on March 30, 2014
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. Short written anecdotes and dozens of unique photos of people and places in 1920s Paris appear throughout the book. Whether you are an old hand familiar with all that Paris has to offer or a newcomer to this most beautiful and marvelous of all the world's cities, pick up a copy of the Golden Moments of Paris. Your will not be able to put it down!
on July 18, 2014
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.
on June 5, 2015
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.
on October 27, 2015
Untold reams have been written about Paris in the 1920s, but this book has information you probably won’t find elsewhere. Its short 26 chapters focus on everything from perfume wars and drug use to café society, gay life and the mass murderer who was a real-life Bluebeard. The familiar names are there, i.e., Stein, Picasso, Hemingway, Chanel, Cocteau, Dali and many more, but they're in unusual vignettes that make their stories seem fresh. There are plentiful photos and illustrations and four guided tours taking the traveler to landmarks from the fabled era. Many are gone of course but enough remain to conjure memories of Paris and the Lost Generation. The book is a colorful hybrid that will appeal to travelers, researchers or simply the curious.