Civic boosters should flock to local newstands and pick up the June 2005 issue of The Atlantic magazine, in which the French writer and...

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Civic boosters should flock to local newstands and pick up the June 2005 issue of The Atlantic magazine, in which the French writer and philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy — in the second part of two articles commemorating the American journey of Alexis de Tocqueville — pronounces himself seduced by our city:

“I loved Seattle’s delicate, sun-speckled docks,” he writes, “its pulsing, heterogeneous marketplace … I loved the city’s hills and its interminable steps, the floating bridge over Lake Washington, the boats leaving for Alaska or Panama.” Also pronounced good: the “Jimi Hendrix Museum,” Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen, Microsoft engineers and a bistro near First and Virginia called Le Pichet.

End note: “If I had to choose an American city to live in — if I had to pick a place, and only one, where I had the feeling in America of rediscovering my lost bearings — it would be in Seattle.”

Having recently lost some bearings trying to fathom the Seattle School District’s reorganization plans (will the last middle-class family to leave Seattle turn out the lights?), I’m inviting Lévy back for a few school-board meetings. The rest of you can read his American perambulations beginning in the May 2005 Atlantic, continuing in June.

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Mary Ann Gwinn, Seattle Times book editor