Baron Haussmann, the famous OarchitectO of modern Paris, has been an enigma for historians for more than a century. But in Michel Carmona, the baron has found a biographer worthy of his fascinating and influential life. Haussmann is not, however, a book only about the controversial prefect of the Seine: Mr. Carmona has effectively set his life against the background of nineteenth-century European society. Exhaustively researched and written with remarkable balance, the book is as much a social and political history as it is a biography. We see HaussmannOs early years and his entry into civic life as an administrator; the problems of urban existence faced by the city of Paris; HaussmannOs reign as the designated chief of NapolZon IIIOs grand scheme for the renewal of the French capital; and the so-called OHaussmannizationO of Paris. Some observers today still see HaussmannOs grands travaux as the criminal work of a modern Nero_a man intent on destroying old Paris and willing to cook the books and throw poor people out of their homes in order to achieve his ends. Others see him as a clairvoyant creator of the modern, hygienic, and organized city, who created a style that would become a model for urban transformation. Mr. Carmona has examined the record and has written a superb biography that will be of special interest to architects, urban planners, and anyone interested in the life of great cities. With 12 pages of black-and-white illustrations.