Paris: The Secret History and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more

Buy New

Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
Buy Used
Used - Good See details
Price: 2.79

More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Start reading Paris: The Secret History on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Paris: The Secret History [Paperback]

Andrew Hussey
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
Price: 7.69 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
You Save: 3.30 (30%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it Thursday, 4 Sept.? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 5.03  
Hardcover --  
Paperback 7.69  

Book Description

1 Mar 2007

Paris is the city of light and the city of darkness - a place of ceaseless revolution and reinvention that for two thousand years has drawn those with the highest ideals and the lowest morals to its teeming streets.

In Andrew Hussey's wonderful book we encounter the myriad citizens whose stories have shaped Paris: the nineteenth-century flaneurs aimlessly wandering Haussman's new streets; survivors and victims of ravaging plagues; the builders of Notre Dame Cathedral; those who turned the River Seine red with blood on St Bartholomew's Day; and the many others whose lives have imprinted themselves on a city that has always aroused strong emotions.

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Watch the author talk about this book in Windows Media Player format: dial-up | broadband

Frequently Bought Together

Paris: The Secret History + Paris: Biography of a City + Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris
Price For All Three: 26.67

Buy the selected items together

Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (1 Mar 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141011130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141011134
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 200,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Outrageously readable . . . a fascinating riot of a book (Simon Sebag-Montefiore)

Fascinating . . . A vivid sans-culottes history, from the street up (David Starkey)

Magnificent and entertaining . . . riveting (Jason Burke Observer)

About the Author

Andrew Hussey was born in 1963. He first went to Paris in the late 1970s, fired up by the punk revolution in his home town of Liverpool and with a thirst for anarchy and adventure. His first taste of Paris was busking in the metro: he was hooked. He has since lived and worked in Manchester, Lyons, Paris, Aberystwyth, Madrid and Barcelona, writing on the Nineties Parisian fashion for suicides, anarchy, radical Islam, art terrorism, Situationism, football, pornography and The Fall for a wide range of magazines and newspapers. Andrew Hussey is a contributing editor of the Observer Sports Magazine, and Head of French and Comparative Literature at the University of London in Paris.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Paris: the weak history 11 April 2010
An earlier reviewer mentioned factual inaccuracies. The book is riddled with them. For instance, Hussey puts the famous Chat Noir cabaret in the wrong era and the wrong area (it was in operation in the 1880s and 90s, in Montmartre - not in the 1920s in Montparnasse) and misattributes a famous line about place Dauphine being 'the sex of Paris' to André Malraux (it was André Breton's), then describes Malraux as 'usually the most staid and discreet of writers', a colossal absurdity (and it doesn't describe Breton, either). If a historian can't get this sort of thing right, he can't be trusted on anything else.
The jacket blurb promises 'a history book that can be taken to the bar' - perhaps because that's where it was written?
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing read 3 July 2010
Quite simply: read Colin Jones' excellent 'Paris: Biography of a City' instead. When there are decent, readable, accurate and informative histories of Paris on the market already, why settle for less?
Was this review helpful to you?
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not all it claims to be 22 Mar 2009
By Ribble
I found this a very disappointing book. There's little that's truly 'secret' about it, and not much historical method either. It reads like a journalist's book,full of vague, general assertions without hard references to back them up. Colin Jones' 'Paris', though a tougher read, covers the same ground with much greater detail and rigour. I came away wondering why the book had been written, when the author seems to dislike so much about Paris.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Paris: The Secret History - Andrew Hussey 20 Dec 2007
By Jonathan Birch VINE VOICE
In short, this a 'Horrible History' for adults. It is not history in the academic sense. It's more like biography, and owes much to Peter Ackroyd's biography of London. Hussey doesn't deal in causes, trends or ideas; his currency is anecdotes. This a big book of gory and sexy titbits from Parisian history, sorted into chronological order.

The subject matter should make for light reading, but somehow, despite the breakneck pace of the anecdotes, something goes wrong. The small print, long paragraphs, and dry, humourless prose drag the book down. Furthermore, I'm no expert on the history of Paris, but when I did know a little bit about a period I noticed factual inaccuracies. For example, Danton was with the Cordeliers Club (not the Jacobin Club), and there was only one Committee of Public Safety in the Revolution, not many.

For these reasons, this book arguably gives you less value than a Horrible History. Hussey has sacrificed depth for breathless narrative in the hope of reaching out to a wide audience, but the stream of details feels laboured and aimless. Unlike the city, 'Paris: The Secret History' fails to capture the imagination, and is barely more fun than reading academic history.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Generally OK as a starting point 14 July 2011
I bought this in Paris as I fancied something to read on the area as an introduction to the history of one of the most important cities in the world. I found it quite difficult and dry (and I'm used to reading academic historical texts!), but it did lead me to do my own research.

I felt that some major incidents were glossed over in favour of more trivial generalisations of life in Paris; I felt that certain events in the Revolution, the Terror and World War II could have had more time given to them, especially as these are the events that were so important and famous to those living outside France.

I wanted to know about the seedy underworld of Paris that was promised and although there is a bit of that, there wasn't enough to warrant the title of a 'secret' history. I also agree with some of the other reviewers that Hussey himself creeps in a little bit too much in the main body of the text- an epilogue is fine, but you don't expect a write to pop up in his own chapters! It was a bit unnerving, really, rather than a major distraction.

Overall, a bit disappointed.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category