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And the Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  380 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
On June 14, 1940, German tanks rolled into a silent and deserted Paris. Eight days later, a humbled France accepted defeat along with foreign occupation. While the swastika now flew over Paris, the City of Light was undamaged, and soon a peculiar kind of normalcy returned as theaters, opera houses, movie theaters, and nightclubs reopened for business. Shedding light on thi ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by Vintage (first published October 19th 2010)
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I give this 4-stars from sheer awe at the breadth of research and in recognition of the value of this book as a resource. If you are at all interested in--as a personal pursuit or as part of scholarly research--France, French literature, art, cinema, World War II, or the presence and impact of the arts during war, this is a must-have companion. But it may be most useful when employed as an encyclopedia, rather than a sit-down-and-read-cover-to-cover book. I did, but it wasn't pretty. There is su ...more
Mar 03, 2016 Jeremy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nazi-paris, history
”Veni, Vidi, Vichy.”

This is the second book I've read on the specific topic of artists during Nazi-occupied Paris (the other was The Shameful Peace: How French Artists and Intellectuals Survived the Nazi Occupation by Frederic Spotts): how they responded personally and professionally, and what their responses meant and could mean. Riding structures the work around the various genres of artistic pursuits, such as visual art, novels, plays, poetry, dance, music, cinema, journalism and others (just
Mikey B.
Jun 27, 2013 Mikey B. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, world-war-ii
There are many poignant passages in this book on the occupation of France from 1940 to 1944. It focuses on artist performers and intellectuals (writers, poets…) and how they coped during these trying years. It must be remembered, that initially with Petain, the word “collaboration” had positive connotations – only beginning in 1943 with Stalingrad and U.S. entry into the war, did the word begin to have negative features.

The best chapters are on writers (in a sense the least politically ambiguous
Jill Hutchinson
Jun 14, 2011 Jill Hutchinson rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwi-wwii
Somehow I expected more from this book which covers the Nazi Occupation of Paris and how it affected the artistic community. I had already read Occupation by Ian Ousby which piqued my curiosity about the actions of those involved in the arts and maybe settle the question as to collaboration vs. trying to keep their work alive. But the question was not really answered, at least not for me. There were so many individuals in those pages, many of whom were only known to the French population, that I ...more
Ah Paris. Filled with can-can girls and wine. Poets and painters. There is that Spanish guy, you know the male slut, and he did that blue painting with the bull.
But seriously folks, and this is a serious book, And the Show Went On is a rather close and compelling look at how the artists of all stripes (painters, writers, dancers, singers and so on) coped (or didn’t) while France was under Nazi Occupation. The focus is mostly on Paris though Vichy France is discussed as well.
It does raise inter
Jonathan Lopez
Mar 10, 2011 Jonathan Lopez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art-history, art
To practice their professions under Nazi rule, French artists, writers, and performers had to walk a fine line: collaborating with the enemy meant shame and dishonor, but overt resistance could bring the severest of punishments. In consequence, principles were often sacrificed to expediency, and true heroes were quite rare--as former New York Times cultural correspondent Alan Riding makes clear in this elegantly composed overview of the period.

Riding discusses subjects ranging from Maurice Cheva
Apr 23, 2013 WB1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On June 14, 1940, German tanks rolled into a deserted Paris. The fact is that the French --who are not above lecturing the United States about morality --behaved more or less like cowards. They didn't quite welcome the Germans with open arms. But they hardly rejected them. Theaters, opera houses, cabarets, nightclubs stayed open for business, welcoming the German soldiers. Down the blocks the Germans were undoubtedly pounding down doors and sending thousands Jews to death camps. But Maurice Che ...more
Jan 20, 2012 Johnhemlock rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ahhh, the complications of serving your art and your German occupiers. Whether you were blowing a Wehrmacht officer in the back seat of his Opel Admiral or publishing thinly veiled anti-German one-act plays from your apartment in the Latin Quarter, Paris during the war was a difficult place for the artist. Particularly the Jewish artist, many of whom were deported and destroyed. Riding does a thorough and entertaining job of explaining how the cultural elite largely managed to ride out the war t ...more
Vivian Valvano
Jan 11, 2015 Vivian Valvano rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's dizzying b/c of the plethora of names that bombard you throughout, and Riding does repeat himself sometimes, but what a wealth of information is afforded here. I always want to read everything I can about wartime France, the Vichy government and Petain, the collaborationists, French anti-Semitism, the Resistance, the arrival of the Allies, the Free French, deGaulle ... everything about WWII France/Paris. Riding's research is superb, and his focus on cultural figures in art, music, theatre, ...more
Zohar -
Jan 19, 2011 Zohar - rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
“And The Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris” by Alan Riding is a non-fiction book which tries to investigate the glimmering nightlife in an occupied city. Mr. Riding was the Paris bureau chief of the New York Times.

