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Metronome Paperback – 1 Oct 2013


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Review

"A delightful read, and one that has opened the history of Paris to thousands of people who would never ordinarily open a history book." --Stephane Kirkland, author of "Paris Reborn
"
"An entertaining guide, full of anecdotes about the hidden treasures of the capital."
--"Livres Hebdo""
""Lively and fun, ["Metronome "tells] the story of the City of Lights in chronological order with little expense." --"Le Figaro ""Literary""
""I loved this book . . . [It] invites you to go and see what remains of Parisian history in the Paris of today." --"Art Souilleurs" (5 Stars)

A delightful read, and one that has opened the history of Paris to thousands of people who would never ordinarily open a history book. "Stephane Kirkland, author of Paris Reborn"

An entertaining guide, full of anecdotes about the hidden treasures of the capital. "Livres Hebdo"

Lively and fun, ["Metronome "tells] the story of the City of Lights in chronological order with little expense. "Le Figaro Literary"

I loved this book . . . [It] invites you to go and see what remains of Parisian history in the Paris of today. "Art Souilleurs (5 Stars)""

About the Author

A comedian and bestselling author in France, LORANT DEUTSCH has always had a passion for history and his native Paris. He is the author of "Metronome.""


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8e1c3468) out of 5 stars 16 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8dc35dec) out of 5 stars Not as good as I had hoped 16 Dec. 2013
By takeoutphoto - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d70221c) out of 5 stars entertaining history 7 Jan. 2014
By Martin Thomas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e446c3c) out of 5 stars new insights 28 Dec. 2013
By Dianne L. Kern - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
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 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e036d98) out of 5 stars METRONOME: The Tempo of Paris 19 Feb. 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8dc27c18) out of 5 stars Marvelous Book, Lousy Print Edition 6 Oct. 2015
By The Peripatetic Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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