James Gardner presents a readable history of the world’s most famous art museum. The book focus on three different aspects of this history: the collection, the building, and its role in the history of Paris. This is both the book’s strength and the weakness: it covers a wide girth of material and the reader will enjoy it far more if they already have a good grasp of the architecture and history of France and Paris.
The author suggests early in the book that most of the works of art will need to be viewed on the internet.This is not only true for the works of art, but it is also true for historical and geographical references mentioned throughout the text. The reader will need to spend almost more time on the internet to fully enjoy the story presented here. That can best be accomplished by reading using two windows on a computer - one for the text of the book, the other for a web browser to search for pictures, historical references, and architectural features mentioned in the book. However, most readers will use a paper copy of the book or an e-reader, both of which might make the use of the internet difficult.
The other major concern a reader might have is the limited number of references provided. There are some, but they are not complete. This may occur because the author, as previously noted, assumes a basic knowledge of French and Parisian history. The book would be more help to the general by a complete set of footnotes with sources and where the reader can find more information.
The book presents an interesting history, but needs much to be discovered by the reader.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.