Paris After the Liberation

Paris After the Liberation : 1944-49

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An historical account of one of the most stimulating periods in 20th-century French history, post-Liberation Paris - an epoch charged with powerful and conflicting emotions. Liberation was greeted with joy, but marked by recriminations and the trauma of purges. The fevered intellectual arguments of the young took place amidst the mundane reality of hunger and fuel more

Product details

  • Paperback | 544 pages
  • 128 x 192 x 24mm | 258.55g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • illustrations, bibliography, index
  • 0140230599
  • 9780140230598
  • 1,925,500

Table of contents

Part 1 A tale of two countries. Part 2L'Etat c'est de Gaulle. Part 3 Into the Cold War. Part 4 The new more

Review Text

Beevor (The Spanish Civil War, 1983, etc.) and Cooper (editor, The Letters of Evelyn Waugh and Diana Cooper, 1992, etc.) have created what should surely become one of the definitive works on the Paris liberation. The authors take the reader through the beginning of France's disintegration at the time of defeat, the postwar order under De Gaulle, the Cold War, and up to the American tourist invasion. There are wonderful episodes and gossipy insights throughout, and an unforgettable gallery of characters. At the hour of defeat, De Gaulle and Petain meet accidentally on the steps of the Chateau de Muguet. "You are the general," says Petain. "But what's the use of rank during a defeat?" "But," retorts De Gaulle, "it was during the retreat of 1914 that you yourself received your first stars." Petain: "No comparison." On collaboration, the authors are wide-ranging and subtle. We see the actress Arletty cavorting at the Ritz with a lover from the Luftwaffe, as does Coco Chanel (who reportedly turned in a Jewish rival to the Gestapo). We see actor Sacha Guitry desperately trying to justify his meetings with Goering at Otto Abetz's famous collaborationist salon by claiming that it was simply "par curiosite." Most harrowing of all descriptions are those of deportees returning, feebly trying to sing the "Marseillaise" on the station platforms in their rags. One of them, Charles Spitz, later recalled going to a restaurant, equipped with a civilian wallet and cash but unable to relinquish the small wooden box filled with pins, string, and other bits and pieces that had meant survival for him in a concentration camp. When asked to settle the bill, instead of emptying his wallet, he instinctively emptied the contents of the box onto the table. The joy of this volume is that nothing in it is labored or overworked: historical overviews dovetail perfectly with a close reading of daily life, always sharply and tersely drawn and using a rich supply of material. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

473 ratings
3.78 out of 5 stars
5 23% (107)
4 41% (196)
3 29% (136)
2 6% (29)
1 1% (5)
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