ers—to shelter them each night. All they had
were the clothes on their backs, some cash,
and a credit card. Bensen chronicles a 21-day
journey through Turkey, Greece, Croatia, and
England, traveling by plane, train, bus, and
car. They stroll through streets at random,
visiting usual and unusual sites, pondering
the meaning of life and whether the kismet
of the trip was bringing them closer or pulling them apart. Readers intrigued as much by
modern romance as by world travel will appreciate this thrilling travelogue of an erratic
relationship and the landscape of ancient and
modern Europe. —Vanessa Bush
The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue
By Elaine Sciolino.
Nov. 2015. illus. Norton, $25.95 (9780393242379). 914.44.
On the Seine’s right bank, Paris’ rue des
Martyrs climbs north from near the Place
Saint-Georges almost to the foot of Montmar-
tre’s Sacré-Coeur. Newspaper reporter Sciolino
moved adjacent to the rue des Martyrs, settling
into a delightful apartment above a fireworks
merchant. Falling in love with the neigh-
borhood, she made friends with merchants,
tradespeople, and residents all along the street,
and bit by bit they shared neighborhood histo-
ry and invited her behind doors to see wonders
casual visitors would never discover. Yet on
even so relatively short a street, Sciolino reports
disdain of those dwelling on either side of the
great boulevard bisecting the rue des Martyrs
between two arrondissements. As in many
urban areas, residents resist economic and so-
cial forces that strip neighborhood character,
replacing unique shopfronts with chain stores
that displace owners accustomed to living
above their businesses. Readers familiar with
Sciolino’s dispatches to the New York Times
will value her deft reporting and witty prose.
The Other Paris.
By Luc Sante.
Oct. 2015. 320p. illus. Farrar, $27 (9780374299323).
Sante charts the evolution of Paris, from the
“vivid and savage and uncontrollable” collec-
tion of neighborhoods that comprised it in
the Middle Ages to the one Georges-Eugène
Haussmann restructured in the 1850s that
gutted and rooted out the unsavory and cre-
ated the boulevard-structured coherence so
iconic today. Ultimately, Haussmannization
destroyed not only the physical and industrial
chaos of the city but its social fabric as well.
Before, different classes lived out their lives side
by side, within their own self-sufficient city-
districts. With the help of extensive research
and the voices of Victor Hugo, Baudelaire,
Balzac, and anonymous pamphleteers, Sante
vividly captures this “other” Paris: the Bohe-
mian underworld of musicians, artists, and
prostitutes; the poor; alcohol consumption;
public health; crime; carnival; and revolution
upon revolution. Though the writing is some-
what disorganized, The Other Paris is immersive
and enjoyable. The abundant pictures are fasci-
nating. Recommended for those with a good
foundation of French history. The back-and-
forth look at the many monuments is great for
history-minded travelers. —Sarah Grant
By Simon Winchester.
Sept. 2015. 530p. Harper, $28.99 (9780062315410). 919.
Even viewed within the limitations of a
map of the world, the Pacific Ocean is awesomely vast—an endless sea of blue with only
a few tiny islands, atolls, and archipelagoes
between the American and Asian mainlands.
Winchester, the acclaimed author who has
previously written a “biography” of the Atlantic Ocean, here is concerned less with the
geography and more with the culture, past and
present, of the humans who inhabit these lands.
In telling their stories, Winchester casts a wide
net, and his jumping across time periods, geographic settings, and cultures can be dizzying
but often exhilarating. The fate of the islanders
of Micronesia, victimized by Spanish, German,
and Japanese imperialism, is lamented, as is
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