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Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.

Gilded Youth: Three Lives in France's Belle Époque

Gilded Youth: Three Lives in France's Belle Époque - Kate Cambor

Gilded Youth is a fascinating cultural history that spans the rise and fall of France’s Third Republic, from Napoleon III’s defeat in the Franco Prussian War through the disorienting changes brought by WWI, until the early days of the Vichy Government during WWII. It tells its stories by examining the lives and families of three childhood friends whose fathers or grandfather were luminaries of their time, celebrated for their achievements in literature and science. With the world rapidly changing as a new century began, the three friends struggled to adjust their lives.


Jeanne Hugo, the beloved granddaughter of Victor Hugo, had trouble adapting to a world where she was no longer the center of attention simply by virtue of being a Hugo. Leon Daudet, son of author Alphonse Daudet, became a writer like his father but his writings were more political than literary, endorsing anti-Semitism, the restoration of the rule of kings, and the re-elevation of the Catholic Church. Jean-Baptiste Charcot was my favorite. His father, Jean-Martin Charcot, was a renowned neurologist who mentored Sigmund Freud, and though Jean-Baptiste wanted to please his father by entering the medical field himself, he couldn’t help but be enticed by the adventure of the sea and he eventually became a polar explorer.


I enjoyed this book enough to buy my own copy, even though I started reading it as a library book. I know I will be referencing it in the future.