Paris (Great Cities of the World)

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9780836851908: Paris (Great Cities of the World)
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Examines the history, geography, economy, government, and culture of Paris.

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Reviewed with Nicola Barber's Beijing.

Gr. 4-7. Series books about particular places are often just travelogues. These titles from the Great Cities of the World series certainly have some of those characteristics, but they also provide thought-provoking history and some discussion of each city's problems. They are also particularly well designed. The slightly oversize volumes begin with interesting introductions supported by maps and then follow with information on the history, the people, what it's like to live and work in the city, and how the population relaxes. In Beijing, sidebars inform readers about the Falungong movement, but the Communist crackdown on the religious group is underplayed. There are also sidebars about SARS and the city's pollution problem. Paris includes reference to racial tension, though the people involved are merely described as "children and grandchildren of immigrants," with no description of ethnicity or religion. There is mention of the poverty in African and Southeast Asian communities. A time line, a brief bibliography, and a list of Web sites finish each useful, attractive volume. Ilene Cooper
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