, was dying, there were murmurs that the king sought to marry his niece Elizabeth, knowing that most people believed her to be England s rightful queen. Weir addresses Elizabeth s possible role in this and her covert support for Henry Tudor, the exiled pretender who defeated Richard at the Battle of Bosworth and was crowned Henry VII, first sovereign of the House of Tudor. Elizabeth s subsequent marriage to Henry united the houses of York and Lancaster and signaled the end of the Wars of the Roses. For centuries historians have asserted that, as queen, she was kept under Henry s firm grasp, but Weir shows that Elizabeth proved to be a model consort pious and generous who enjoyed the confidence of her husband, exerted a tangible and beneficial influence, and was revered by her son, the future King Henry VIII.
Drawing from a rich trove of historical records, Weir gives a long overdue and much-deserved look at this unforgettable princess whose line descends to today s British monarch a woman who overcame tragedy and danger to become one of England s most beloved consorts.
Praise for "Elizabeth of York"
Weir tells Elizabeth s story well. . . . She is a meticulous scholar. . . . Most important, Weir sincerely admires her subject, doing honor to an almost forgotten queen. "The New York Times Book Review"
In Alison] Weir s skillful hands, Elizabeth of York returns to us, full-bodied and three-dimensional. This is a must-read for Tudor fans "Historical Novels Review"
This bracing biography reveals a woman of integrity, who . . . helped her husband] lay strong groundwork for the success of the new Tudor dynasty. As always in a Weir book, the tenor of the times is drawn with great color and authenticity. "Booklist"
Weir once again demonstrates that she is an outstanding portrayer of the Tudor era, giving us a fully realized biography of a remarkable woman. "Huntington News""
Their love was legendary, their ambition flagrant and unashamed. Napoleon Bonaparte and his wife, Josephine, came to power during one of the most turbulent periods in the history of France. The story of the Corsican soldier s incredible rise has been well documented. Now, in this spellbinding, luminous account, Kate Williams draws back the curtain on the woman who beguiled him: her humble origins, her exorbitant appetites, and the tragic turn of events that led to her undoing.
Born Marie-Josephe-Rose de Tascher de La Pagerie on the Caribbean island of Martinique, the woman Napoleon would later call Josephine was the ultimate survivor. She endured a loveless marriage to a French aristocrat executed during the Reign of Terror then barely escaped the guillotine blade herself. Her near-death experience only fueled Josephine s ambition and heightened her determination to find a man who could finance and sustain her. Though no classic beauty, she quickly developed a reputation as one of the most desirable women on the continent.
In 1795, she met Napoleon. The attraction was mutual, immediate, and intense. Theirs was an often-tumultuous union, roiled by their pursuit of other lovers but intensely focused on power and success. Josephine was Napoleon s perfect consort and the object of national fascination. Together they conquered Europe. Their extravagance was unprecedented, even by the standards of Versailles. But she could not produce an heir. Sexual obsession brought them together, but cold biological truth tore them apart.
Gripping in its immediacy, captivating in its detail, Ambition and Desire is a true tale of desire, heartbreak, and revolutionary turmoil, engagingly written by one of England s most praised young historians. Kate Williams s searing portrait of this alluring and complex woman will finally elevate Josephine Bonaparte to the historical prominence she deserves.
