A well-researched, dramatic rags-to-riches urban tale.

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MAKING MONTE CARLO

A HISTORY OF SPECULATION AND SPECTACLE

A story of how one city attained spectacular wealth and luxury.

In his first book, about “how we create places largely through the stories we tell about them,” Braude (History and Urban Studies/Stanford Univ.) takes us on a brisk historical tour of the marketing and selling of the small principality of Monaco and its famous city. At just under 500 acres, about half the size of Central Park, it had few resources, but it did have a beautiful mountain setting and a majestic Mediterranean harbor. After being tossed around by the Greeks, Romans, and various tribes, it finally became Monaco in 1297. In 1855, when Princess Caroline decided it might find success with a casino, Prince Florestan legalized gambling—the only country along Europe’s southern coast to do so. When it added a spa resort as a “façade,” it was ready to welcome the world to gambling. After the casino license was sold to the Blanc brothers, successful entrepreneurs from Germany, they had the municipality’s name changed to Monte Carlo. They opened Le Grand Casino de Monte Carlo in 1858, and François Blanc did a masterful job of publicizing it, especially via international newspaper print advertising. People first experienced the resort “from a distance, as an abstract idea rather than a reality.” A new railway made the resort’s pleasures easily accessible, and in 1924, Jean Cocteau and Serge Diaghilev’s Le Train bleu added to Monte Carlo’s luster. A sickly Karl Marx, who detested gambling, came because his doctor prescribed it. A famous gambler also came and lost, and the popular song about him, “The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo,” added to the resort’s mystique. William Vanderbilt and J.P. Morgan arrived on their yachts, Edvard Munch came to paint, and Oscar Wilde escaped legal woes. A Sporting Club was added, and in 1911, the city had its first Automobile Rally—spectacle indeed.

A well-researched, dramatic rags-to-riches urban tale.

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0969-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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