Les Parisiennes

Les Parisiennes

How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved, and Died Under Nazi Occupation

Book - 2016
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"Anne Sebba has the nearly miraculous gift of combining the vivid intimacy of the lives of women during The Occupation with the history of the time. This is a remarkable book." --Edmund de Waal, New York Times bestselling author of The Hare with the Amber Eyes

New York Times bestselling author Anne Sebba explores a devastating period in Paris's history and tells the stories of how women survived--or didn't--during the Nazi occupation.

Paris in the 1940s was a place of fear, power, aggression, courage, deprivation, and secrets. During the occupation, the swastika flew from the Eiffel Tower and danger lurked on every corner. While Parisian men were either fighting at the front or captured and forced to work in German factories, the women of Paris were left behind where they would come face to face with the German conquerors on a daily basis, as waitresses, shop assistants, or wives and mothers, increasingly desperate to findfood to feed their families as hunger became part of everyday life.

When the Nazis and the puppet Vichy regime began rounding up Jews to ship east to concentration camps, the full horror of the war was brought home and the choice between collaboration and resistance became unavoidable. Sebba focuses on the role of women, many of whom faced life and death decisions every day. After the war ended, there would be a fierce settling of accounts between those who made peace with or, worse, helped the occupiers and those who fought the Nazis in any way they could.

Publisher: New York :, St. Martin's Press,, 2016
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9781250048592
Branch Call Number: ANF 305.409443 SEB
Characteristics: xxii, 457 pages : illustrations (some colour), map ; 25 cm


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Jun 21, 2017

Journalist Ann Sebba takes on the ambitious task of documenting women of many persuasions during the Occupation of Paris in WW II. Her writing tells of choices made, knowing or unknowingly, too collaborate or resist, and the importance of the fashion industry to the city and the world once the war ends. Interesting.

Feb 01, 2017

Sebba has written a comprehensive social history of Parisian women from 1939 through 1949 in three parts -- War, Liberation, and Reconstruction. From high society women to working prostitutes, the author has detailed the stories of Nazi victims, Nazi collaborators, and those between the two extremes. As Sebba writes in the final paragraph, "But surviving in occupied Paris for many women demanded some sort of choice, some sort of decision, about how they would accommodate living with the Germans. It is not for the rest of us to judge but, with imagination, we can try to understand." Maps, illustrations, extensive notes, and a bibliography detail the amount of care and work that went into this book.

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