Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
Excellent history of world's largest renewal project
on August 8, 2016
A very well written history of the rebuilding of Paris under Louis Napoleon. The author provides a well detailed history of how Paris was transformed from a midevil village to the beautiful, well planned city of today. This represents the largest urban renewal in history, taking a number of decades to accomplish and billions of dollars. It all started with Napoleon's reign and his vision of a world-class, magnificent capital worthy of Napoleon's France. The book is well written, but the amount of detail makes it a slow, laborious read. However, it does shed light on a significant but little known aspect of a major period in French history. The book documents the many problems Napoleon and the man in charge of executing his plan, Baron Haussmann, faced and overcame. These problems are similar to those faced today for any urban renewal project; money, politics, and politicians against progress. It is interesting to note that even Napoleon,a dictator in all but name, had these problems. But, it did get done and it is well documented in this history. My only issue with the book is the laborious passages describing in excruciating detail some aspects of the renewal that I think could have been described in a more readable form.