I’ve started reading The French Century: An Illustrated History of Modern France, by Brian Moynahan. It has a great format, with tons of photos interspersed with well-written text. I’ve never seen some of these photos reproduced in any other book on the Twentieth century in France. The text is accessible to non-historians, such as this passage about the Exposition Universelle of 1900:
“Not since Renaissance Florence had a city enjoyed such an artistic and creative glow as turn-of –the-century Paris. The great Exposition, opened in 1990, stretched along both banks of the Seine and attracted fifty million visitors. It turned a profit, and the Grand and the Petit Palais were part of its legacy. Among its attractions were the Celestial Globe, the Chateau d’Eau and a fleet of tricycles. An Algerian souk, an African village and models of the temples of Angkor Wat were reminders that France was a great colonial power. “
Today’s expression, parler comme un livre (parlay kum uhn leevruh) means “to talk like a book.” It’s a compliment that means to speak well, with skillfully chosen words. Clearly, Moynihan possesses that skill.