If you love armchair travel and France in particular, Baxter is a reliable pleasure. His previous books about living the good life, mostly located in Paris, have been consistently well-reviewed and called “charming” and “splendid” by reviewers. Booksellers know the proof is in the pudding—Baxter sells. It’s clear his fans are devoted and that they are spreading the word.
This new book, again located in Paris, expands the scope of Baxter’s exploration to WWI Paris. He pins the narrative on the experiences of his own grandfather–an Australian serviceman. In 1914 Parisians, under constant threat of invasion, chose to drink the last of wine and live like there would be no tomorrow. The young soldiers, often traveling from home for the first time, were forever transformed by their Parisian experience.
The most original and unexpectedly beguiling account of the Great War I have ever read. John Baxter is one of the master storytellers of our age, and by telling the tale of his half-forgotten grandfather, plucked out of sleepy Australia and pitched into the European massacre, he has been able to re-create not only the all-too-familiar Hell of the trenches but also the Heaven of sex and food and hedonism that was Paris at the twilight of its golden age. A revelation, an adventure, a joy to read.”
— Kevin Jackson, author of Constellation of Genius:1922: Modernism Year One.
“In lesser hands, the narrative could have easily become confusing, even boring, but Baxter carries it off with aplomb. An enjoyable, swift read, and the author’s final solution to Archie’s wartime dilemma makes it as fun as a work of historical fiction.”
— Kirkus Reviews
Paris at the End of the World: The City of Light During the Great War, 1914-1918 (9780062221407) by John Baxter. $15.99 trade paperback original. 4/15/14 on sale.