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Intimate Enemies: The Two Worlds of Baroness de Pontalba
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Top Customer Reviews
Her first few chapters rock, especially the ones about the old Almonester and his fights with the Cabildo, followed by the biography of the old Pontalba. Those are the best chapters of the entire book. Vella did a fantastic job with placing those characters in a broader historical setting. Beautifully written, she doesn't hesitate to give psychological explanations to those men's actions, and does so convincingly. Vella even allows herself to comment ironically on certain developments, or (dis)approve of the actions of her characters, which is pretty rare in modern historical scolarship. (Why?)
The scene then shifts from New Orleans to France, and the story becomes one of a superweird triangle relationship between Micael, Celestin, and Celestin's father, with a pretty dramatic ending. The broader historical perspective shifts accordingly, from the organization of a colonial society to a gender study of early 18th century France. What were the (im)possibilities of a unhappily married woman in this society? Micael, by her extraordinary personality, pushes the boundaries of the possible to the extreme.
The last few chapters of "Intimate enemies", where Christina Vella retraces the building activities of Micael in Paris and New Orleans, are the weakest.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was *magnificent*. Up-front disclaimers: the events depicted in the book are horrible in parts -- attempted murder, children that died in infancy (they don't get a lot of... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Raven
I owned and read this book years ago, but can't find it so I'm ordering another. I never visit or think of New Orleans without thinking of this remarkable woman. Read morePublished 8 months ago by A. Martin
I am a tour guide in New Orleans and am always looking for resources for my tours. This is by far one of the best - if you only read a few books about New Orleans this should be... Read morePublished 19 months ago by C. Denver Mullican
This book is an intimate look into one of New Orleans' greatest legends. Read to learn the amazing life of the Baroness de PontalbaPublished 19 months ago by Marc Charbonnet
The history of that era and place is an eye opener.
Modern day feminists could take a lesson from the survival skills of this exceptional woman.
It was an interesting story and i learned much about the history of New Orleans that i did not know but thought it was poorly written. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Jacqueline F. Shreves
This was a very well written book. Christina Vella painted a vivid picture, utilizing a great number of sources which gave her book a well rounded perspective. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Linda Pepperman
This book is very interesting and historic. Reader is on the edge of his seat, anxious to continue reading, needing to know how the charactors survived.Published on December 29, 2010 by Ed Travis