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Paris in the Fifties

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  241 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Long before he became a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author, Stanley Karnow, fresh out of college, hitched a ride on a barge to Paris to pursue his dream of being a foreign correspondent. He talked his way into a job at Time and ended up spending a decade in the City of Light. He frequented the smoky cafes and the boisterous restaurants; he visited the ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 15th 1997 by Crown (first published January 1st 1997)
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(showing 1-30 of 623)
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Ellen
As a Francophile, I loved the early chapters in this book when the author is actually talking about living in Paris post WWII. But later bits got boring with encyclopedic cataloging of French politics and politcians. The last few chapters don't even talk about Paris. If you're interested in a contemporaneous view of France's Algerian revolt, those chapters cover it.
Mark
Brilliant, off-handedly witty, knowing and sagacious. Karnow was a great journalist, and these reminiscences of cutting his teeth as a reporter in Paris are wonderful.
Converse
Mr. Karnow basically learned journalism on the job in Paris, where he went after graduating from Harvard in the late 1940s. He mostly worked for Time magazine, though he didn't start there. He also tells of his first marriage to a French woman (and rather less about their divorce, apparently in the mid-1950s). The sections seem to be roughly chronological, but the topics vary from chapter to chapter. The earlier chapters are more about his life in France, and about the more day to day aspects of ...more
Kelly
I wanted to live inside this book for the great majority of my junior year in high school. Have you ever heard celebrities or celebrity commentators obnoxiously talk about how someone is "channeling" someone else in their attire? Basically I tried to channel this book- the personalities and atmosphere conveyed were so overwhelming I couldn't not be sucked into it. My phase of Francophilia started because of this book, I went to Paris to study abroad probably, ultimately, because of this book.

Loo
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Anna Carlsson
"James Gordon Bennett, the publisher of the Paris Herald Tribune, once handed a flower girl five hundred francs for a bunch of violets..."

Really enjoyed most of this book--it didn't just stay within the confines of the fifties but reminisced on the literary vibrance of the 1920s (with cameos by Ernest Hemingway, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, etc), the scandals of the Belle Epoque, and the gory Revolution (including a brief history of the guillotine, of course). My only complaint is
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Bennet
Like the blurb says: "A beautiful and bygone era comes to life again in this exquisite chronicle of postwar Paris, elegantly penned by an award-winning American journalist who was there."