Each chapter in the book is devoted to a different art, music, opera, dance, film, theater, literary world and more. The book also goes into some detail about the collaborative French Vichy government as well s the reprisals which happened after World War II ended and
Mar 12, 2011 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war
Alan Riding’s new book, “And the Show Went on,” portrays, in a winningly detailed manner, the resistance and collaboration of those involved with French culture – the stage, the screen, visual art, writing, and music -- during the Nazi occupation.

After the fall of France, the Germans wanted Parisian cultural institutions reopened for several reasons. First, if Parisians were “kept entertained,” they might be less troublesome. But there was another reason, found in the words of propaganda minist
Jun 18, 2016 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
AND THE SHOW WENT ON: Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris. (2010). Alan Riding. ****1/2.
This is a comprehensive and encyclopedic review of the arts during the Nazi occupation of Paris. Most all areas of creativity and the arts are well-covered by sketches of both the well-known artists and the lesser-known ones. I was surprised that the world of entertainment was so little affected by the Nazis at the time. The usual reason supplied was that the German troops needed entertainment, too. Among th
Mar 03, 2014 Tom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting read that taught me a lot about what Paris was like during the occupation. Despite its specific focus on Parisian artists and they're response to the Fascist regime, it was a pretty good general overview.

At first the flood of French names seemed overwhelming, but most of them come up fairly often so after a time I got familiar with them.

Occupied Paris was really a study in contradictions. Although occupied by a foreign army, the city was taken without a shot fired, so i
William Graney
The author definitely deserves credit for being thorough as 10% of the book is required for the bibliography and notes. There were sections of this book that were very interesting and others that seemed like nothing more than reading an endless list of names. It had something of a text book feel to it. I think some editing (in regard to volume) would have made for a more compelling read as I found the subject matter fascinating.
Apr 03, 2016 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A majority of books about World War II cover the war itself, battles, strategy, operations, this book is one of a growing number that deal with social issues. France capitulated quickly when the Maginot Line was by-passed. Within a few weeks however, cultural life continued. Riding covers the major genres of 'French culture' and poses questions. What is collaboration? Should writers, performers, and artists be held to a higher standard? What is resistance? Can one collaborate and resist at the s ...more
Packed with facts, anecdotes, names and too much detail for me to absorb, but each chapter left me with a few solid points of greater understanding of what cultural life in Paris was like during the German occupation of WWII. As the title says, the show went on, but whether that showed the strength of the French way of life or the weakness of their resistance to the Germans could be debated either way.
Feb 23, 2016 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an in-depth look at how entertainers, artists, film makers, and writers navigated the Nazi occupation of France. It is rather recently that France has come to terms with the fact that the entire nation was not in the resistance. There were virulent anti-Semites, fascists who were enthusiastic about collaborating with the Nazi to rid the country of Jews. Some artists and writers collaborated to get by or for personal gain. Some waited quietly, and some joined resistance organizations. The ...more
Jun 21, 2011 Kathryn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Much more information than I wanted. This book is about how artists reacted to the Nazi occupation of France during WWII. Riding included minor artists, naming their works, along with major artists and what they were producing, or not producing during the occupation. I think this book would have been much more interesting cut down by two-thirds of the material.
May 03, 2015 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was really impressed by this book and could not put it down until it was finished. Mister Riding has done a great job - the time of the second WW 2 came alive during reading... and he stayed neutral... he was on no ones side... would we react if our country were invated ? My compliment goes to the author...
Amy L. Campbell
If you are looking for popular non fiction, this might not be to your tastes unless you have a serious interest in French culture and/or World War II. It is well written, but contains the sort of narrative found in doctorate theses. Still, the information is very good, but don't look to this for a light read.
Nov 04, 2015 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Detailing how the art, music, theatrical, film, and literary communities operated during the Nazi Occupation of France in the 1940s, And the Show Went On is not only phenomenally well research, it presents a nuanced, complex portrait that defies the simple division of collaborator/ resistor. The amount of names can be overwhelming – let me suggest not trying to keep everyone straight and sometimes focusing on the reason for highlighting an individual – but the big picture Mr. Riding
Aug 24, 2012 Denis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The period of the occupation is one of the most convoluted, ambiguous, and disturbing of all French history, and to take the angle of the cultural life in Paris under the Nazi rule to write about it is a terrific idea. The great thing is that Riding knows what he’s writing about, and the scope of his painting is quite stunning: writers, painters, moviemakers and stars, singers, journalists… Nobody escapes his gaze. Hhis objective, although passionate and sometimes compassionate, description of w ...more
Al Bità
Mar 22, 2012 Al Bità rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most histories of the Second World War are concerned, naturally enough, with the War itself. Less attention tends to be given to other matters. This history of the Cultural life of Paris during the Nazi occupation redresses that omission, some 70 years after the events, after most of the potential recrimination have had time to cool off. The result is both fascinating and disturbing in equal measure.

