The Making of the Modern Christmas
What do we mean by a 'traditional' Christmas? Were old Christmases that much better than modern celebrations? This book traces the history of Christmas from pagan mid-winter festivals to its establishment as a Christian feast in the 4th century, through Puritan disapproval and the Victorian revival and refurbishment of old customs to the present day. En route we find The Times in 1912 already lamenting the separation of 'the secular from the sacred part of Christmas'.
An Adventure History of Paris
Paris is one of the most alluring cities in the world; however well we know it, it never ceases to surprise. Reading this book, which retells its history through the lives of its inhabitants from Balzac to Baudelaire, Sartre to Sarkozy, is like stumbling upon a tiny restaurant frequented by eccentric locals. Robb is both a scholar and an adventurer, and from 250 years of urban history, he weaves a dazzling tapestry of fact and fantasy, memory and myth. Slightly off-mint.