Anne Sebba - Les Parisiennes - Orion Publishing Group

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • Paperback £9.99
    More information
    • ISBN:9781780226613
    • Publication date:08 Jun 2017

Les Parisiennes

How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died in the 1940s

By Anne Sebba

  • E-Book
  • £P.O.R.

For readers of Suite Francaise and Paris Echo, Les Parisiennes recounts the true stories of Parisian women during and after the Second World War.

WINNER OF THE FRANCO-BRITISH SOCIETY BOOK PRIZE 2016

June, 1940. German troops enter Paris and hoist the swastika over the Arc de Triomphe. The dark days of Occupation begin. How would you have survived? By collaborating with the Nazis, or risking the lives of you and your loved ones to resist?

The women of Paris faced this dilemma every day - whether choosing between rations and the black market, or travelling on the Metro, where a German soldier had priority for a seat. Between the extremes of defiance and collusion was a vast moral grey area which all Parisiennes had to navigate in order to survive.

Anne Sebba has sought out and interviewed scores of women, and brings us their unforgettable testimonies. Her fascinating cast includes both native Parisiennes and temporary residents: American women and Nazi wives; spies, mothers, mistresses, artists, fashion designers and aristocrats. The result is an enthralling account of life during the Second World War and in the years of recovery and recrimination that followed the Liberation of Paris in 1944. It is a story of fear, deprivation and secrets - and, as ever in the French capital, glamour and determination.

