When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944

Longlist, National Book Awards 2014 for Nonfiction

When Paris Went Dark
ISBN 9780316217446
Little, Brown and Company/ Hachette Book Group
Ronald Rosbottom
Ronald C. Rosbottom

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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.

Relying on a range of resources–memoirs, diaries, letters, archives, interviews, personal histories, flyers and posters, fiction, photographs, film and historical studies– When Paris Went Dark evokes the detail of daily life in a city under occupation and the brave people who fought against the darkness.

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