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Saturday, July 08, 2006

From today's Irish Times

Paris: Biography of a City by Colin Jones, Penguin, £10.99
The recent protests in Paris over youth job contracts were just following a long tradition of social and political unrest in the city, as can be seen from Colin Jones's award-winning tour through the history of the French capital. Jones's vibrant and intimately-
detailed text traces the political, cultural and infrastructural development of the city in roughly chronological fashion. The author takes us from Paris's origins as a Roman capital right through to the election of Chirac, before ending with his thoughts on the future of the city. The narrative is interspersed with sidebars that home in on selected figures, places and phenomena from the city's 2,000-year heritage. Jones consistently draws our attention to the emergence of ideas, movements and customs we associate with the City of Light, weaving them into the history of both France and the wider world, upon which Paris had a profound and lasting influence. Declan Cashin

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