Biographical Notes

Anne Sebba read History at King's College London then joined Reuters as a foreign correspondent based in London and Rome. She has written eight works of non-fiction, mostly about iconic women, presented BBC radio documentaries, and is an accredited NADFAS (National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies) lecturer.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780297870999
  • Publication date: 14 Jul 2016
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: W&N
Wonderfully researched, this is an important retelling of Les Années Noires in Paris which puts women's stories, and the complications of their lives under Occupation, centre stage. Sebba reminds us that we should listen and put ourselves in their shoes, before leaping immediately to judgement, and backs this up with testimonies from many women whose voices have remained unheard — Kate Mosse, author of LABYRINTH and CITADEL
'Anne Sebba's fascinating and beautifully written study gives voice to a myriad of narratives belonging to the Parisian women who resisted, collaborated, flourished, suffered, died or survived through a mixture of defiance and compromise . . . Sebba skilfully weaves the history of 1940s Paris through the remarkable stories of women from all walks of life' — Clare Mulley, SPECTATOR
This is a fascinating book I couldn't stop reading. Anne Sebba knows everything about Paris during the war and she relates the end of all the whispered stories I've been hearing all my life. She understands everything about the chic, loathsome collaborators and the Holocaust victims, and their stories are told in an irresistible narrative flood — Edmund White, author of THE FLÂNEUR
'As Anne Sebba shows, life for a Parisian woman was a deeply ambiguous affair. Their experiences, like a kaleidoscope can be 'turned any number of ways to produce a different image'. Sebba's book, with its phenomenal amount of detailed research and its vast cast of characters, is rich in stories about the tricks of life under Occupation, the heroism of those who carried out acts of defiance, the slipperiness of collusion and the vast profits made by fixers, contacts, middlemen and entrepreneurs. She is particularly good on the fashion world and the scheming, equivocating social luminaries' — Caroline Moorehead, LITERARY REVIEW
Anne Sebba has the nearly miraculous gift of combining the vivid intimacy of the lives of women during the Occupation with the history of the time. This is a remarkable book — Edmund de Waal, author of THE HARE WITH AMBER EYES
'As Anne Sebba makes clear in her fascinating book Les Parisiennes, there was no Hollywood clarity about life in the City of Light . . . there were very many reasons not to resist ... Sebba has interviewed women who, remarkably, are talking about their experiences for the first time. This is a valuable book . . . Although Sebba salutes the bravery of Les Parisiennes, she is careful not to condemn the ones who chose simply to survive . . . To read this book is to admire female bravery and resilience, but also to understand why the scars left by the Second World War still run so deep' — Daisy Goodwin, THE TIMES
The debate over the extent of collaboration versus the extent of resistance during the occupation is not new, but Sebba has found an enthralling way of looking at the story by focusing on how the choice was made by French women, and, in particular, by the women of Paris . . . Sebba doesn't offer an explanation as to why some women chose one course, others another, rightly letting their actions, compelling life stories - and the physiognomy of the wonderful selection of photographs - speak for themselves — Sarah Helm, OBSERVER
'One of the distinctive features of Anne Sebba's richly intelligent history is her evocation of sound. Sebba has deliberately eschewed a focus on well-known primary documentation for her history of Parisian women during the Second World War, choosing instead to alert her readers to a 'quieter and frequently less well-known' set of voices. Those voices, belonging to women of all classes, ages and educational backgrounds, weep and sing through this extraordinary book . . . Sebba is adept at explaining the changing political climate of Paris as the war progressed, but she never allows politics to overshadow her subjects' voices. This book does not judge - instead, in the breadth of its humanity, it achieves some of the recognition that the Parisiennes' own heroic modesty often denied them' — Lisa Hilton, TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
'The book takes an unflinching and sympathetic look at the roles women were asked to play in the war, and those they wrote for themselves . . . Sebba interviewed many of the surviving women, and tells their stories here, many for the first time . . . Les Parisiennes insists on the moral incertitude of wartime, 'especially through the eyes of women'. Perhaps because their lives were so complicated and roles so divided, they were more able to perceive, and be at home with, ambiguity . . . I am filled with admiration not only for the women themselves, but for Sebba's heroic research, for her meticulous tracking of these people and their exploits, of their fragility and their strength. This book is an important reminder of the fact that fully half of the story of the second world war is buried in memory and the archive, and has only recently been unearthed' — Lauren Elkin, GUARDIAN
'This is an elegant, enthralling and richly illustrated account of how the female residents of the French capital survived the Second World War and its aftermath with Parisian panache' — Caroline Sanderson, SUNDAY EXPRESS
'In the inter-war years women, who were yet to win the vote, had been encouraged to remain at home with motherhood vaunted as the ideal of womanhood. The reality of war propelled women into very different and often dangerous roles and it is these roles that Sebba explores in this powerful and moving book . . . Sebba's researches have been exhaustive: she has interviewed survivors and read countless documents' — Vanessa Berridge, DAILY EXPRESS
'Anne Sebba's tour de force of research and reflection, Les Parisiennes, is a testament of silk and sacrifice; of choices to resist or collaborate with the Nazis; of dalliance, defiance, and survival that turned on a concierge's random kindness or a stick of gelignite strapped to the chest . . . Sebba sources first-time stories of wartime women and records tales of collaboration horizontale with real sensitivity for the 'moral ambiguity' of those who exchanged sexual favours for privileges - or survival . . . extraordinary and evocative' — Madeleine Kingsley, JEWISH CHRONICLE
