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Metronome: A History of Paris from the Underground Up (Anglais) Broché – 6 décembre 2013

4.5 étoiles sur 5 2 commentaires client

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Did you know that the last Gallic warriors massacred by the Romans lie beneath the Eiffel Tower? That the remains of Paris' first cathedral are under a parking lot in the Fifth District? Metronome follows Lorant Deutsch, historian and lifelong Francophile, as he goes on a compelling journey through the ages, treating readers to Paris as they've never seen it before. Using twenty-one stops of the metro system as focal points - one per century - Deutsch shows, from the underground up, the unique, often violent, and always striking events that shaped one of the world's most romanticized city. Readers will find out which streets are hiding incredible historical treasures in plain sight; peer into forgotten nooks and crannies of the City of Lights and learn what used to be there; and discover that, however deeply buried, something always remains.

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Format: Broché Achat vérifié
The English edition of Metronome is even better than the common French edition, though of course the illustraded French version is very beautiful. This one comes with a few illustrations, and I didn't read it to the end, but the translation seems excellent, sometimes even adding extra information for those who are not French (and perhaps not familiar with details of French history or culture which are common knowledge in France). I bought it as a gift to a friend who plans on visiting Paris. It probably isn't the best history book about Paris one could find. But it's a fun and interesting way of finding out about the city's history, specially for a foreign visitor. Read it before coming!
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Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Simple to read - should have tackled the French version.

Gives an overview - though not much more - of 2000+ years of Paris history. A good introductory read with some quirky facts.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0x98274da4) étoiles sur 5 13 commentaires
15 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9827793c) étoiles sur 5 Not as good as I had hoped 17 décembre 2013
Par takeoutphoto - Publié sur
Format: Broché
As a physical object, the book is very disappointing. It is printed on the cheapest paper, and the layout is a disaster (they have chosen to put sidebars all over the place, like you might see in a magazine article. The problem is that it completely disrupts the flow of the reading. In the French original, everything is in-line).

As for the content, well, this was a huge hit in France, largely because it combines a clever organizing principle (metro-stops as history markers) with a guided chronological tour of French history. I think one of the endorsements talks about how this brings history to people who otherwise would never have cracked a history book, which pretty well sums up both its greatest strength and weakness. That is, the author does a good job of evoking a sense of awe, and like an engaging tour guide, his (historically accurate) account grabs your attention through anecdotes and dramatic flair. But the price you pay for engagement is often a lack of critical distance. On the spectrum between "fun fact" and peer-review academic work, this falls fairly close to the "fun fact" side of things—closer than, say, Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong or Graham Robb's The Discovery of France.

As I mentioned earlier, the book suffers from the onslaught of sidebar columns on nearly every page. The layout disrupts the narrative flow, and after a while, begins to feel like laziness on the part of the writer (i.e. "well, I can't figure out how to make all this history stuff fit together, so I'll just throw my notes into a separate column on the side"). I borrowed the French edition from a friend and was shocked by how much more readable (which I realize is of no help if you don't read French) it is, and how much the layout helps the narrative flow. The English version, by comparison, is stilted, not just because of layout, but also because of rather awkward phrasing and the interjection of explanations of French words.

Content-wise, it's still a very good book—just not as good as I had hoped.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x98277d44) étoiles sur 5 entertaining history 7 janvier 2014
Par Martin Thomas - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Easy to follow and appreciate! The book deserves more than one read and can serve as a guide to surviving historical sights in Paris. A great experience overall. Check out the TV episodes on YouTube, especially if you understand French.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x98277b4c) étoiles sur 5 new insights 28 décembre 2013
Par Dianne L. Kern - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle
I learned a lot of very interesting facts about Parisian places and how their legends originated. For example the Champs du Mars. Or Leuticia's location. If you love Paris and history, worth your time.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x98279168) étoiles sur 5 METRONOME: The Tempo of Paris 19 février 2014
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
What a fascinating history! Visiting "the city of light" as often as I do, I really thought I knew alot about it. After having read this book, I realized I didn't know half as much as I thought I did! It is filled with historical facts and yet it is not "preachy" about the events leading up to the city's prominence as a vibrant part of Europe. All in all, a terrific volume, one that will indeed delight Francophones, Francophiles and visitors alike. In addition: an award should go to the translator. Very few times in a translated book does it flow so effortlessly as this volume does. BRAVO to all concerned!
Dr. Alan-Clarke Hudson
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9827918c) étoiles sur 5 Marvelous Book, Lousy Print Edition 6 octobre 2015
Par The Peripatetic Reader - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This book, Metronome, was a runway best seller in France. When this English translation is read, it is easy to see why. The easy-going, reader-friendly manner in which these and other stories are told shines through in the English translation. It presents the history of France in an innovative, out-of-the-box manner. It makes the narrative of history an enjoyable reading experience.

Chapters in the history of France are told with reference to the subway stations found in the inner core of Paris. For example, the story of the Bastille is told through what the commuter sees at the Bastille metro station (which, incidentally, is not a whole lot because the Bastille was completely destroyed during the French Revolution).

The story of the Louvre are told with reference to the Palais-Royale-Musee du Louvre metro stop.

The chaotic and bloody events of the civil war between the Armagnacs and Burgundians during the Fourteenth Century while the country was battling the Hundred Years War with England are told at the Chateau de Vicennes metro stop.

Half-way through the book Lorant Deutsch brings the reader barely to 1000 C.E. This should not be surprising. By Western standards, Paris is an ancient city with a rich history. The metro stops described in his book constitute the very core of the city center where the events of Paris’ earliest history took place.

Throughout the book Deutsch will present mini stories on the side of the page. These side stories include, What is on Dogobert’s Tomb? How did Les Halle disappear? Where have all the colleges gone? Who was Nicolas Flamel? These stories are almost more interesting than the main text.

One does not need to be a Francophile to enjoy this book, but this book will make you one.

Good book, history brilliantly told, good translation. What could go wrong? Well, ....

Other customer reviews of this book have complained about the paper on which the text is printed. I dismissed these comments and purchased the book anyway. While the book is highly recommended, these reviewers were correct. The paper the publisher used is cheap, shoddy, and rough.

We are not talking about acid-free paper. I have seen comic books printed on better paper. I have seen newspapers PRINTED SIXTY YEARS AGO in better shape. No exaggeration, the paper used for this book feels like sandpaper. I still give this book five stars for the excellent stories told.

Shame on the publisher, St. Martins Griffin, for disrespecting the reading public by printing such a cheap edition of this book!
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