Paris at the End of the World by John Baxter takes readers into the city of Paris during World War I. Bringing history, biography, and his grandfather’s diaries together, Baxter is able to see how its history helped form the spirit of Paris today.
“A preeminent writer on Paris, John Baxter brilliantly brings to life one of the most dramatic and fascinating periods in the city's history. During World War I, the terrifying sounds of the nearby front could be heard from inside the French capital; Germany's "Paris Gun" and enemy aviators routinely bombarded the city.
And yet in its darkest hour, the City of Light blazed more brightly than ever. Its taxis shuttled troops to the front; its great railway stations received reinforcements from across the world; its grand museums and cathedrals housed the wounded; and the Eiffel Tower hummed at all hours, relaying messages to and from the trenches. At night, Parisians lived with urgency and without inhibition, embracing the lush and the libertine. The rich hosted parties that depleted their wine cellars of the finest vintages. Artists such as Pablo Picasso achieved new creative heights. And the war brought a wave of foreigners to the city for the first time, including Ernest Hemingway and Baxter's own grandfather, Archie, whose diaries he uses to reconstruct a soldier's-eye view of the war years.
Uncovering a thrilling chapter in Paris's history, John Baxter's revelatory new book shows how this extraordinary period was essential in forging the spirit of the city we love today.” – Paris at the End of the World
Paris at the End of the World is a clever book written by Baxter to show off this part of history. Written with the help and inspiration of his grandfather’s diaries, he uses to create a view of how the war was like.
Personally, I thought this was a unique and interesting spin on telling a story about history. There are a lot of interesting facts included in the book, of course, but the author does a good job of also incorporating it into a story to make it readable, entertaining, and educational. As someone who has never been to Paris, it makes me want to go visit one day, and also learn more about it.
If you are interested in learning more about World War I, Paris, or reading a crafty story, I think you will enjoy this book.
* Thank you to the publisher of Paris at the End of the World, Harper, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.