Americans in Paris: Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation

Americans in Paris: Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation

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by Charles Glass
     
 

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An unforgettable portrait of the diverse American community in Paris during the occupation.

From the spring of 1940 to liberation in the summer of 1944, 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. RenownedSee more details below

Overview

An unforgettable portrait of the diverse American community in Paris during the occupation.

From the spring of 1940 to liberation in the summer of 1944, 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.

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
From the Publisher
"A story of extraordinary precision... absorbing." —Financial Times

"Rich in intrigue and heroism... a fascinating treat." —Antony Beevor, Daily Telegraph (UK)

"Glass, a world-class journalist, proves a gifted historian in this electrifying account of resistance, collaboration, terror, and valor." — Parade magazine

"[Glass] skillfully uses memoirs, diaries, letters, documents and official records to draw a picture of expatriates caught in a mesh of deceit, bravery, self-sacrifice and fear, and places them in the context of diplomacy and the wider war." —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101195567
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/07/2010
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
544
Sales rank:
351,784
File size:
6 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A story of extraordinary precision... absorbing." —Financial Times

"Rich in intrigue and heroism... a fascinating treat." —Antony Beevor, Daily Telegraph (UK)

"Glass, a world-class journalist, proves a gifted historian in this electrifying account of resistance, collaboration, terror, and valor." — Parade magazine

"[Glass] skillfully uses memoirs, diaries, letters, documents and official records to draw a picture of expatriates caught in a mesh of deceit, bravery, self-sacrifice and fear, and places them in the context of diplomacy and the wider war." —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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