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on March 17, 2014
This book makes it easy to get caught up in the intertwined lives of painters, composers, entrepreneurs, politicians, innovators, performers, and scientists from the later years of France’s Belle Epoque. After loving the first volume, Dawn of the Belle Epoque, I knew I had to read this title and was not disappointed.

Each chapter covers one year from 1900 to 1918--so through The Great War, WWI--with a rich mix of returning characters. We learn about the achievements, love affairs, feuds, ambitions, and failures of many luminaries of the age including Monet, Degas, Picasso, Matisse, Ravel, Louis Renault, Stravinsky, Charles De Gaulle, Debussy, Coco Chanel, Marcel Proust, Georges Clemenceau, Isadora Duncan, Marie Curie, Gertrude Stein, Jean Cocteau, André Citroën, Paul Poiret, François Coty, Nijinsky, Sarah Bernhardt, Dreyfus, and Diaghilev.

Among my favorite moments are Marie Curie and her family hiking with Einstein and his, Marcel Proust returning from an evening walk with shrapnel on his hat because though he was afraid of mice German air raids didn’t scare him and he even found the lit up skies beautiful, and a determined young Charles De Gaulle captured by the Germans while serving in the French army managing to repeatedly escape from increasingly locked down POW fortifications only to be caught each time and returned to prison.

If you want depth on any particular individual you’ll have to go elsewhere but Twilight of the Belle Epoque provides a lively, fascinating, and surprisingly moving overview of the era and many of its most interesting people. I read an advanced copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley.
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on April 7, 2014
I found the study very readable and in-depth in the way she wove the lives of the poets, artists, musicians and the history during the two decades, much like the novelist John Dos Passos did in his USA Trilogy. Her work is in the high echelon of belle epoque and fin de siecle studies such as Raymond Rudorff's the belle epoque paris in the nineties, 1972, and wittgensteins vienna by Allan Janik and Stephen Toulmin, 1973, and 1996.
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on October 3, 2014
I am combining in this review "Dawn of the Belle Epoque" and "Twilight of the Belle Epoque" which together provide an amazingly readable and interesting history of the major cultural, political, architectura, sociological and military events of France from 1871 to 1918. The author addresses the private and public lives of major artists, composers, authors, politicians, dancers and actresses during this period as well as their many many mistresses and serial boyfriends. Not only does the author provide information on the external accomplishments of these people, but also interesting details of their private lives. Author Mary McAuliffe holds reader interest by providing short vignettes of numerous people as she travels upwards through time; so the reader will get a couple of pages about Sarah Bernhardt, followed by a few paragraphs about Monet, etc. Thus the books are never boring and provide a wealth of knowledge without seeming dry at all. I wish Mary McAulliffe would continue her series of the history of France to the present day in this method, as I would love to know more about French history, and have never read an author who so readibly conveys the essence of historical events in such a readable and enjoyable way.
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on June 7, 2014
A page-turner, the book has highly interesting insights into
and researched stories about the main characters named in
the title. The sketches of the individuals are very personal
and lively. It is most interesting to read how they
interacted with one another, i.e., both the admiration and
competitiveness between Matisse and Picasso, as well as
the signal role the Stein family had in promoting both.

The text abruptly shifts from one character to the other ---
and then comes back to each. That takes a little getting-used-to,
but the effort is well worth while and the reading most enjoyable.
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on August 18, 2014
This book is, first of all, full of information that focuses on reknowned Parisians in the years 1900 through the end of World War I, in 1918. The subtitle of the book lists some of the people covered: Picasso, Stravinsky, Proust, Renault, Marie Curie, and Gertrude Stein. In addition, others from many diverse fields are included: Isadora Duncan, Rodin, Debussy, Eric Satie. And these are only a sampling. Ms. McAuliffe appears to be a scrupulous scholar who annotates everything and even gives more than one view of a fact when there is a dispute. She wisely decides to organize her work by years, each chapter devoted to a year beginning with 1900. In this way the historical forces play their all-important part in the lives of those she writes about. Admirable though all of this is, she has produced a very readable work of non-fiction that, despite all the famous Parisians in it, is not confusing at all. She identifies even the minor characters with enough detail each time s/he is mentioned so that the reader is not confused. With the centenary of World War I occurring this year, much scrutiny is being given to this historical period, and this book is an excellent way to look at its time and its people.
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on May 6, 2014
Mary McAuliffe will take you back into another time in Paris. She has done her research and it shows. Her book is wonderful and you can almost picture yourself in her book with the characters. There are so many fabulous characters in her book that it makes you want to reread the book.
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on November 5, 2014
This book is really the second half of one story, the first half of which is the same author's book Dawn of the Belle Epoque. While Twilight can stand on its own, it simply picks up the story where Dawn left off.

Why read Dawn first? Because if you decide to read both, reading Twilight after reading Dawn will be a much richer experience having read the first half of the story. In Twilight, for example, Manet, Monet, Degas, etc. are elderly, established, and in some cases wealthy. To put this in context, one need to see how their stories began when they were struggling artists. In addition, the whole story of the Epoque really begins with France's recovery from the bitter defeat at the hands of the Germans.

Therefore, unless you are intimately familiar with the period covered in Dawn (roughly 1870-1900) and just want to read about the period from 1900-1920, I highly recommend starting with Dawn. If you quit after one volume, nothing lost, but if decide to go on and read both, you'll be happy you read them in order.
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on December 16, 2014
It is a fascinating age, and this book make couple with another about the Belle Epoque, Päris and their influence make a chage in or cculture , so deep that perhaps is the last time that all the occidentals believe that a vison of glamour, art and joi de vivre, was posible
Beside that the author make an easy reading not for scholars but for any with inetrest in culture and the twilight of european culture.
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on July 19, 2015
Mary McAuliffe has written an informing book in a chronology for the years 1900-1918. Superb research with careful documented sources as to present the true happenings. A MUST for anyone desiring an account of the gradual closing of the era with the dawn of the modern movement beginnings.
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on April 1, 2016
The most amazing thing about this book is the number of glowing reviews by people who should have known better. My initial reaction after reading the first section was: "This is somewhat interesting, but it's so superficial". The book is mildly useful as a Cliffnotes-type overview of the first class scholarly biographies I've read from this period. Very disappointing. Price should be about $5.
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