[Download] Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris By Graham Robb

Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris

By: Graham Robb
Narrated by: Simon Vance
Length: 13 hours
Release date: May 3, 2010
Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (120 votes, average: 3.50 out of 5)

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This is the Paris you never knew. From the Revolution to the present, Graham Robb has distilled a series of astonishing true narratives, all stranger than fiction.

A young artillery lieutenant, strolling through the Palais-Royal, observes disapprovingly the courtesans plying their trade. A particular woman catches his eye; nature takes its course. Later that night, Napoleon Bonaparte writes a meticulous account of his first sexual encounter.

An aristocratic woman, fleeing the Louvre, takes a wrong turn and loses her way in the nameless streets of the Left Bank. For want of a map-there were no reliable ones at the time-Marie-Antoinette will go to the guillotine.

Baudelaire, Baron Haussmann, the real-life Mimi of La Bohème, Proust, Charles de Gaulle (who is suspected of having faked an assassination attempt on himself in Notre Dame)-these and many more make up Robb's cast of characters. The result is a resonant, intimate history with the power of a great novel.
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One Response to “[Download] Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris By Graham Robb”

  1. Janels

    Historical vertigo
    I’m a Francophile who spends at least a month in Paris each year. I try to read all books which humanize French history. It’s great to be able to better appreciate where I happen to be at any given time and know just what went on there.

    However, this book would be much better followed if read in written form. I listen to audiobooks so that I can multitask. But that doesn’t mean I don’t pay attention–I just can’t take notes or memorize sequences. This book whips back and forth throughout history, chapters, characters, and quotes without the benefit of written punctuation. The narrator (one of my favorites, by the way) does an excellent job of injecting dry Brit wit into the writer’s comments on much of the historical revelations. However, it is difficult to distinguish between a poem and the narration of any of the dozens of characterizations, and the “2.5.1” etc., (presumably chapters and sub chapters, and sub-sub chapters?) makes my ears stop listening. It can be very difficult to follow, as it is a collection of many separate scenarios, largely unlinked except for the city. The scores of character names are numbing, although the historical research is often entertaining, and certainly revealing.

    It’s just that, it is almost like a history text book, and really should be seen and read. Reciting chapter numbers and sub-chapters is meaningless and distracting. And, you never know what era the narrator will begin after taking an all-too-short pause. Sometimes if I am just slightly distracted, I’ll have no idea what era or happening is being recited by the narrator. By the time I catch up, I have hopelessly lost my place and vow to get the printed book.

    All in all, it is impressive research, and very entertaining and enlightening factoids about Paris and Parisians. It is just a bit oblique for a casual listener. And I really don’t want to have to listen in a vacuum, as with a lecture.

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