Exquisite and elegant in the same sentence. Sounds like something I'd dash off. Karnow has a knack for nimbly navigating incredibly dense historical and literary territory,like a big man who's light on his feet and, whadaya know, can dance. This is a delightful explore and a rare chance to get to know him. He i
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Roniq
Jan 21, 2011 Roniq rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in french culture/history, France
Recommended to Roniq by: The cover grabbed me
Loving this book so far!!! Notes from Times coorespondent, Stanley Karnow while living in Paris.
A slice of life and time that takes me right back to being in this beautiful city. Funny and well written. Not a fast read but a book to be read slowly and savored if you are at all interested in France or French culture/life. One of those books where you find yourself taking notes while reading, full of great references to other artists/topics/books/. Throughly enjoyable....
Just finished last night
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Jay Mcmullen
Clearly culled from his journalism of the time, Mr Karnow's book is fast paced study of his life, his place and the times he lived. Great read with only a hint of modesty.
Kimberly
I loved this memoir. In fact, I think I may read it for a second time.
Scottie
Excellent history of France but with a weak and abrupt ending.
Noel Hynd
This book was wonderful, a must for anyone who wishes to have more than a superficial knowledge of Paris and the city's history. Karnow was a young correspondent for Time Magazine after WW2. he recalls here the city and the events that flowed through it during Eisenhower-era America. He has a skilled eye of a reporter and a very deft way with description of people and places, and a sly sense of humor......On a personal level, I remember Paris in the '60s (and the decade since) and greatly apprec ...more
Emma
An interesting forray into Karnow's memories, "Paris in the Fifties" is just what it sounds like. Reliving part of his youth, he recounts living in the City of Lights and its affect on his journalistic career. Set among political and historical details, Karnow's books gives an intriguing insight into the decade and Paris' place in the greater world. I would have preferred more of his life and thoughts and a little less of the greater historical/political context but otherwise enjoyed the tale.
Susan
Audiobook. Readng about the 50s. The time of my childhood basically. Also my envy of folks who knew about the world. I grew up in Idaho. Never really knew there was a larger world, with possibilities, for a very long time. My husband and I are also currently working with business partners from France. So this is very interesting. Recommend for folks with interest in 50s, France. This is a journalist. But a good one.
Annie
This is a book of short histories of very interesting historical figures who were in Paris or made thier way through the city during the 1950s..people such as Pol Pot. It is a wonderful way to read about the history of France just after WW2, when there was so much life and energy breathed back into Europe and told from the perspective of a foreign correspondent for Times. I highly recommend this.
Carol
Interesting book but despite the author's negative statement about the Time mag style of writing, he does fall victim to it himself. The Lottman book, The Left Bank, covers the same general territory, but in far greater, and more interesting detail. The author's story of his evolution as a writer and a person is of interest. I had only known of Karnow for his magnum opus, Vietnam.
Julie
A wonderful recollection in which the author weaves French and world history into then-current events.
Veronique
I really enjoyed this book, well written, interesting, well researched. I also liked the fact that each chapter is a story in itself. Not 5 stars simply because at some point, the author kept mentioning a lot of people that I have never heard of, and that became annoying after a while. I just could not get as much interested in that part of the book.
Emily
I liked this book very much. Reading it made me feel like I was present for so many of the events Karnow shares in this book. It also made e wish I had lived during this era. The book is jam packed with stories an adventures. A great read for any history buffs with a love for Paris.
Tristy
Dec 02, 2012 Tristy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those that love the Mad Men series and want more with a French twist
Stanley Karnow is definitely a great writer, but I'm much more interested in the artists and revolutionary writers of 1950's Paris, not the cigar-smoking, gin-playing, "Mad Men" of the newspaper world. If that's your bag, pick this book up immediately, otherwise skip it.
Tiffany Numbers
A fun one....loved the authors style. I liked how each chapter was about one subject of his wonderful detailed research.
I felt like I was a part of his many wonderful adventures, and enjoyed meeting his subjects threw his interpretation.
Kylos
i have an affinity for france. i have relatives there and i studied there for 7 months one year.
this book is a great look at the culture, the history, the food, the attitude and the entity that is france. from one guy's point of view.
Heidi
The book started slowly, but pace picked up and a variety of interesting topics were covered. Great detail throughout. Wish I spoke some French though to more fully appreciate the sprinkling of words used!
Matt Comito
rereading this lovely remembrance of a golden age (not 'the','a', great cities have more than one) in the life of a great city - which Im going to go to in about a week! yeah baby
David Bird
Well, I guess you had to be there. I did not have the sense of being taken there by the book. He tells, rather than shows, that it was an exciting period.
Paulina
A collection of short essays (ala New Yorker) during the time Karnow was working in Paris. The book is fantastic! Covers a wide range of topics.
Kathleen
I've gotten a little bored with this. I might come back to it when I have more time for leisure reading and not just metro reading.
Courtney
slightly pretentious with a hasty ending... the beginning is wonderful as is the wine chapter
Kathleen
Kathleen marked it as to-read
Aug 29, 2015
Roger
Roger is currently reading it
Aug 28, 2015
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Is this that one book..? 2 7 Oct 10, 2014 06:00AM  
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Stanley Karnow was a well-respected American Journalist and Historian whose book "In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines" won him the coveted Pulitzer Prize for History. Karnow was a World War II veteran who graduated from Harvard and began his journalism career in the early 1950s. He is probably best known for his coverage of the Vietnam War.

Stanley Karnow died of congestive heart fail
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More about Stanley Karnow...
Vietnam: A History In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines Vietnam: The War Nobody Won Mao and China: A Legacy of Turmoil Southeast Asia ( LIFE World Library )

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“I first went there late one afternoon with the fabled Paris photographer Robert Doisneau, who thrived on collecting local color.” 3 likes
“They skimped on clothing and entertainment, and, with rents tightly controlled, spent a major percentage of their income on food.” 2 likes
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