The book begins with a brilliant chapter which provides earlier links to the main events, introdu
This is an extremely well researched book. At some point in time, every Frenchmen you've ever heard of, several Spaniards, some Russian and Polish refugees and lots of Germans parade through its' pages. All of them have something to do with the arts in some form or another. Some are good people just trying to earn a living and some are rabidly anti-Semitic, pro Fascist, pro Nazi bad people and sometimes, it's hard to tell the difference.

That's the central problem with this book. There are way to
Mar 19, 2012 Manfred rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nobody regards the French quite as highly as the French. Paradoxically, nobody holds the French in as low regard as the French. Witness Gide's lament as the Nazi war machine approaches - "O incurably frivolous people of France! You are going to pay dearly today for your lack of application, your heedlessness, your smug reclining among so many charming virtues."

Still, once it became obvious nobody was coming to the rescue, the French managed quite well (with some indulgence from the Occupation fo
Feb 05, 2016 Sandra rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While the subject matter is intriguing and important, the perpetual name dropping left me irritated throughout my entire reading. There is an assumption one is already familiar with all of the writers, artists, performers, and other personalities being discussed. The most interesting anecdotes are quickly glazed over without much continuity of timeline or context. Perhaps someone who has previously studied those mentioned would feel more included in the information offered in this book.
Nov 28, 2014 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As thorough a one volume exegesis of the era as a general history reader would require. Although one might desire more reflection, more overview of the copious detail provided by veteran journalist Riding, the book does cover an impressive range of actions and actors of the era. Those who desire more information on certain incidents or personalities, as I do with the admirable Camus or the execrable Celine will find Mr. Riding's endnotes a source of great depth. As laden with detail as it is, th ...more
Dec 31, 2014 Ja rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Show Went On Indeed
The Show Went On is a riveting portrait of how Paris's politically varied and glittering cultural elite such as Celine, Camus and Picasso worked and played during the development of the Nazi era. Often chilling in its expose of just how close and dangerous the Reich's rule came to destroying the future of art and culture, it is well-researched and diverse in its investigation
Bookmarks Magazine
Feb 08, 2011 Bookmarks Magazine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mar-apr-2011
"An arresting and detailed account" (Los Angeles Times) of Paris during the Nazi occupation, this incisive and sympathetic examination resists passing judgment on the men and women forced to endure its ignominies. Instead, it offers keen insights into the ethical quandaries posed by censorship, subjugation, and cooperation. Less concerned with the era's wide-ranging repercussions, Riding focuses on the stories -- revealing anecdotes and character sketches -- to endow his subject with a human fac ...more
Jan 31, 2016 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating book which explains political and cultural life in France during the 2nd world war.
Loved the way Alan Riding explains the cultural 'setting' in France before the war and after the great depression and why the French acted as they did. Very informative, political analysis, artists and covers all areas of French life (politics, writers, resistants, etc..

A must read
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ALAN RIDING is a Brazilian-born Briton who studied economics and law before becoming a journalist and writer. Working successively for Reuters, The Financial Times, The Economist and The New York Times, he reported from the United Nations in New York, Latin America and Western Europe. During much of his career, Riding covered political and economic affairs. During the final 12 years before he reti ...more
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“the words of Anthony Eden, Britain’s wartime foreign secretary: “If one hasn’t been through the horrors of an occupation by a foreign power, you have no right to pronounce upon what a country does which has been through all that.” 1 likes
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