Paul Pessolano's Reviews > Eiffel's Tower: And The World's Fair Where Buffalo Bill Beguiled Paris, The Artists Quarreled, And Thomas Edison Became A Count

Eiffel's Tower by Jill Jonnes
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Jan 29, 11


What an unexpected and delightful read. I have to admit I knew very little about the Eiffel Tower, other than it was built and named after Gustav Eiffel and that it was located in Paris, Franced. That has changed.

The book is cleverly done in that it not only gives the reader the story of the tower but tells it from the perspective of the 1889 Exposition Universelle. The tower was built to be the centerpiece for the Exposition and was to be torn down 20 years after its completion.

Gustav Eiffel had to be a very patient and persistent man or the tower would have never been built. He had to overcome enormous problems. He had to use his own money and had to make a guarantees that if anything went wron he would be soley responsible for all damages. He had to overcome a public that though, not only was the tower hideous, but was also a blight on the landscape. The engineering of the tower was a marvel but caused very few problems even though it consisted of 18,038 pieces that had to be assembled, and contained two and a half million rivets.

Although this story centers on the building of the tower, it branches out into people that were famous or to be famous from that time. There is a great story of Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley and the "Wild West Show". I was amazed to find out that Buffalo Bill was a very giving person, in fact, Annie Oakley said he was the easiest mark in the world. He was always helping someone or giving free tickets to the show to unfortunate children.

There are some wonderful stories of some of the famous painters of the time, Whistler, van Gogh, and Gauguin, to name but a few. The book gives a brief history of their lives and their connection to the Exposition.

Thomas Edison, who attended the fair, was considered to be a genius and was lofted to a kingly status by the French. A look into his life will give the reader a much different perspective of the man then we have been accustomed to.

A highly imaginative book, that not only informs, but makes for entertaining reading. This book takes a historical event and makes it totally enjoyable and readable.
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