When Paris Went Dark: Book summary and reviews of When Paris Went Dark by Ronald C. Rosbottom

When Paris Went Dark

The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944

by Ronald C. Rosbottom

When Paris Went Dark by Ronald C. Rosbottom X
When Paris Went Dark by Ronald C. Rosbottom
Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

On June 14, 1940, German tanks entered a silent and nearly deserted Paris. Eight days later, France accepted a humiliating defeat and foreign occupation. Subsequently, an eerie sense of normalcy settled over the City of Light. Many Parisians keenly adapted themselves to the situation - even allied themselves with their Nazi overlords. At the same time, amidst this darkening gloom of German ruthlessness, shortages, and curfews, a resistance arose. Parisians of all stripes - Jews, immigrants, adolescents, communists, rightists, cultural icons such as Colette, de Beauvoir, Camus and Sartre, as well as police officers, teachers, students, and store owners - rallied around a little known French military officer, Charles de Gaulle.

When Paris Went Darkevokes with stunning precision the detail of daily life in a city under occupation, and the brave people who fought against the darkness. Relying on a range of resources - memoirs, diaries, letters, archives, interviews, personal histories, flyers and posters, fiction, photographs, film and historical studies - Rosbottom has forged a groundbreaking book that will forever influence how we understand those dark years in the City of Light.

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A profound historical portrait of Paris for anyone who loves the city." - Kirkus

"A riveting account of one of the most resonant hostage-takings in history: the 1500 days when a swastika flew from the Eiffel Tower. Ronald Rosbottom illuminates every corner of a darkened, heartsick city, exploring the oddities, capturing the grisly humor, and weighing the prices of resistance, accommodation, collaboration. The result is an intimate, sweeping narrative, astute in its insight and chilling in its rich detail." - Stacy Schiff, author of Cleopatra, A Great Improvisation, and Véra

"When Paris Went Dark recounts, through countless compelling stories, how Nazi occupation drained the light from Paris and how many of its residents resisted in ways large and small. This is a rich work of history, a brilliant recounting of how hope can still flourish in the rituals of daily life." - Scott Turow, author of Identical

The information about When Paris Went Dark shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

SHofsommer

A Paris Without Vitality
When I think of Paris, I envision a city steeped in romance, the Eiffel Tower, bistros, small cafés, history and, being an American, Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. But Ronald C. Rosbotten paints a different picture, one of a more subdued Paris where much of the population learned to live with their German occupiers and to turn their heads when their Jewish inhabitants were sent to Drancy and then to camps. Paris remained
unscathed. It's buildings and parks were not bombed or destroyed. Yes, Hitler admired this city that he had captured but visited only once. It was, he believed, to be his some day.

Rosbottom uses novels, memoirs, historical writings, memoirs, letters, novels by writers such as Camus to paint this picture. While he discusses those who became members of a resistance, he notes that they were never as organized and successful as those in other countries.

Was life easy for Parisians? No. They suffered from food deprivation and many, especially wealthy Jews, saw their dwellings taken over by the Germans. There were many besides Jews who were sent to camps but their numbers were relatively small compared to those in other occupied cities and countries.
This is a fascinating book that does what many more weighty historical volumes do not deal with as there are no battles or statistics showing loss of lives. And the Germans never raze buildings or bomb sections of the city which they see as a city to keep intact and make their own, although Hitler made plans to do so in the last days of the war, it never happened.
I heartily recommend this portrait of the city the world pictured then and still does today as romantic, beautiful and brimming with a fascinating history.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Ronald C. Rosbottom

Ronald C. Rosbottom is a Professor at at Amherst College. He has edited three essay collections and has written two monographs on French novelists.

At Amherst, Ron is the holder of the Winifred Arms Professorship in the Arts and Humanities and professor of French and European studies. He has also been an academic administrator and planner and former dean of the faculty. His classes have included the 18th-century British and French novel, the history of ideas, literary criticism, art history of the early modern and modern periods, the history of the European city, especially of Paris, fictional and documentary film, Napoleon and his legends, the literature of World War I, and, most recently World War II and the European imagination. Ron has published well over a hundred articles and book reviews, has edited three essay collections and has written two monographs on French novelists.

More Author Information

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more history, science & current affairs...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Becoming
    Becoming
    by Michelle Obama
    Voted 2019 Best Nonfiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    BookBrowse hosted a Book Club ...
  • Book Jacket: Butterfly Yellow
    Butterfly Yellow
    by Thanhha Lai, Daniel Suarez
    Voted 2019 Best Young Adult Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    As readers, many of us hope ...
  • Book Jacket: Olive, Again
    Olive, Again
    by Elizabeth Strout
    Voted 2019 Best Fiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    It's been a big year for literary ...
  • Book Jacket: Solitary
    Solitary
    by Albert Woodfox
    Voted 2019 Best Debut Author Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    According to statistics from ...

Book Club
Book Jacket
Evening in Paradise
by Lucia Berlin

"Berlin's new book is a marvel, filled with deeply touching stories about lives on the fringes."—NPR

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Mighty Justice
    by Dovey Johnson Roundtree & Katie McCabe

    An inspiring life story that speaks urgently to our troubled times.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

If there is anything more dangerous to the life of the mind than having no independent commitment to ideas...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

The Big Holiday Wordplay

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

 



© BookBrowse LLC 1997-2019. All rights reserved. Information at BookBrowse.com is published with the permission of the copyright holder or their agent.
It is forbidden to copy anything for publication elsewhere without written permission from the copyright holder.