Enchantment Of The World: Monaco, by Martin Hintz
This particular book is part of a series that gives plenty of information about smaller countries that are worth knowing about. Whenever I plan travel to obscure parts of the world, books like this one are enjoyable to read, for being both undemanding in terms of their content as well as providing striking pictures and interesting stories and discussion of places to visit and things to see. As Monaco is one of a large amount of places that my mother and I are looking to visit this summer in our trip, this particular book offered a striking look at how it is that Monaco became associated with its ruling Grimaldi family and how it turned from a vulnerable Mediterranean backwater to a protected microstate with a powerful relationship with France that offers both it and France considerable benefits. As might be imagined, a large amount of this book is spent talking about the various members of the Grimaldi family themselves, especially after the middle of the 1850’s when the family began to take its responsibilities as sovereigns seriously after the loss of much of their territory due to revolts over problems of taxation. What began as a crisis for a family left with only a small amount of their ancestral land turned into a highly successful example of nation-building aided by the shrewd decisions of French leaders as well as Monagasque rulers.
This particular book is a bit less than 150 pages long and contains numerous chapters about the nation of Monaco. The book begins with an introduction to Monaco (1) for the reader. After this, the author discusses the small land area but large sea area included in Monaco (2). The author then turns his attention to the way that the principality has filled its small area with gardens as well as a focus on animals, even if few native animals inhabit the land (3). The author discusses the long history of Monaco (4), going back to prehistory even, before discussing the identity that Monaco developed over its history in the past few centuries (5). There is a discussion of the nature of politics in the principality (6) as well that ought to interest many readers. A chapter on Monaco’s economic muscle leads to a discussion of casinos, high standards of living, and secretive banking practices (7). The author talks about the people of Monaco, including their religion and language (8). This flows naturally into a chapter on the spirit and tradition of the Monegasque people (9). The book ends with a chapter that discusses a lazy day from the point of view of a young citizen of the nation (10), as well as sections on a timeline, fast facts, resources to find out more information about Monaco, as well as an index.