I am fascinated by cities, particularly ones with a rich history of trade and commerce.
Initially, it sounds like a very shallow world interest, but there is something to be said for examining cities.
Although these destinations are typically tourist meccas, they are associated with tangled complexities of elitist glamour and poverty; pretentious airs and meek acceptance; and unreal manufactured wonders and brutal hurts.
Some people are fascinated with developing countries, but I particularly enjoy learning about established metropolitan areas, because of how the population's psyche shapes the socio-economic structure.
In Monte Carlo, it was not art that drove its prosperity—it was gambling.
As neighboring countries grappled with the moral implications of gambling, Monaco saw an opportunity to become a popular tourist destination. Cultivating Monte Carlo's image was not without difficulty...
Braude presents Monte Carlo's narrative in a lively manner that suits the city's daring spirit. I can't really provide any background without giving away the novel, so you'll just have to experience it for yourself.
All you need to know is that this is an academic read I can absolutely get behind. Check out the book here.