Sunday, January 31, 2010

Americans in Paris during the Occupation

For someone like me who is fascinated with

1) day-to-day life of Parisians during the Occupation,


2) Americans in Paris ever since there have been Americans,

Americans in Paris: Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation 1940-44   by Charles Glass

is one I simply have to read right away.


Diane said...

Sounds like a book I'd like to read also! I remember seeing the deserted camps in Compiegne. They are all gone now, replaced with apartments.

Sara Louise said...

Brilliant! It's going on my wish list. Thanks for letting us know it's out there.

Emm said...

From the overloaded bookshelf, two that were found recently at a local used-book store and soon to be joined by the Glass book (merci for the link):

Resistance: A Woman's Journal of Struggle and Defiance in Occupied France, by Agnes Humbert (French art historian). Originally published in 1946, the translation in 2008.

and A Quiet American: The Secret War of Varian Fry, by Andy Marino, 1999. Working out of Marseille, he helped people escape, including Marc Chagall and others.

There are probably used copies out there somewhere.

Touring in Brittany said...

they are so many places where Americans have been during the WWII...

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

I just finished reading the novel Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky, also about the Occupation of Paris and a village in France in WWII. It's a touching and well-written novel. It was written during the Occupation, but as Némirovsky was arrested and then died in Auschwitz, the novel remained hidden in her journal which her daughter, Denise Epstein, kept from 1942 until 1998 when she could finally bear to read it. Once it was discovered it was a couple of parts of a novel, Denise Epstein decided to have it published and it arrived on shelves in 2004. It's a pretty famous work about the Occupation, so I'm guessing you've probably read it, but others might want to know about it, too. It's the second book I have read about Nazi Occupied France (the first was Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay) and I am hungry to read more, so I am pleased with these recommendations! Thank you!

TravelingProfessor said...

My uncle tells the story of riding through the streets of Paris during the liberation of Paris in WW II and getting shot at by German (or German sympathizers) snipers.

Ken Devine said...

Right, you should have finished it now. Was it as good as anticipated?

Zhu said...

I'm curious too now you mentioned it! As a French, I learned a lot after WWII but I have never seen it from a American angle.

Polly-Vous Francais said...


Thanksfor the wonderful suggestions!!


I have Suite francaise on my bookshelf (in English) and somehow longed to read it in French instead. A friend loaned me Sarah's Key, but I had to return it to her before reading because

I've been in the middle of moving.

Complete with mid-Atlantic snowstorms!!

Which is why, Ken, I haven't devoured this book yet, either -- I needed to have my new address where Amazon could send it to me. On tomorrow's to-do list!

Jake Dear said...

I'm 1/3 throuh it right now, and enjoying -- it's well done. The book's comprehensive style and focus upon numerous key individuals of the time reminds me of "Is Paris Burning?" -- one of my favorite books addressing this period. (I also really like "Suite Française" by Irène Némirovsky . . . .)


dutchbaby said...

I was going to recommend "Suite Francaise" also, but I see others already have. It's masterful. Another great book, from the German perspective, is "Stones from the River". It depicts the unraveling of society in one small fictitious German town as Hitler gains his power.

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