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I wholeheartedly endorse the previous customer review of this boo. History buffs will enjoy Sciolino's description of the Roman temple of the goddess of the Seine, Sequana, built more than 1,000 years ago near the start of the river, over 150 miles southeast of Paris. And there is plenty for even veteran visitors to the City of Paris to learn for the first time, as Sciolino spends the middle 170 pages introducing the reader to people who row in it (in historic boats), fish in it, live on it in houseboats, police it (the divers of the police department's River Brigade), and pilot barges on it (there were 15,000 bateliers working the Seine in 1950: there are now no more than 1,000), all with great stories told to an excellent story teller. We also meet Francois Jousse, the now-retired engineer who was Paris' chief lighting engineer for over 25 years, maintaining the orchestrated lighting of over 300 buildings, bridges, and boulevards that he began designing in 1981. There is also much to learn and enjoy as Sciolino guides us to the sea, ending in Honfleur and Le Havre, with stops en route to towns like Caudebec-en-Caux that for centuries endured le mascaret, a tidal wave as much as 13 feet high that roared up the Seine four times every year until it was finally harnessed in the early 1960s. This is Sciolino's third book about France, and for anyone with an interest in learning about or simply being entertained about that country, its culture, and/or its people (currently and over the past 2,000 years), his or her library should contain all three of them.
The author takes the reader on a tour of the length of the Seine and the people, places, and events that make the Seine a historical, physical, and spiritual gem. She loves people, be they old friends or new acquaintances, and she tells their stories in a matter-of-fact way.
I enjoyed this terrific writer’s earlier book, “the only street in Paris” and often think of it, and this latest work is even better. Elaine sciolino somehow manages to weave a lot of historical information into stories and lives of people who live and work in and along the seine, along with just enough personal stuff to make you not only enjoy the trip, but the company of the guide as well. She is an outstanding reporter, a gifted writer, a good story teller and great company. While I had favorite sections, Every chapter was interesting. Her research was comprehensive, from finding out about the earliest settlers to viewing the great classic about a seine boatman, “L’atalante” by jean vigo. And her own investigations took her from haggling over books to rowing canoes, joining police patrols and visiting a boat dweller during a flood. To a cruise to le havre. This great journalism and terrific writing.
This delightful book takes us from the beginning of French time to today, from the source of the Seine to its end, and imparts no small part of the supernatural of the magnificent Seine River to each reader. Read it for information and for inspiration.
The Seine has been a part of my life since childhood when I would look at it over the stone guardrail and hope to be taller some day to see it better. This book is comprehensive in its range of knowledge about the Seine and is very enjoyable to read. I have tagged some of the places the author describes and will visit some on my next trip to Paris. Thanks for a good read.
I expected a novel about France or the River in relation to France. I should have waited to read more revues before purchasing. Not my type of read. Donating it to Public Library, prior to reading it. I read one chapter, which is a short story.
It was a slow read for a while but it did come together closer to the end and it was topically more interesting at that point. I could easily have left out some of the topics at beginning but the writer brought it around and I would call it good --especially if the reader enjoys Paris and Notre Dame issues