RaveLos Angeles Review of Books... [a] joyous romp through the Belle Époque ... The Man in the Red Coat makes a solid, if implicit, argument against nationalism and celebrates the historical cultural exchange between France and the United Kingdom. Barnes has written a political book, even if he did not intend to ... The Man in the Red Coat is a strange, delightful piece of writing, a nontraditional kind of nonfiction that doesn’t claim to solve any puzzles or provide any kind of neat, counterintuitive account of the Belle Époque ... It’s obvious that deep research went into writing this, and more importantly we can sense how much fun Barnes must have had along the way. At times, reading it feels like having dinner with an old writer friend who, after hibernating for a book deadline for five months, can’t wait to share all the tidbits they discovered in the research process. It gets digressive but never tedious, thanks to Barnes’s wit, intelligence, and imagination as a storyteller ... He seems to have realized that nonfiction, if you do it the right way, can be as liberating to write, as free of formal constraints, and as true to life as fiction.