Of much interest to students of urban planning and modern European history.

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HAUSSMANN

HIS LIFE AND TIMES, AND THE MAKING OF MODERN PARIS

A plodding but useful life of a man well known to French readers as the architect behind the great plazas, parks, and avenues of Paris.

Georges Eugène Haussmann (1809–91) didn’t come up with the ambitious 19th-century plan that leveled medieval Paris and put in its place the spacious metropolis familiar to moderns; the credit for that wholesale remaking belongs to Napoleon III, the real hero of this long narrative. But, writes Carmona (History/Sorbonne), Haussmann had the steely will such work required: “authoritarian, pragmatic, and efficient, he was concerned that there should be order in all things.” And never mind the cost; he was so committed to the emperor’s vision of a modern city free of choleric swamps and congested alleys that he tore down his childhood home without a second thought. Haussmann emerges here as a type familiar to any visitor to France: the consummate bureaucrat, convinced of the virtues of central authority, planning, reports—and, of course, of the righteousness of his ways. This self-confident vision formed early on, his biographer asserts, and owes much to an offhand remark Haussmann’s grandfather once made to him: “We don’t know well enough how many resources France contains and how rich and powerful it would become if it were well governed—above all, well administered.” Haussmann filled the bill, ably overseeing the complex and at the time highly controversial work of resettling tens of thousands of people so that such marvels as the Place de la Concorde, Place du Trocadéro, and Champs Elysées could be built. Though Carmona’s narrative lacks the human interest of Robert Caro’s life of Robert Moses, the urban leveler and creator to whom Haussmann is often compared, it capably depicts the man and his time.

Of much interest to students of urban planning and modern European history.

Pub Date: May 24, 2002

ISBN: 1-56663-427-X

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Ivan Dee/Rowman & Littlefield

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2002

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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