Paris: After the Liberation 1944-1949
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Paris: After the Liberation 1944-1949

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  288 ratings  ·  33 reviews
In this brilliant synthesis of social, political, and cultural history, Antony Beevor and Artemis Cooper present a vivid and compelling portrayal of the City of Lights after its liberation. Paris became the diplomatic battleground in the opening stages of the Cold War. Against this volatile political backdrop, every aspect of life is portrayed: scores were settled in a rou...more
Paperback, Revised, 448 pages
Published August 31st 2004 by Penguin Books (first published 1994)
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I bought this book after reading 'Suite Francaise' and being intrigued by France under the Occupation. I have also read Beevor's Stalingrad and Berlin, both of which were absorbing.

This book has been very much in the 'can't put down' class. It would be easy to expect that the minutiae of post-war French politics would be both boring and confusing, but the writing style saves us. And by interspersing chapters on social matters such as fashion, theatre and lifestyles, the reader is drawn through t...more
“Paris After Liberation” is not just a book about a city, it is a gallant effort to draw the portrait of a society in transition from extreme conditions of a ruthless occupation and national confusion to the stability of normality and prosperity. Although historians talk much about the early years of 1940's and the war efforts, few have studied the later years of that most eventful decade, whose end witnessed the start of the cold war and a new chapter in global history.
“Paris After liberation”...more
An utterly interesting and compelling book. Well-researched and highly illuminating, full of interesting facts as well as juicy titbits from the life and intrigues of contemporary French (and emigré) writers, thinkers and artists living in Paris, from Sartre and Beauvoir to Mauriac and Camus, from Picasso to Derain and from Arletty to Yves Montand, "collabos" (or suspects) and "résistants" ,aristocrats and Comummunsts, everything and everybody else in-between, while also faithfully chronicling t...more
I cannot stress how important this book is in understanding the zeitgeist of Paris, France, and Europe after the war. A must read for anyone who wants a stronger understanding on how the trends and wants of our generation are the way they are.
Joaquim Alvarado
Beevor no només és especialista en batalles. En aquesta obra ens brinda les diferències internes de la política, la societat i la intel·lectualitat francesa després de l'alliberament de París. Excel·lent retrat dels tics totalitaris de De Gaulle, de les diferències de criteri entre els aliats i del paper distorsionador del sistema que van jugar els comunistes, així com del dia a dia dels intel·lectuals i artistes parisencs. De retruc, és una crítica a la idiosincràsia francesa, amb la "grandeur"...more
I'm re-reading this. It's from a few years back when Beevor wasn't quite as commercially aware as he is now. Excellent, and full of the most spectacularly interesting information!
The fascinating story of Paris, a centre of world cultural and intellectual life, both under the Nazi occupation and afterwards. The authors give a vivid portrayal of the class divides in French politics and society. We read of the collaboration of some conservatives with Vichy, and in some cases their enthusiastic participation in Nazi atrocities. The post war world saw them lose their place to be replaced in many cases, if not all, by those who participated in resistance.

The Communist Party (P...more
In some ways, reading this book feels like cramming for a test from my notes--occasionally names come up that I don't quite remember, and the order of events is often unclear to me. But in the end, I don't mind. Even subjects that I would normally skip over have been addressed in such a way, and with enough brevity, that I enjoy knowing about them, particularly because they are generously peppered with pithy excerpts from the letters and journals of key players. I feel I'm acquiring a good gener...more
Joel Simon
Jul 06, 2008 Joel Simon rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the modern evolution of France and French politics
Recommended to Joel by: Scott Saks
This is my second Antony Beevor book (although this one was co-authored with Artemis Cooper) and I can say that I am a fan, although I think I enjoyed Stalingrad a bit more, due to its faster pace.

