Eiffel's Tower: And the World's Fair where Buffalo Bill Beguiled Paris, the Artists Quarreled, and Thomas Edison Became a Count

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Viking, 2009 - History - 354 pages
The story of the world-famous monument and the extraordinary world's fair that introduced it

Since it opened in May 1889, the Eiffel Tower has been an iconic image of modern times-as much a beacon of technological progress as an enduring symbol of Paris and French culture. But as engineer Gustave Eiffel built the now-famous landmark to be the spectacular centerpiece of the 1889 World's Fair, he stirred up a storm of vitriol from Parisian tastemakers, lawsuits, and predictions of certain structural calamity.

In Eiffel's Tower, Jill Jonnes, critically acclaimed author of Conquering Gotham, presents a compelling account of the tower's creation and a superb portrait of Belle Epoque France. As Eiffel held court that summer atop his one-thousand-foot tower, a remarkable host of artists and personalities-Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, Gauguin, Whistler, and Edison-traveled to Paris and the Exposition Universelle to mingle and make their mark.

Like The Devil in the White City, Brunelleschi's Dome, and David McCullough's accounts of the building of the Panama Canal and the Brooklyn Bridge, Eiffel's Tower combines technological and social history and biography to create a richly textured portrayal of an age of aspiration, dreams, and progress.

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Eiffel's tower: and the World's Fair where Buffalo Bill beguiled Paris, the artists quarreled, and Thomas Edison became a count

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With the 1889 World's Fair fast approaching, the French wanted a grand monument built to represent the greatness of their republic. The fair's commissioner chose Gustave Eiffel's design for a 1000 ... Read full review

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I read this book on my trip to Paris this year - and it was really neat to have it with me on the trip - and be reading it when I actually visited the Eiffel tower. It was an easy read, but it didn't flow very well and it didn't have as much of the story-telling aspect as Eric Larsen's books, which I thoroughly enjoy. I kinda found myself wondering why Jonnes put all the extra details in about certain folks (newspaper publishers, etc.) when the book could have just been about the Eiffel tower. But - definitely an interesting book with lots of good information. 

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About the author (2009)

Jill Jonnes is the author of Conquering Gotham, Empires of Light, and South Bronx Rising. She was named a National Endowment for the Humanities scholar and has received several grants from the Ford Foundation. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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