Americans in Paris: Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation

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Overview

An unforgettable portrait of Paris and Vichy France during the Nazi occupation

Americans in Paris
recounts tales of adventure, intrigue, passion, deceit, and survival under the brutal Nazi occupation through the eyes of the Americans who lived through it all. Renowned journalist Charles Glass tells the story of a remarkable cast of five thousand expatriates—artists, writers, scientists, playboys, musicians, cultural mandarins, and ordinary ...

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Overview

An unforgettable portrait of Paris and Vichy France during the Nazi occupation

Americans in Paris
recounts tales of adventure, intrigue, passion, deceit, and survival under the brutal Nazi occupation through the eyes of the Americans who lived through it all. Renowned journalist Charles Glass tells the story of a remarkable cast of five thousand expatriates—artists, writers, scientists, playboys, musicians, cultural mandarins, and ordinary businessmen—and their struggles in Nazi Paris. Glass's discovery of letters, diaries, war documents, and police files reveals as never before how Americans were trapped in a web of intrigue, collaboration, and courage.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Once upon a time, historians told stories about the brave and the cowardly, about heroes, villains, and the many whose lives lay somewhere in between. That's what Glass (former chief Middle East correspondent, ABC News; Tribes with Flags) has done in this extraordinary narrative of the lives of the nearly 5000 Americans who lived in Paris during the German occupation from June 1940 to August 1944. For Clara de Chambrun, related by marriage to FDR on one side and the Vichy premier Laval on the other, life went on much as before—dinners at Maxim's, fine wine, dresses from Schiaparelli. But Sumner Jackson, chief surgeon at the American Hospital, was at constant risk for his work with the Resistance, spiriting Allied soldiers out of Paris. Millionaire Pierre Bedaux carried on business as usual, only with Germany now. Eventually arrested by the United States and charged with treason, he killed himself rather than face public humiliation. Glass is scrupulously fair to his subjects: there are no clear-cut villains in this story (although there are some heroes). VERDICT This is outstanding popular history, well researched and told and never oversimplified. It's difficult to conceive of anyone who wouldn't enjoy this exceptional book.—David Keymer, Modesto, CA
Kirkus Reviews
Well-traveled journalist Glass (The Tribes Triumphant, 2006, etc.) reckons with a handful of intrepid Americans who stuck it out in Paris during the Nazi occupation. Of the 30,000 Americans who lived in Paris before World War II, the author estimates that about 5,000 stayed after Germany invaded Poland in 1939, despite warnings to leave by American Ambassador William Bullitt. When the Nazis marched triumphantly through Paris in June 1940, the French premier had fled, essentially leaving Bullitt, who helped convince the Nazis not to bomb the city, in charge. Americans did not have cause to fear the Germans, as the United States would not declare war on Germany for another two years. Jews and blacks, however, were most often deported to camps. The remaining Americans were able to move rather fluidly between the French and German sides, and sometimes their loyalties grew murky and questionable. In alternating chapters that delineate the daily tension of four years in Occupied Paris, Glass pursues some of the notable American characters who congregated at the protected American sites, including Countess Clara Longworth de Chambrun, a Cincinnati heiress married to a French banker (and descendent of the Marquis de Lafayette), who was steadfast in keeping the American Library running during the Occupation; millionaire industrialist Charles Bedaux, who opened his country estate to marvelous collaborationist parties and later faced charges of treason; stalwart Yankee doctor Sumner Jackson, who tended prisoners and wounded at the American Hospital in Neuilly; and Sylvia Beach, American bookseller and publisher of James Joyce, who eventually had to close her seminal Shakespeare and Company storeunder Nazi threat of confiscation. "Everybody we knew was for resistance," she declared righteously. Most of Glass's tales aren't quite so clear-cut, but they illuminate a dark, fascinating period in World War II history. Agent: Tina Bennett/Janklow & Nesbit
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143118664
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/22/2011
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 529,312
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

CHARLES GLASS was the chief Middle East correspondent for ABC News from 1983 to 1993 and has covered wars in the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. His writings appear in Harper's Magazine, The New York Review of Books, The London Review of Books, The Independent, and The Spectator. He is the author of Tribes with Flags, The Tribes Triumphant, Money for Old Rope, The Northern Front, and most recently Americans in Paris: Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation.

