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He built it; they came

  • Apr 5, 2013
Jonnes sums up her history of the Eiffel Tower: "no other man-made artifact has ever rivaled the tower's potent mixture of spare elegance, amazing enormity and complexity when experienced firsthand.". But Jonnes reveals the struggle that Eiffel fought to get the tower approved and built (the French government first promised and then reneged on approving the project and providing partial funding) while facing criticism from artists and architects who hated the design and the expectation that it would be torn down after the World's Fair for which it was built.

Jonnes writes with the quiet tone of a journalist as she recounts the place and time the tower was built, the people who came to see it, and the events that attracted millions to the 1889 World's Fair in the most iconic city of the most volatile country in the midst of its most volcanic century.  Thomas Edison came to tour the Tower and became another shining light, the most honored American in the world.  Also in town was Buffalo BIll Cody's Wild West Show, with its beloved sharpshooter Annie Oakley and authentic Native American warriors who seemed startlingly foreign to the Old World citizens who flocked to the showgrounds.    And artists of all nationalities fought for position and pride of place like petulant schoolboys.

Jonnes weaves it all together with skill and a quiet style that somewhat belies the "thrilling story" claim of the subtitle.  But the style fits the story without diminishing it by over hyping it.

And throughout this review I have not said the name of the city or country yet every reader knows where this story takes place.  That's the power of Eiffel's Tower.

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April 08, 2013
More Eiffel's Tower: And the World'... reviews
review by . June 22, 2009
This lively and entertaining book is obviously extensively researched. Using newspaper articles, interviews, letters, and so forth, the author lets the reader see events unfold as those who lived at the time saw them.    The book covers the details of the building of the Eiffel Tower as well as the doings of famous people who attended the 1889 Paris World's Fair. The book has nice photos illustrating the building of the tower, showing famous people who attended the world's fair, …
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Todd Stockslager ()
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I love reading and writing about what I have read, making the connections and marking the comparisons and contrasts. God has given man the amazing power to invent language and the means to record it which … more
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A colorful cast of characters descended on Paris for the 1889 World's Fair, and Jonnes (Conquering Gotham) offers an atmospheric overview of the celebrities who made belle époque Paris their stage during the memorable event. Annie Oakley amazed crowds with her precisely executed shots. Thomas Edison, a master at promoting both himself and modern technology, chafed at the leisurely French way of life, delighted the masses with his phonograph and chatted with Louis Pasteur at his institute. Paul Gauguin was enthralled by a troupe of Javanese temple dancers and miffed that the Americans only intended to exhibit 17 of his 27 etchings, while James McNeill Whistler, who delighted in provocations and feuds, decamped to the British, who displayed even fewer of his works. The fair's undisputed main attraction both at the fair and in Jonnes's account, was the controversial wrought-iron tower of unprecedented height that, Jonnes says, appeals for both its technological genius and its aerial playfulness and charm. It perfectly embodies the triumph of the modern that Jonnes so well captures in her sprightly account. Photos.(May 4)
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ISBN-10: 0670020605
ISBN-13: 978-0670020607
Author: Jill Jonnes
Publisher: Viking Adult

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