Paris After the Liberation gives a very interesting and detailed review of the struggle for the political soul of France between the Communist Party and just about everyone else. There are a lot of pages devoted to the literary, philosophical, art and music scene of the post-war period (Sartre, de Beau...more
Politics, culture, war, social conditions, personalities, it's all covered in this engrossing read. The recovery from invasion and occupation is both complicated and unsettling - the authors are comprehensive in their coverage of so many aspects of this most difficult of situations. The book is invaluable as a study of a fairly modern society trying to re-establish itself.
Andy Strote
Fascinating book. Gets into areas I had never considered - influence of communism in France after the war, French governments falling faster than Italian ones, how artists and philosophers lived through the war, changing allegiances from time to time. My first book by this author.
There are so many good books on this subject that I would not bother with this one. I don't understand even the approach to the subject matter. Chapter 1 is about Petain and De Gaulle; 2 is The Paths of Collaboration and resistence. And so on. There is little if any carry over from one chapter to another. It's as if they had no mannequin to tack their story on to. Or that they just randomly started up new chapters when they had something they wanted to get into. I expected them to concentrate on...more
Alexandre Rocha
Um livro interessante. Peca realmente como lhe foi criticado não seguir uma linha linear de raciocínio e para quem gosta de ler e reler com pausas, falta-lhe um índice onomástico (nenhum livro de Beevor parece tê-lo).

O título pode também induzir em erro, com o leitor a imaginar uma abrangência mais reduzida de temas.

Não obstante ter classificado com 3*, Beevor ainda assim figura na minha lista de predilectos.
Aug 17, 2007 caroline added it
Recommends it for: history nerds
am thinking my novel this novemer nanowrimo will be set roughly in this time period so i am doing double duty by getting a challenge book read and doing research. have only gotten through the introduction so no conclusive thoughts yet, but it has gotten good reviews and does seem to be a serious treatment of the topic.
Good! The peace was even messier than the war. Co-author Artemis Cooper's dad was GB's ambassador, so she had access to some special private archives. De Gaulle was a total pain, but the Commies were a real threat. De Gaulle won out. The sticky subjects of resistance and collaboration are deftly handled...
Really compelling, well-researched, comprehensive look at Paris after the liberation. Especially enjoyed the chapters dealing with Saint-Germain-Des-Pres and la famille Sartre. Gave me some interesting things to think about in regard to the peak and decline of a social and intellectual circle.
David Jackmanson
Dec 30, 2010 David Jackmanson marked it as to-read
Best of the three of Beevor's I've read so far. Not stopping at Paris' liberation but going through to 1949 allows a real sense of postwar Parisian politics, culture and life. It's a reminder how flimsy life was even for severa; years after the war which destroyed so much.
Päivi Brink
Quite entertaining cultural history... but why did they make everyone seem so ridiculous? From De Gaulle to Sartre etc. They all seemed like idiots. And the biggest sin seemed to be the French ungratefullness towards the US and UK.
Grace Lattyak
I learned a lot of interesting things about Paris during and after WWII, but it took a long time to get there. The writing was a bit dry for me - but I'm not much of a nonfiction reader when it's not a biography.
Always nice to read about a place you love in such a readable and anedoctal narrative style. It makes for a very entertaining reading and escapes the flaw of turning into just another dusty, boring historical book.
Well researched book which sheds an interesting light on a city posta long-term occupation which wasn't entirely resisted. Also gives a good overview on how the war was seen from a European standpoint
Rob Innis
Having read many other of Beevor's books I was disappointed with this one and could not engage. Managed to extract some useful info but found myself scan reading, not one of his classics.
Another book that looks like a good one for our book group. It was very good. The author and his wife are descended from the people who played an important role in this era.
Avis Black
The main problem with this book is that it's just a cursory overview, and fails to be as interesting as it could be. It reads like a series of magazine articles strung together.
Interesting light historic overview. Maybe overly 'he said, she said'. Liked the part on de Gaulle.

I read this in Norwegian, and the translation sometimes puzzled me.
Michael Selvin
Some good information without the necessary connecting sinews.
Paris, the city I love. A good history this book. Go for it.
Superb history of Paris at the end of the war.
May 24, 2010 Edward marked it as to-read
Recd. by Jean Andrews in Montmorillon, 2009.
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Antony James Beevor is a British historian, educated at Winchester College and Sandhurst. He studied under the famous historian of World War II, John Keegan. Beevor is a former officer with the 11th Hussars who served in England and Germany for 5 years before resigning his commission. He has published several popular histories on the Second World War and 20th century in general.

More about Antony Beevor...
Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege, 1942-1943 The Fall of Berlin 1945 D-Day: The Battle for Normandy The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 The Second World War

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