www.charlesglass.net

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Table of Contents

Maps xiii

List of Illustrations xvii

Introduction 1

Part 1 14 June 1940

1 The American Mayor of Paris 9

2 The Bookseller 24

3 The Countess from Ohio 37

4 All Blood Runs Red 50

5 Le Millionnaire américain 60

6 The Yankee Doctor 66

Part 2 1940

7 Bookshop Row 89

8 Americans at Vichy 98

9 Back to Paris 113

10 In Love with Love 121

11 A French Prisoner with the Americans 136

12 American Grandees 139

13 Polly's Paris 144

14 Rugged Individualists 150

15 Germany's Confidential American Agent 159

Part 3 1941

16 The Coldest Winter 169

17 Time to Go? 174

18 New Perils in Paris 180

19 Utopia in Les Landes 188

20 To Resist, to Collaborate or to Endure 193

21 Enemy Aliens 204

Part 4 1942

22 First Round-up 213

23 The Vichy Web 224

24 The Second Round-up 239

25 'Inturned' 246

26 Uniting Africa 261

27 Americans Go to War 268

28 Murphy Forgets a Friend 275

29 Alone at Vittel 280

30 The Bedaux Dossier 283

Part 5 1943

31 Murphy versus Bedaux 291

32 Sylvia's War 298

33 German Agents? 304

34 A Hospital at War 310

35 The Adolescent Spy 314

36 Clara under Suspicion 318

37 Calumnies 325

Part 6 1944

38 The Trial of Citizen Bedaux 335

39 The Underground Railway 341

40 Conspiracies 347

41 Springtime in Paris 350

42 The Maquis to Arms! 358

43 Résistants Unmasked 363

44 Via Dolorosa 371

45 Schwarze Kappelle 374

46 Slaves of the Reich 376

47 One Family Now 378

48 The Paris Front 385

49 Tout Mourir 393

Part 7 24-26 August 1944

50 Liberating the Rooftops 407

51 Libération, not Liberation 411

Epilogue 413

Endnotes 419

Acknowledgements 491

Select Bibliography 495

Index 501

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2010

    Good read

    There was a fascinating person in this who was really pretty much unknown even now to prominent French people - despite the fact that he hosted the wedding of Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII at his chateau in Vichy France, and then offered it to the Americans to use as an embassy when the US declared war on Germany and the diplomats had to go to "Free France". Really interesting and well researched accounts of the English literary scene (incl. Joyce, Hemingway, etc.) supported by Sylvia Beach - a page turner. Does this want to become a documentary? So full of details we usually miss out on in accounts of wartime Europe. Brits and Americans put up by Nazis in luxury spa hotels in Vittel...

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent, provocative writing and story telling.

    This book is essentially a background piece to the obvious larger story of WW II but as it's own story it should be regarded as required reading in American schools on the vagaries of war and patriotism. Each and every character is brought back to life in an enlightening, provocative manner of writing. This is top notch story telling and the author constructed an easy, well connected flow from chapter to chapter which is hard to do when there is so much information provided. While a little heavy on names from time to time, this book is a definite page turner, a reading late into a weeknight book, even for a non-retiree. Confidently offering five stars for this book, even the dust jacket is beautiful.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2012

    Too narrow

    More wanted cultural statement than any depth in history

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2014

    Great treatment of the subject.  Many details on the "cast

    Great treatment of the subject.  Many details on the "cast of characters" who populated the City of Light during a dark time.  One quibble:  Glass makes a common mistake when referring to German Army troops as the "Wehrmacht".  That was the collective term for all German armed forces - Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine, and das Heer .  The German army was actually "das Heer".  As we are now discovering, not all the French were members of the Resistance.  Belatedly they're acknowledging that too many were collaborators.Like the old joke:
    Q:  what did the mayor of Paris say to the German commander when Axis troops marched into the city?
    A:  a table for 10,000, monsieur?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    dull account of great story

    dull account of great story

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  • Posted July 11, 2011

    A Bit Too Much

    I really liked how this book started out. Having been to Paris, I was amazed to hear how the Nazi occupation started in this area. But after that the book kind of lost me. He uses experiences from a lot of people to illustrate Paris during World War 2. I had a hard time keeping track of everybody and I ended up just not liking the book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2011

    Awe Inspiring Inside Look at Nazi Paris

    If it weren't a true story, this book would win Fiction of the Year - its that good. I can't imagine how Glass does it. Why these people, these families, these years? Unshakably documented truths reveal a level of conviction, daring, courage, and selflessness that should be rewarded - but, no. There are cads, con-men, Nazi incompetents, and French traitors - and stalwart, unsung American heroes. This book led me to another, from his bibliography; "No Passport For Paris", by Alice Leone Moats - the central figure in one of the most tense real-life spy episodes in the book.(Another 5-star effort)Hemingway fans will be thrilled with the chapters about Sylvia Beach and Shakespeare & Co. - hanging out with James Joyce and hiding out from the SS. Vichy France was surely a snake-pit, but this is the only inside look at how bad it really was for Americans (other than shot-down fliers).Hitchcock and Speilberg wish they had a script this thrilling, and historically accurate - and an ending this heartbreaking.
    Five stars aren't enough...

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  • Posted April 20, 2010

    "American In Paris" by Charles Glass

    "American In Paris" is an engaging review of a World War Two period not often studied by students of history. It details the time period that Paris and Northern France were occupied by Nazi Germany and, more specifically, how it impacted United States citizens living in France, first with their country being neutral, and then, after Pearl Harbor, committed to the war and the Allied cause.

    The research by Charles Glass is extensive and most detailed and his descriptions of key Americans who chose to move with Nazi collaborartion or, on the other hand, support the resistance, is very descript.

    However, some of his characters and their relationship with others are at times difficult to follow, as the reader must remember multiple connections between individuals.

    Foe someone interested in history I would rate it as a first class review of an earlier phase of World War Two and highly recommend it's reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted January 27, 2012

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    Posted September 15, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

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