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Twenty short tales of Paris

Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris - Graham Robb

This book is not a conventional narrative of the history of Paris, nor is it the comprehensive study of its denizens that its title might suggest. Rather, what Graham Robb has written is a collection of short tales about some of the people and events that have experienced and shaped the city, from a trip taken by a young Corsican lieutenant to Paris on the eve of of the French Revolution (spoiler: it's Napoleon Bonaparte) to an account of the riots by second-generation immigrants in Paris's suburbs in 2005. Robb uses these stories to illuminate the distinctive character of Parisians and how they both reflect and contributed to the development of the modern metropolis. There is considerable variety both in Robb's selections and in their presentation, as a few of the tales are presented as dialogues or scripts. Inevitably some will be of greater appeal to readers than others depending on their own interests, but nearly everyone interested in the history of the "City of Lights" will find something in its pages to entertain and inform them.