'This is the most wonderful book. It's something that you could read every night in small doses because it's packed with stories of women, both wonderful women and awful ones, aristocrats, concierges, prostitutes, actresses, they're all in here . . . The stories that you find, not just from diaries and ration books and things but actual interviews are completely riveting . . . making us think how we ourselves perhaps might behave, which is always the most interesting kind of history book . . . very moving . . . it's got everything, humour, bravery, tragedy and wonderful stories' — Amanda Craig, MONOCLE
'The fruit of thorough research and interviews with survivors, this is a collage of extraordinary stories' — Piers Paul Read, THE TABLET
'This is a fascinating account of how women lived in Paris during the Forties. Novelist Irène Némirovsky converted to Catholicism; the lesbian racing driver Violette Morris embraced the Nazi philosophy; Coco Chanel retreated to the Ritz with a lover. Chacun à son goût. Come liberation, of course, there was a heavy price to pay' — Sebastian Shakespare, TATLER
'The Nazi occupation of Paris and the violent aftermath of liberation forced women and young girls to be collaborators, resisters, bystanders or victims. Their moral dilemmas are told in Anne Sebba's poignant stories, many of them gleaned from interviews with survivors. Her theme is choice: to what extent did women passively collaborate in buying black-market food for their own children? How did so many women resist and save other people's children? Such life-and-death decisions beat at the heart of this powerful history' — SAGA magazine
'In Les Parisiennes, historian Anne Sebba explores the tough choices made during the occupation. By weaving together a range of stories - of struggling housewives, social climbers, artists and actresses - she brings alive the challenges of Les Années Noires . . . she also demonstrates that, under occupation, life was mostly blurred lines and ethical trade-offs . . . Is a degree of collusion justified if it puts you in a position to do good? And can too great an adherance to principles be counter-productive?... Sebba concludes surviving in occupied Paris did demand some sort of decision about how best to live alongside the Germans. 'It is not for the rest of us to judge, but, with imagination, we can understand,' she says. Her sweeping, nuanced account makes it easier for us to do just that' — Dani Garavelli, SUNDAY HERALD
'This account of the women of Paris living under the dark shadow of the Nazi occupation is a must-read' — Sarra Manning, RED ONLINE
'Les Parisiennes is the story of the famous and glamorous: Coco Chanel, jewelry designer Suzanne Belperron, novelist Irène Némirovsky, actress Simone Signoret and the daughters of the Dior, Van Cleef & Arpels, and de Rothschild families. The book also features a cast of ordinary women - Ravensbrück survivors, Resistance fighters and collaborators - doing their best to muddle through, keep up their physical appearances and their famous French allure during the country's darkest of days . . . The book, hard to put down, yet difficult to read in parts, is also the story of a city at its most vulnerable, and [an] intriguing insight into the importance of fashion to national self-esteem' — WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY
'Paris in the 1940s was a war-torn time of fear, power, deprivation, secrets and as ever in the French capital, glamour. Les Parisiennes explores how these years impacted on the women of the city, with character accounts from war collaborators and resisters to actresses and writers, together portraying a fascinating account of how the women of Paris lived, loved and died under the Nazi Occupation' — LIVING FRANCE magazine
'In World War II, the women of occupied Paris had to decide how to respond - should they resist? And if so, how? Sebba's compassionate, open-minded book tells some of their stories' — HISTORY REVEALED
'This is a flowing account of women's lives in extraordinary circumstances' — FAMILY TREE MAGAZINE
'Meticulously researched' — Nicky Haslam, SPECTATOR Books of the Year
This fascinating account of women during the Second World War tells hard-lived stories from housewives to Resistance fighters, shop girls to celebrities. It's a brilliantly researched, untold history that asks a fundamental question: how do people make choices in war? Collaborate, resist, do the right thing at great personal risk-or just survive? — Antonia Byatt, THE TIMES
An enthralling narrative of women's reactions to German Occupation as Paris became a place of 'power, fear, aggression, courage, deprivation and secrets' . Some chose to maintain glamour no matter what, others to resist; most just coped as best they could, and this is a sympathetic look at the choices they made — Mary S. Lovell, author of THE MITFORD GIRLS, THE WEEK
Anne Sebba's remarkable history of the women who chose to defy the invaders, often at a terrible cost to themselves, gives an inspiring account of the courageous contribution - still too little acknowledged - of French women to the Resistance — JANE SHILLING, DAILY MAIL
'Anne Sebba, author of a biography of Wallis Simpson, has written this vivid account, subtitled How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died in the 1940s. This was after the German invasion, which brought out the best and worst in the women of Paris. A few, like Violette Szabo, killed at Ravensbrück, became heroines of the Resistance. Others hid Jews at great risk to themselves. Some collaborated with the Germans, to be imprisoned and ostracised after the war' — CATHOLIC HERALD
One of the best researched, least rabid accounts of the Vichy era — Edmund White, TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
Anne Sebba's fabulous book, Les Parisiennes, sets out to show in a remarkably non-judgmental way, how the women of Paris acted when faced with German occupation in the Second World War, and perhaps even more interestingly, how they behaved in the years immediately following ... The Spinoff's choice not just as the best book of non-fiction of 2016 but as the best book of any kind — Linda Burgess, THE SPINOFF (NEW ZEALAND)
[M]ost enticingly, in addition to uncovering some little-known stories and accounts, Sebba has contributed original research in the form of interviews with surviving participants. These bring valuable testimony from women who survived roundups, deportation and camps, resisted in various ways, witnessed arrests, battles and head-shavings, experienced privations and face complex ethical choices. Sebba approaches difficult subject matter with tact and respect, seeking to understand the decisions and motivations of women on all sides. — FRENCH HISTORY
Orion

Louis & Louise

Julie Cohen
Authors:
Julie Cohen
W&N

The Favourite

Ophelia Field
Authors:
Ophelia Field

'An incredible story crackling with royal passion, envy, ambition and betrayal ... Field's account of the psychological power play between Queen Anne and her confidante is surely definitive. A tour de force' Lucy WorsleySarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, was as glamorous as she was controversial. Politically influential and independently powerful, she was an intimate, and then a blackmailer, of Queen Anne, accusing her of keeping lesbian favourites - including Sarah's own cousin Abigail Masham.Ophelia Field's masterly biography brings Sarah Churchill's own voice, passionate and intelligent, back to life. Here is an unforgettable portrait of a woman who cared intensely about how we would remember her.

W&N

Agent Jack: The True Story of MI5's Secret Nazi Hunter

Robert Hutton
Authors:
Robert Hutton
W&N

Bitter

Francesca Jakobi
Authors:
Francesca Jakobi
W&N

Istanbul

Bettany Hughes
Authors:
Bettany Hughes

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER'Life-filled and life-affirming history, steeped in romance and written with verve' GUARDIAN'Richly entertaining and impeccably researched' Peter FrankopanIstanbul has always been a place where stories and histories collide and crackle, where the idea is as potent as the historical fact. From the Qu'ran to Shakespeare, this city with three names - Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul - resonates as an idea and a place, and overspills its boundaries - real and imagined. Standing as the gateway between the East and West, it has served as the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman Empires. For much of its history it was known simply as The City, but, as Bettany Hughes reveals, Istanbul is not just a city, but a story. In this epic new biography, Hughes takes us on a dazzling historical journey through the many incarnations of one of the world's greatest cities. As the longest-lived political entity in Europe, over the last 6,000 years Istanbul has absorbed a mosaic of micro-cities and cultures all gathering around the core. At the latest count archaeologists have measured forty-two human habitation layers. Phoenicians, Genoese, Venetians, Jews, Vikings, Azeris all called a patch of this earth their home. Based on meticulous research and new archaeological evidence, this captivating portrait of the momentous life of Istanbul is visceral, immediate and scholarly narrative history at its finest.

W&N

The Woman on the Stairs

Bernhard Schlink
Authors:
Bernhard Schlink
W&N

Dolce Vita Confidential

Shawn Levy
Authors:
Shawn Levy

SUNDAY TIMES FILM BOOK OF THE YEAR 'Uproariously readable ... Levy is a master of the group biography' Sunday Times'Teeming with satisfying gossipy details' Guardian'Exalts the intoxicating, beguiling dreaminess of Rome in its celluloid heyday' TLS 1950s Rome. From the ashes of war, the Eternal City is reborn as the epicentre of film, style and boldfaced libertinism. Movie stars including Ingrid Bergman, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor flock to Cinecittà studio and mix with blue bloods and bohemians at the bars on Via Veneto, while behind them trail street photographers in pursuit of the most unflattering and dramatic portraits of fame. In a fast-paced, kaleidoscopic narrative, Shawn Levy recreates Rome's ascent with compelling tales of its glitterati and artists, down to every last outrageous detail of the city's magnificent transformation into 'Hollywood on the Tiber'.

W&N

That Woman

Anne Sebba
Authors:
Anne Sebba

Bestselling biography of the enduringly fascinating Wallis SimpsonOne of Britain's most distinguished biographers turns her focus on one of the most vilified women of the twentieth century. Historian Anne Sebba has written the first full biography by a woman of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor. 'That woman', as she was referred to by the Queen Mother, became a hate figure for ensnaring a British king and destabilising the monarchy. Neither beautiful nor brilliant, she nevertheless became one of the most talked-about women of her generation, and she inspired such deep love and adoration in Edward VIII that he gave up a throne and an empire for her. Wallis lived by her wit and her wits, while both her apparent and alleged moral transgressions added to her aura and dazzle. Based on new archives and material only recently made available, this scrupulously researched biography sheds new light on the character and motivations of a powerful, charismatic and complex woman.

Orion

Restoration London

Liza Picard
Authors:
Liza Picard
W&N

Wicked Company

Philipp Blom
Authors:
Philipp Blom

Dazzling recreation of the world of radical free-thinkers in 18th-century FranceFrom the 1750s to the 1770s, the Paris salon of Baron d'Holbach was an epicenter of debate, intellectual daring and revolutionary ideas, uniting around one table vivid personalities from Denis Diderot, Adam Smith, Benjamin Franklin, the radical ex-priest Guillaume Raynal, the Italian Count Beccaria and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who later turned against his friends.It was a moment of astonishing racicalism in European thought, so uncompromising and bold that it was viciously opposed by rival philosophers such as Voltaire and the turncoat Rousseau, and finally suppressed by Robespierre and his Revolutionary henchmen. In Wicked Company, acclaimed historian Philipp Blom retraces the fortunes and characters of this exceptional group of friends and brings to life their startling ideas, largely forgotten by historians. Brilliant minds full of wit, courage and humanity, their thinking created a different and radical French Enlightenment based on atheism, passion, empathy and a compellingly insightful perspective on society. Their ideas force us to confront the debates about our own society and its future with new eyes.

W&N

Catherine the Great and Potemkin

Simon Sebag Montefiore
Authors:
Simon Sebag Montefiore

'One of the great love stories of history, in a league with Napoleon and Josephine, and Antony and Cleopatra ... Excellent, with dazzling mastery of detail and literary flair' EconomistIt was history's most successful political partnership - as sensual and fiery as it was creative and visionary. Catherine the Great was a woman of notorious passion and imperial ambition. Prince Potemkin - wildly flamboyant and sublimely talented - was the love of her life and her co-ruler.Together they seized Ukraine and Crimea, defining the Russian empire to this day. Their affair was so tumultuous that they negotiated an arrangement to share power, leaving Potemkin free to love his beautiful nieces, and Catherine her young male favourites. But these 'twin souls' never stopped loving each other.Drawing on their intimate letters and vast research, Simon Sebag Montefiore's enthralling, widely acclaimed biography restores these imperial partners to their rightful place as titans of their age.

W&N

Age Of Capital: 1848-1875

Eric Hobsbawm
Authors:
Eric Hobsbawm
W&N

Age Of Empire: 1875-1914

Eric Hobsbawm
Authors:
Eric Hobsbawm

THE AGE OF EMPIRE is a book about the strange death of the nineteenth century, the world made by and for liberal middle classes in the name of universal progress and civilisation. It is about hopes realised which turned into fears: an era of unparalleled peace engendering an era of unparalleled war; revolt and revolution emerging on the outskirts of society; a time of profound identity crisis for bourgeois classes, among new and sudden mass labour movements which rejected capitalism and new middle classes which rejected liberalism. It is about world empires built and held with almost contemptuous ease by small bodies of Europeans which were to last barely a human lifetime, and a European domination of world history, which was never more confident than at the moment it was about to disappear for ever. It is about Queen Victoria, Madame Curie and the Kodak Girl, and the novel social world of cloth caps, golf clubs and brassieres, about Nietzsche, Carnegie, William Morris and Dreyfus, about politically ineffective terrorists, one of whom, to his and everyone's surprise, started a world war.With the AGE OF EMPIRE, Eric Hobsbawm, Britain's leading historian of the left, brings to a dazzling climax his brilliant interpretative history of 'the long nineteenth century'.

W&N

Age Of Revolution: 1789-1848

Eric Hobsbawm
Authors:
Eric Hobsbawm

The first in Eric Hobsbawm's dazzling trilogy on the history of the nineteenth century.Between 1789 and 1848 the world was transformed both by the French Revolution and also by the Industrial Revolution that originated in Britain. This 'Dual Revolution' created the modern world as we know it.Eric Hobsbawm traces with brilliant analytical clarity the transformation brought about in every sphere of European life by the Dual Revolution - in the conduct of war and diplomacy; in new industrial areas and on the land; among peasantry, bourgeoisie and aristocracy; in methods of government and of revolution; in science, philosophy and religion; in literature and the arts. But above all he sees this as the period when industrial capitalism established the domination over the rest of the world it was to hold for a century.Eric Hobsbawm's enthralling and original account is an impassioned but objective history of the most significant sixty years in the history of Europe.

