Drawing on contemporary sources and making no pretence of writing a solemnly actual history, the French author of this rable presents his account of Paris in a violent century in a series of informal vignettes and often unfinished pocket-biographies. In November, , when the book opens, Paris was gaping at her first balloon; when ends, In May, 1871, the third Empire had crashed at Sedan and thousands of Parsio- had perished in the blood baths of the Commune. In the century between these two dates Paris know the exellements and horrors of the Revolution; she saw the rise, glory and fall of Napoleon Bonnparis and the return of the Monarchints; she sent three rulers packing and witnessed the gingly efficient J'Etat by which Napoleon III made himself Emperor. In this century the building of barricrules and street-fighting were popular pastime, but beneath the violence much of the ordinary life of Paris went on much an usual. Of this daily life the author written in far greater detail thus he does of its leaders and backgrounds, spending more time on prostitution than on ruler and often falling to identify the actors in the describes. Well translated by Denise Folllot, the best parts of this uneven but never dull book are behind-the- descriptions of such events the Fall of the Ba, the crowning of Napoleon as Emperor, and the coup d'Etat of Nepoleon III. Although they may be irritated by the author's pre-supposition of their knowledge of historical persons and events, thin book will appeal to all lovers of Paris, even those who have never been there.