Hotavio'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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's review
Jun 04, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: books-on-art, books-on-france
Read in June, 2009

I struggled on what to give this book, because I didn't match the complexity that was "Devil in the White City". Indeed "Eiffel's Tower" makes mention of "Devil" a few times in its pages and would make an excellent prequal to it being that its exposition is only 4 years before the Colombian Exposition in Chicago, which in many ways tried to trump it. I did enjoy the book, immensely, however, warranting 4 stars.

"Eiffel's Tower" surrounds the 1889 Exposition Univeselle and the characters that fought for fame and world notariety. The centerpiece of the book is Gustave Eiffel, but the book concentrates on other notables such as Americans Thomas Edison, Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley; American expatriates James Gordon Bennet (founder of the Parisian International Herald Tribune), James McNeil Whistler; and other well-known Europeans.

Several interesting themes surround the book attesting to the era in which it took place. One of the major ones is the international struggle for world dominance in an age of empires (isn't a Universal Exposition just propoganda?). The most obvious is the competitiveness between the French and the Americans. The underlying sentiments being whose republic is the more genuine and most successful.One of the more enjoyable parts of the book was the bidding war between the Americans and the French over the Jean Francois Millet's masterpiece "The Angeles". The French resented the American's hording all of the French treasures using their "new" money.

Overall, Eiffel's Tower was a intriguing book with a good number of facts. I thought the title was a little drab, considering the book dealt with much more than the topics outlined in it. The great detail gone into the French worship of Edison was a little long in the tooth as well. Other than that, I very much appreciated the plunge in post Napoleonic France.


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06/15/2009 page 100
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message 5: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer Devil in the White City was that intriguing to you eh..!?

Hotavio Yeah this is about the European Exhibition that sparked the American desire for competition. It has some of the same acts. Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley were part of the Chicago exhibition too. The Parisian Exhibition showcased many renowned artists too, so I am not just reading it for Devil in the City.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

I saw this book at the Columbia University store... I think I am going to purchase it.

Hotavio Not too bad so far. It integrates the happenings of several affected notables (i.e. artists such as Whistler and Gaughin) to tell the story of the Exposition. However, the major characters seem to be Eiffel and New York Herald play boy Thomas Gordon Bennet. They make for a fascinating lot.

message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Interesting... I enjoyed the photographs myself.

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