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

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  399 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
And The Show Went On; Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published October 19th 2010 by Knopf
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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
May 19, 2013 Jeremy rated it liked it
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.
Dec 07, 2012 Mikey B. rated it really liked it
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 08, 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
Jonathan Lopez
Dec 04, 2010 Jonathan Lopez rated it really liked it
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
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
Dec 11, 2011 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-wwii, paris
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
Jan 20, 2012 Johnhemlock rated it it was amazing
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
Zohar -
Jan 09, 2011 Zohar - rated it really liked it
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
Jan 26, 2011 Kathryn rated it really liked it
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
Vivian Valvano
Oct 03, 2012 Vivian Valvano rated it really liked it
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
Jun 20, 2011 Jaylia3 rated it liked it
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.
William Graney
Jun 12, 2011 William Graney rated it liked it
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.
Jun 21, 2011 Kathryn rated it did not like it
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.
Jun 04, 2014 Linda rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 13, 2015 Amy L. Campbell rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook, 2015
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.
Jerry Peace
Jan 21, 2017 Jerry Peace rated it liked it
This book details (boy, does it detail) the actions of various artists from Nazi occupation of Paris as well as the initially unoccupied Vichy regime through the post-war purge trials. What I find particularly interesting now is how easy, through fear or just naked ambition, it was to collaborate with a white male cabal infected with nationalistic, homophobic, supremely self-righteous racists. Probably just as easy now.
Dec 08, 2016 AC rated it really liked it
Shelves: fascism, france
An excellent, highly readable account of French cultural life during the occupation and Vichy, full of interesting and vivid anecdotes. It is hard to tell how much of this is original research, but an excellent read, nonetheless, for those interested in this period.
Dec 21, 2016 Cerisaye rated it liked it
This was an interesting read, and comprehensive, covering all the arts and how the German Occupation affected, and was affected by, cultural life in the City of Light. Certainly, the show DID go on in Paris under the Nazis, to the benefit of Occupier and Occupied. The structure of the book leads to a bit of repetition. Sometimes there is too much information and other times names are mentioned that meant little or nothing to me, not a criticism but background knowledge in French literature and c ...more
Al Bità
Mar 22, 2012 Al Bità rated it really liked it
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
Feb 26, 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
Jan 09, 2013 Pamela rated it it was ok
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
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
Aug 24, 2012 Denis rated it really liked it
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
Jun 18, 2016 Tony rated it really liked it
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
Sep 05, 2015 Lauren rated it it was amazing

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
Bookmarks Magazine
Feb 08, 2011 Bookmarks Magazine rated it really liked it
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
Apr 03, 2016 Bruce rated it really liked it
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
Feb 23, 2016 Nancy rated it liked it
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
Feb 06, 2012 David rated it really liked it
Very good as an overall survey of the cultural life of France during the Nazi occupation. If I had a criticism it would be that the book suffers a little for being too thorough and I think Riding would have done better to focus on fewer individuals but go into a little more depth with each of them. Many of the figures - especially the writers - are of little interest today but the actions of people like Sartre, Camus, Drieu La Rochelle, Brasillach, Carne, Chevalier, Paulhan, Rose Valland, Darrie ...more
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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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