Orion

Heaven, Hell and Mademoiselle

H.C. Carlton
Authors:
H.C. Carlton

This season's must-have accessory - a delicious romp through Parisian haute couture.Paris, 1968. Four young hopefuls are following their dreams, making their way in the ruthless world of haute couture.Seamstress Monique, standing with her tatty suitcase in hand, watches shop assistants spray Chanel No. 5 in the street outside Coco's world-famous store. Can all her dreams come true in this magical place? Christopher, London born and bred, the handsome up-and-coming designer is determined to leave his mark on the city where glamour and power go hand in hand and every man has a mistress. Samantha, the daddy's girl with an uncanny eye for PR, understands what sells-- sex, sex and more sex. But can a loud, brash American ever conquer the sophisticated wives of Paris?And hauntingly beautiful Sophie, the top model with her face in a thousand magazines and the world at her feet, has a secret in her past that won't stay buried...

Orion

Mary Queen Of Scots

Antonia Fraser
Authors:
Antonia Fraser
W&N

The White Hotel

D M Thomas
Authors:
D M Thomas

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, THE WHITE HOTEL is a modern classic of searing eroticism and sensuality set against the broad sweep of twentieth-century history.Now a BBC radio play starring Anne-Marie Duff and Bill Paterson, dramatised by Dennis Potter.'A novel of blazing imaginative and intellectual force' Salman Rushdie It is a dream of electrifying eroticism and inexplicable violence, recounted by a young woman to her analyst, Sigmund Freud. It is a horrifying yet restrained narrative of the Holocaust. It is a searing vision of the wounds of our century and an attempt to heal them. Interweaving poetry and case history, fantasy and historical truth-telling, THE WHITE HOTEL is a modern classic of enduring emotional power that attempts nothing less than to reconcile the notion of individual destiny with that of historical fate.'A remarkable and original novel . . . there is no novel to my knowledge which resembles this in technique or ideas. It stands alone' Graham Greene'Astonishing . . . A forthright sensuality mixed with a fine historical feeling for the nightmare moments in modern history, a dreamlike fluidity and quickness' John Updike'I quickly came to feel that I had found that book, that mythical book, that would explain us to ourselves' Leslie Epstein, New York Times

W&N

The Balkans

Mark Mazower
Authors:
Mark Mazower

A dazzling short history of the Balkans from the Romans to the present, which provides vital historical and cultural background to contemporary Balkan politics.At the end of the twentieth century people spoke as if the Balkans had plagued Europe for ever. But two hundred years earlier, the Balkans did not exist. It was not the Balkans but the 'Rumeli' that the Ottomans ruled, the formerly Roman lands they had conquered from Byzantium, together with their Christian inhabitants. In this original account of the region Mark Mazower dispels current Western clichés and replaces stereotypes with a vivid account of how mountains, empires and religions have shaped its inhabitants' lives. As a bridge between Europe and Asia it has been exposed to a constant incursion of nomadic peoples across the centuries.Mazower's narrative ranges broadly both in time and in space, treating the former Turkish domains in Europe as part of a common if complex historical inheritance.

Sean Barrett

Sean Barrett has narrated many television documentaries for the BBC and Discovery Channel, notably THE PEOPLE'S CENTURY, WALKING WITH BEASTS, and GREAT LIVES. As a member of the BBC Radio Rep, he has appeared in hundreds of radio plays, and played Father Gillespie in the BBC Worldservice / BBC7 serial WESTWAY throughout its eight year-run. As a film and television actor he has appeared in pieces as diverse as TWELFTH NIGHT and FATHER TED, and he is a doyen of audiobook reading, with acclaimed recordings of authors ranging from Chaucer to Beckett and in 2012 recorded Antony Beevor's THE SECOND WORLD WAR.

Susanne Heim

Susanne Heim is Deputy Research Director of the Max Plank Society in Berlin. She has edited various political journals and is currently preparing a major study on Jewish emigration and refugee policy in the 1930s.