From Library Journal
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
History is clearly becoming more fun. In Eugen Weber's France, Fin de Siècle, statesmen and treaties are set aside in favor of the stuff of everyday existence. We learn about bathing, smells, sanitation, domestic quarrels, underwear, sexuality and the bicycle as they evolved during the last two decades of the nineteenth century...[Weber] is interested in an apparent discrepancy of the fin de siècle. On the one hand, it was famously the age of decadence--moral, material, and social, castigated or else delighted in by the intellectuals and artists...On the other hand, it was a time of real improvement in living standards and greater opportunities for leisure, sport and social progress...The surface that interests Mr. Weber turns up plenty of remarkable material...But perhaps the greatest triumph of Mr. Weber's approach to history comes in his evocations of the stress and tear of human relations...He also manages to raise anecdotal history to a nearly philosophical level. (Peter Brooks New York Times Book Review)
The epoch immortalized by Marcel Proust in Remembrance of Things Past has now found a historian equal to the task of capturing its tones and textures. In this engaging and nicely illustrated book, the eminent UCLA historian Eugen Weber shows that history can be fun and instructive at the same time. (Lynn Hunt Los Angeles Times Book Review)