If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a movable feast… Ernest Hemingway


Americans in Paris : life and death under Nazi occupation, 1940-1944  Charles Glass  London : HarperPress, 2009  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xvi, 524 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps, ports. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 495-500) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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An elegantly written and highly informative account of a group of Americans living in Paris when the city fell to the Nazis in June 1940.When the German army occupied Paris in the early hours of 14 June 1940, a large American community awaited them. Although the US Ambassador had advised those without vital business to leave when war broke out in 1939, almost five thousand remained. Many had professional and family ties to Paris, and most had a peculiarly American love for the city that was rooted in the bravery of the thousands of Frenchmen who volunteered to help win American independence after 1776.

As citizens of a neutral nation, they believed they had little to fear. They were wrong. For four hard years, from the summer of 1940 until US troops occupied Paris in August 1944, Americans were intimately caught up in the city’s fate.

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Those who stayed behind were an eccentric, original and disparate group. Charles Bedaux, a Frenchborn, naturalized American millionaire, had played host to the Duke of Windsor’s wedding in 1937 and went on throwing lavish parties for European royalty and high-ranking Nazi officials. Countess Clara Longworth de Chambrun, who accepted the legitimacy of the Vichy regime, dealt with anyone, including the Nazis, to keep her beloved American Library of Paris open. Sylvia Beach attempted to run her famous English-language bookshop, Shakespeare & Company, whilst providing help to her Jewish friends and her colleagues in the Resistance. Dr Sumner Jackson, wartime chief surgeon of the American Hospital in Paris, risked his life aiding Allied soldiers to escape to Britain and resisting the occupier from the first day.

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Charles Glass has written an exciting, fast-paced and elegant account of the moral contradictions faced by Americans in Paris during France’s most dangerous years. His discovery of letters, diaries, war documents and police files reveals as never before how American expatriates were trapped in a web of intrigue, collaboration and courage. This is an unforgettable tale of treachery by some, cowardice by others and unparalleled bravery by a few.

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