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Eiffel's Tower: And the World's…

Eiffel's Tower: And the World's Fair Where Buffalo Bill Beguiled… (2009)

by Jill Jonnes

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
A very good book. My initial take was useless, because I expected the pictures to take up more of the book, and I resented the author's discussion of painters and writers who were famous. She does a good job in setting up the story of the tower's
construction and the World fair of 1889, but a terrible one of saying why the tower has lasted so long and why i should go.The writers, painters and inventors that the author describes often have nothing to do with the tower. ( )
  annbury | Jul 22, 2018 |
Should have been called The Paris World Exposition 1889 (Exposition universelle de Paris de 1889) as it is actually stories in and around the Exposition. Or call it The Extraordinary 1889 Paris World's Fair. The Eiffel Tower is part of the story, but the book is not really about the building of the Tower; its construction finishes relatively quickly within the book.

Interwoven historical stories centred around a few main characters. ( )
  rakerman | Dec 17, 2017 |
The author loves words like "ineluctably", "inimitable", and "vertiginous" (who doesn't?). An excellent job of telling the story of the people that made the World's fair the tremendous event that it was. And entwined with that story is the story of the building of Eiffel's tower. I learned a lot about the tower. It was pretty unpopular in the idea stages and on expected it to become the symbol of France to the world.
One of the interesting parts that made me laugh was envisioning stands full of American Indians in full traditional garb from Buffalo Bill's Wild West show watching Scotts in their kilts doing the Caber toss.

Well told and fairly interesting. ( )
  Chris_El | Mar 19, 2015 |
There is only one true Eiffel Tower. There may be copies in China or Las Vegas, but the Tower only has its sense of power and sheer gravitas amidst the Parisian landscape. While it is not viewable from every window in Paris (contrary to its depiction in movies), it is an iconic and uniquely noticeable landmark. Originally conceived and drafted in 1884 by Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier—engineers under the employ of Gustave Eiffel—, it received the go-ahead for construction in 1887 to be ready for the 1889 Exposition Universelle. Jill Jonnes Eiffel’s Tower is quite an illuminating look into the history of, reaction to, and culture surrounding France’s steel pyramid.

Sadly, the construction of the Tower is hardly dramatic. Each piece was painstakingly measured and assembled in a factory, then carted out to the work site for placement. Eiffel and his team of engineers thought of many things to get ahead of possible problems: there were hydraulic jacks in each of the “feet” to help re-align them in case the joining levels were off-center and stringent safety protocols meant that only one person died during its construction. What makes for more fun reading is the social landscape during the lead up to and culmination of the Exposition. Annie Oakley, Thomas Edison, Vincent van Gogh, and even the future Csar Nicholas II of Russia attended the fair, each bringing an interesting perspective to this global event. Thankfully, their stories help to spice up the rather tidy and bland history of the tower itself. All in all, it was a fun read that ends just when it needs to. ( )
  NielsenGW | Apr 19, 2014 |
An excellent "narrative" nonfiction read. The book covers not only the planning, controversy and building of the tower, but includes the other events of the 1889 World's Fair as well.

The only reason it didn't garner a full 5 star rating is that some of the sections that "drifted" from the tower narrative seemed to go on a little long. Since they were interspersed (for the most part) throughout the building of the tower itself, I found myself wanting to get back to the construction/elevator engineering/lawsuits and "see" the tower built. While I think these side stories were added to break up the monotony of a single topic, but in the end, I think the author may have bitten off just a tad too much to cover in one book - clearly the story of Buffalo Bill's show with Annie Oakley could become a book on its own (that narrative took up a LOT of space). But overall, still a great read ( )
  pbadeer | Jan 28, 2012 |
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The autumn fogs often hid the aerial work-place; though in the twilight of late-winter afternoons, you could see the red fires of the forges up in the sky and hear the hammers hitting the iron fittings. This was what was so striking- you almost never saw the workers on the tower; the tower appeared to grow all by itself, as if by the spell of a genie.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670020605, Hardcover)

The story of the world-famous monument and the extraordinary world's fair that introduced it

In this first general history of the Eiffel Tower in English, Jill Jonnes-acclaimed author of Conquering Gotham-offers an eye- opening look not only at the construction of one of the modern world's most iconic structures, but also the epochal event that surrounded its arrival as a wonder of the world. In this marvelously entertaining portrait of Belle Époque France, fear and loathing over Eiffel's brash design share the spotlight with the celebrities that made the 1889 Exposition Universelle an event to remember-including Buffalo Bill and his sharpshooter Annie Oakley, Thomas Edison, and artists Whistler, Gauguin, and van Gogh. Eiffel's Tower is a richly textured portrait of an era at the dawn of modernity, reveling in the limitless promise of the future.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:08 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Presents a compelling account of the Eiffel Tower's creation and a superb portrait of Belle Epoque France. As Gustave Eiffel held court that summer atop his one-thousand-foot tower, a remarkable host of artists and personalities--Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, Gauguin, Whistler, and Edison--traveled to Paris and the Exposition Universelle (1889 World's Fair) to mingle and make their mark.… (more)

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