Praise for Ambition and Desire
Not just a scholarly work, but a page-turner . . . Williams is no stranger to creating works on strong and influential women, and, as in those works, here she does an admirable job of demystifying Josephine. . . . This engrossing and accessible account is for all readers who enjoy historical biography. Library Journal
A] riveting account . . . Williams perfectly illustrates all that was bizarre and maddening about French life during the reign of Josephine and Napoleon Bonaparte. Publishers Weekly
Intelligent and entertaining. Kirkus Reviews
An in-depth portrait of the substantive woman behind the throne. Booklist
Reading Ambition and Desire] is like watching Silk Stockings, the 1957 Hollywood masterpiece with Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. The book flows and jumps, taking the reader by the hand through tormented times in French history without ever letting you go or losing itself in the intricacies of French politics. The Times
A sparkling account of this most fallible and endearing of women. Daily Mail
A whirlwind tour of French history. The Telegraph"
No story of World War II is more triumphant than the liberation of France, made famous in countless photos of Parisians waving American flags and kissing GIs as columns of troops paraded down the Champs lys es. But one of the least-known stories from that era is also one of the ugliest chapters in the history of Jim Crow. In The Interpreter, celebrated author Alice Kaplan recovers this story both as eyewitnesses first saw it, and as it still haunts us today.The American Army executed 70 of its own soldiers between 1943 and 1946--almost all of them black, in an army that was overwhelmingly white. Through the French interpreter Louis Guilloux's eyes, Kaplan narrates two different trials: one of a white officer, one of a black soldier, both accused of murder. Both were court-martialed in the same room, yet the outcomes could not have been more different. Kaplan's insight into character and setting creates an indelible portrait of war, race relations, and the dangers of capital punishment. "A nuanced historical account that resonates with today's controversies over race and capital punishment." Publishers Weekly "American racism could become deadly for black soldiers on the front. The Interpreter reminds us of this sad component of a heroic chapter in American military history." Los Angeles Times "With elegance and lucidity, Kaplan revisits these two trials and reveals an appallingly separate and unequal wartime U.S. military justice system." Minneapolis Star Tribune "Kaplan has produced a compelling look at the racial disparities as they were played out...She explores both cases in considerable and vivid detail." Sacramento Bee
To be employed by a towering military and political figure such as Napoleon Bonaparte during the entire period of his active life allows an astute and precise observer, such as the baron, an incomparable opportunity to record history in the making. Claude-Francois de Meneval (1778-1850), a member of the old nobility, was the private secretary, close confidant, and trusted collaborator of the emperor from 1802 to Waterloo in 1815. He was to remain particularly close to the Empress Marie-Louise. Thanks to the author's private notes and his phenomenal memory, these memoirs were first published in Paris in 1827, and in an English translation in 1894 contemporaneously in London and New York. The book immediately became a key document for historians of the Napoleonic period not only because of the detailed view it provides of Napoleon as leader and statesman, his family, and the history of the period, but also because of its high literary quality and incomparable historical interest. While there are many other memoirs of Napoleon by those who worked at his side, few provide such a vivid portrait of the man, his entourage, and his action as a leader. Meneval, who was also a novelist and great letter writer, knew most of the French men and women of letters of his time, and those towering figures also occupy by their presence the pages of this extraordinary book.
Focusing on the last six years of Napolean's life, from his arrival at Devon to his exile on St. Helena, a compelling study of Napoleon in captivity attempts to recreate the fallen emperor by exploring contemporary documents and public records of opinion. Reprint.
On February 6, 1945, Robert Brasillach was executed for treason by a French firing squad. He was a writer of some distinction--a prolific novelist and a keen literary critic. He was also a dedicated anti-Semite, an acerbic opponent of French democracy, and editor in chief of the fascist weekly Je Suis Partout, in whose pages he regularly printed wartime denunciations of Jews and resistance activists.Was Brasillach in fact guilty of treason? Was he condemned for his denunciations of the resistance, or singled out as a suspected homosexual? Was it right that he was executed when others, who were directly responsible for the murder of thousands, were set free? Kaplan's meticulous reconstruction of Brasillach's life and trial skirts none of these ethical subtleties: a detective story, a cautionary tale, and a meditation on the disturbing workings of justice and memory, The Collaborator will stand as the definitive account of Brasillach's crime and punishment. A National Book Award Finalist A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist "A well-researched and vivid account."--John Weightman, New York Review of Books "A gripping reconstruction of Brasillach's] trial."--The New Yorker "Readers of this disturbing book will want to find moral touchstones of their own. They're going to need them. This is one of the few works on Nazism that forces us to experience how complex the situation really was, and answers won't come easily."--Daniel Blue, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review "The Collaborator is one of the best-written, most absorbing pieces of literary history in years."--David A. Bell, New York Times Book Review "Alice Kaplan's clear-headed study of the case of Robert Brasillach in France has a good deal of current-day relevance. . . . Kaplan's fine book . . . shows that the passage of time illuminates different understandings, and she leaves it to us to reflect on which understanding is better."--Richard Bernstein, The New York Times