©2009 Jill Jonnes; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC
Loved the overall idea of this book more than the execution. The construction of the Eiffel Tower is, in and of itself, an unbelieveable feat, and could easily have made a compelling book on its own. Placing the iconic structure in the mileux of its day, with the World's Fair and Impressionism and the advent of electricity sounds good but ended up making the book repetetive and twice as long as it needed to be. My advice: read the first half, particularly up to the point where the tower is built, then move on to another book. If we hadn't been trapped in a car driving home from Atlanta while listening to this as an audio book, I don't think we would have ever finished it.
From the description of the book and the wonderful book by Erik Larson I expected a great deal from this book. It had a lot of great characters and potential but it didn't deliver. I wished the authored explored and wrote more about the actual construction of the tower and enhanced her focus or attention on James Gordon Bennett.. I really enjoyed the middle third of the book when the author finally went in to a better story telling of Eiffel, Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley. I felt the side path on Van Gough was un-needed or needed to be better tied to the story.
Who knew? Well, I suppose plenty of people knew about the story surrounding the Tower and its World's Fair, but I'm willing to bet that 90% of folks who have posed for pictures with the Tower in the background are completely clueless of the fascinating stories surrounding its development and first year of life.
Buffalo Bill, Van Gogh, the Panama Canal, and Thomas Edison -- all in one intriguing story of civic anguish and pride.
There was definitely a giggle periodically.
The story is great and the narration by Mr. Hecht is enjoyable. My only complaint is that the editing was quite noticable due to a clear distinction in voices when ever something needed to be added or corrected. I found the voice over to be a bit distracting--but don't let that stop you from missting a good story.
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