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The Golden Moments of Paris: A Guide to the Paris of the 1920s Paperback – March 1, 2014

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The Golden Moments of Paris: A Guide to the Paris of the 1920s + Paris at the End of the World: The City of Light During the Great War, 1914-1918 (P.S.) + Twilight of the Belle Epoque: The Paris of Picasso, Stravinsky, Proust, Renault, Marie Curie, Gertrude Stein, and Their Friends through the Great War
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Few locales and epochs sound more intriguing than Paris, France, in the sizzling 1920s. Baxter (We'll Always Have Paris: Sex and Love in the City of Light; The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris; Chronicles of Old Paris) crafted 25 compelling stories that evoke les annes folles, or "crazy years" when American expatriates flocked to the City of Light to partake in romance, recreational drugs, and gender-bending fashions, while rubbing elbows with luminaries from the art world. Larger-than-life and unconventional characters include author and art connoisseur Gertrude Stein, artist Pablo Picasso, ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky, photographer Man Ray, writers F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, jazz singer Ada "Bricktop" Smith, poet Ezra Pound, and many others. This richly illustrated and beautifully formatted work also includes four walking tours of the Seine Left Bank, the path of Ernest Hemingway from the Latin Quarter and beyond, Montparnasse, and Trocadero. Francophiles and libertines alike will savor this book as they explore Paris and walk in the footsteps of so many notable and talented individuals. The index and detailed table of contents assist with finding specific information. VERDICT For larger travel collections and readers who enjoy lesser-known details of a particular travel destination.—Elizabeth Connor, Daniel Lib., The Citadel, Military Coll. of South Carolina, CharlestonLibrary Journal Booksmack! LJXpress Prepub


Paris, especially the Paris between the two world wars, continues to resonate with many people around the globe. The city has had many golden ages but probably none as famous as the 1920s: the Paris of the Lost Generation. This is the Paris of Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds, of Gertrude Stein and so many others, when the City of Light was a veritable living museum of cultural activity: literature, music, art, dance. It was a time when surrealism and cubism flourished, when small presses flourished and when conversation flowed in the city's countless cafes. Cafes, in fact, were the places not only to meet but also, notes the book's author, John Baxter, "to gossip, to plot, to seduce. …" A few even wrote in them (Hemingway composed some of his short stories and a portion of "The Sun Also Rises" in his famous haunts).

Given the rich literary history of 1920s Paris, it seems only right that Baxter devotes an entire chapter to Sylvia Beach (whom he calls "the first lady of Bohemia") and her famous bookstore, Shakespeare and Company (its modern film equivalent appears in Richard Linklater's "Before Sunset" and Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris"). Beach, the American daughter of a Presbyterian minister, not only founded and ran the English-language bookstore, she also published James Joyce's controversial novel "Ulysses" — because of its risque subject matter, publishers in the U.S. and Britain steered clear of it. Another chapter is devoted to the bob. Women who cut their hair, Baxter reminds us, were participating in a scandalous act of rebellion, for to bob one's hair "expressed contempt not only for style but the entire social order."

Other chapters are devoted to Josephine Baker's hot jazz moves, opium and absinthe, American songwriters in Paris (including George Gershwin and Cole Porter) and the little-known yet fascinating Harry Crosby, a movie-star handsome self-destructive publisher obsessed with death. Some, like Beach, found him delightful; others, not so much (Edith Wharton, for one, dismissed him as a "sort of half-crazed cad.")

Chicago Tribune

By June Sawyers, Special to Tribune Newspapers

About the Author

John Baxter is an Australian born writer, journalist, and filmmaker but has called Paris home since 1989. He is the author of numerous books, including Chronicles of Old Paris; Immoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas; The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris; and We’ll Always Have Paris: Sex and Love in the City of Light.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Museyon (March 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984633472
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984633470
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John H. Sterling on March 30, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For someone from Australia, John Baxter knows and understands Paris, its history, people, food, and architecture as if he had been born and grew up on the Rue de Seine. Based in the heart of the Latin Quarter John's knowledge of the City of Light extends from Paris past to Paris present. This is clearly made obvious via his previous books, including "The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris," "The Perfect Meal: In Search of the Lost Tastes of France," "Chronicles of Old Paris: Exploring the Historic City of Light," "We'll Always Have Paris: Sex and Love in the City of Light," and "Immoveable Feast: A Paris Christmas. With my own interests centering on the culture, history, art, music, American expats, and lifestyle of Paris in the 1920s, having watched Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris five times, and having been on several walking tours of Paris with John Baxter, I eagerly anticipated the release of his latest book, "The Golden Moments of Paris: A guide to the Paris of the 1920s." What an incredible pleasure to the eyes, brain and soul it is! He provides brand new insights on the most famous of the cultural icons living in Paris at this time, such as Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, Stein, Dali, Cole Porter, Josephine Baker, Joyce, Picasso, etc etc. And he whets the intellectual appetite even further by writing about topics that even a Paris diehard like me who has been visiting that city for over 30 years knew nothing about. Par example, dramatic stories in chapters on the 1924 Olympic Games, the man who sold the Eiffel Tower (not the guy who built it), French serial killer Henri Landru, the Bob Fad and the Garconne Scandal, and Faraway Places: The Birth of Tourism.Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lynn on July 18, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book. Baxter knows and loves Paris. He is passionate about Paris in the early part of last century. The era of Stein, Shakespeare & Co., Hemingway and Fitzgerald, Cocteau, Picasso, Matisse, Chanel. Man Ray the birth of Art Déco, the Surrealists; of a developing café culture, of scandals and crimes.

Reading the "The Golden Moments of Paris" is like sitting down in a café and having a chat with the writer. The structure of the book in themed chapters allows both deep and wide appreciation of Paris at that time. Each chapter offers extraordinary details, photographs and dramatic true stories. The book can be read from cover to cover or, as in a conversation, you can move back and forth as topics ebb and flow; and if you are like me to Google Maps for a quick 'streetview"!

At the end of the book Baxter draws much of this together. He shares his favourite places and draws us into his Paris by outlining four walks -Seine Left Bank, Latin Quarter: Ernest Hemingway in Paris, Montparnasse and Trocadero. Baxter provides detailed directions for your walk and, along the way, directs your attention to places of note, many of which will not be found on your tourist map.

This is a book, not only for those who love Paris and its cultural history of that time, but for anyone visiting Paris who wants to enjoy more than just the major tourist attractions. As Thomas Jefferson said " A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty and the point of Life" - Baxter takes us much of the way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Patricia O'Donnell on December 21, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Read this before going to Paris (for the hundredth time) -- to actually with special attention toward the authors of that time and the end of the Belle Epoque. was great having info given by this book before leaving.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Molly H. on June 5, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a must-read for Paris lovers. While there are many books out there about Paris, this was such an entertaining read. John Baxter wrote brilliant historical episodes about Paris of the 1920s and you can trace these paths through this book. You will feel like Owen Wilson in "Midnight in Paris" with this book. There are tons of books about Paris, but this is the book written by the writer who loves Paris and lives Paris. You can feel the passion.
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