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Oct 17, 2012 Therese rated it 4 of 5 stars
A charming, well-written look at a culturally rich time in France's history, Napoleon III's benevolent dictatorship. Rather than writing a straightforward big-picture political history, Williams chooses instead to illuminate different aspects of the period by giving us a biography of a different pivotal figure in each chapter. There are chapters on political influencers, the composer Halevy, the artist Corbusier, writer and literary critic St. Beuve, an educator, a scientist, a promenient woman,...more