Making Monte Carlo: A History of Speculation and Spectacle

S. & S. May 2016. 304p. notes. index. ISBN 9781476709697. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781476709710. HIST
Monte Carlo, the capital of the sovereign city-state Monaco, has not always been a vacation spot for the glamorous and well- to-do. Braude (history & urban studies, Stanford Univ.) traces the emergence of Monte Carlo as an international hot spot, from its modest beginnings as a resort town with a small casino, a poorly built hotel, and three churches, to its current status as a playground for the rich and famous. The story begins in 1863 when French entrepreneur François Blanc first arrived in the city and ends in 1929, with the inaugural Grand Prix on the eve of the stock-market crash. The intervening years are chronicled, showing readers the building of this major hub of luxury and the numerous people that visited or resided in it.
VERDICT Braude takes an intriguing look at the creation of Monte Carlo through the people and their stories, sometimes true and sometimes exaggerated, which helped make the place what it is today. Those interested in the history of modern Europe, specifically the individuals involved in defining its most popular locales, will enjoy this book.

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