By Jonathan Conlin
Counterpoint Press, 320 pages, $30.00
“‘Neighbor and rival, it is inevitable that in talking of Paris one comes to consider London.'”
Separated by a language, culture, but little more than 200 miles, two of the world’s greatest cities have as much in common as they do in differences. Each developed during the 17th and 18th centuries along both similar and divergent lines. Author Conlin (Senior Lecturer – University of Southampton), an expert on British cultural history and urban geography presents a fascinating portrait of London and Paris that describes the impact each has had on the other, their parallels and resemblances, and how the essence of each has also had broad and defining influences on the metropolis of the modern period. Conlin draws a compelling picture, and his conclusions, by presenting six case studies of very different but related elements of city life: private living spaces, public thoroughfares, restaurants, the dance hall, the criminal underworld, and finally the cemeteries and burial grounds of its dead. For readers who know and love either, or both, of these urban spaces and want to delve into more detail about what makes each unique and memorable, this is a well-documented, thoroughly researched, informative and enjoyable read. Recommended.
Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen