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Nancy Joaquin. Build Me a City: Secrets, Lies and Love in Baron Haussman's Paris (HC $28.99, Trade pbk $19.50).
Paris, 1853. The gloomy, centuries-old city is undergoing the most important and splendid redevelopment in the history of modern urban planning. Day by day it is being transformed from a muddy, foul-smelling city languishing by a polluted river into a magnificent world capital. An explosive, tireless powerhouse is directing the massive task. He is Baron Georges Haussmann, a brilliant municipal administrator appointed in a matter of minutes during his first meeting with Emperor Louis Napoleon III to rid the medieval city of its soot and squalor and beautify its every corner. "Build me a city!" the Emperor commands Haussmann at Saint-Cloud. It is as Baron Haussmann begins his work and organizes his staff that he writes to Charles Fabron, a grieving young widower and successful architect in Rouen, offering him a position in his newly formed Offices of City Planning.
Written from Bordeaux, in the voice of Charles Fabron and set against the massive Nineteenth- Century rebuilding of Paris, Build Me a City is his story and that of Daniel Lazare, the eleven-year-old orphan who becomes his Runner in 1863, carrying Fabron's messages to and from hundreds of demolition and construction sites and by the time of his disappearance the best of the Haussmann Runners but innocent victim of the secret that will destroy a family and break the heart of Charles Fabron.
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Nancy Joaquim is a graduate of Boston University and recipient of Boston University’s Distinguished Alumni Award. She is a writer, concert singer, and arts educator and the author of Sophia Schliemann: A Woman Discovers Mycenae, published in Munich in 1994 and introduced at the Frankfurt Book Fair. An advocate of community-based educational programs in the arts and letters, she was commissioned in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan to serve on the National Advisory Council on Adult Education. She makes her home in Paradise Valley, Arizona, with her husband, Richard.