Jill Jonnes talks about her new book, Eiffel's Tower: And the World's Fair Where Buffalo Bill Beguiled Paris, the Artists Quarreled, and Thomas Edison Became a Count.
Built in 1889 as the centerpiece of the World's Fair, the Eiffel Tower has been an iconic image of modern times, as much a beacon of technological progress as an enduring symbol of Paris and French culture. But as engineer Gustave Eiffel built the now-famous landmark, he stirred up a storm of vitriol from Parisian tastemakers, lawsuits, and predictions of certain structural calamity.
Historian Jill Jonnes presents a compelling account of the tower's creation and Belle Epoque France: Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley transfixed Parisian audiences in sold-out shows at the tower's opening, Edison took stock of European technology, and Gaugin, van Gogh and Whistler mingled under the gaze of Gustave Eiffel and his tower.
Jill Jonnes is the author of Conquering Gotham, Empires of Light, and South Bronx Rising. She was named a National Endowmennt for the Humanities scholar and has received several grants from the Ford Foundation.