Les Parisiennes: Resistance, Collaboration, and the Women of Paris Under Nazi Occupation (Paperback)
“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, New York Times bestselling author of The Hare with the Amber Eyes
In Les Parisiennes, New York Times bestselling author Anne Sebba explores a devastating period in Paris's history and tells the stories of how women survived—or didn’t—during the Nazi occupation.
Paris in the 1940s was a place of fear, power, aggression, courage, deprivation, and secrets. During the occupation, the swastika flew from the Eiffel Tower and danger lurked on every corner. While Parisian men were either fighting at the front or captured and forced to work in German factories, the women of Paris were left behind where they would come face to face with the German conquerors on a daily basis, as waitresses, shop assistants, or wives and mothers, increasingly desperate to find food to feed their families as hunger became part of everyday life.
When the Nazis and the puppet Vichy regime began rounding up Jews to ship east to concentration camps, the full horror of the war was brought home and the choice between collaboration and resistance became unavoidable. Sebba focuses on the role of women, many of whom faced life and death decisions every day. After the war ended, there would be a fierce settling of accounts between those who made peace with or, worse, helped the occupiers and those who fought the Nazis in any way they could.
About the Author
Anne Sebba is a biographer, lecturer, and former Reuters foreign correspondent who has written books including That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor. She is a member of the Society of Authors Executive Committee. She lives in London.
“A fascinating account of how the buildup to WWII, the war itself, and its aftermath marked the lives of Parisian women . . . A standout social history.” —Booklist (starred review)
“Sebba burrows into the lives of women in the City of Light during WWII to reveal their captivating and complicated stories . . . Sebba’s clear-eyed narrative concludes, correctly, that these women deserve understanding, not judgment.” —Publishers Weekly
“Fascinating . . . Anna Sebba knows everything about Paris during the war and she relates in Les Parisiennes 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, bestselling author of Our Young Man
“Wonderfully researched, this is an important retelling of Les Annees 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
“Impressive . . . Sebba offers balance to the plethora of war histories featuring the roles of men.” —Kirkus Reviews
“The further readers delve into the book, the more they’ll become entranced. . . . Sebba’s work delivers an intriguing perspective of an overlooked group during a time when all were tested beyond their limits.” —Library Journal
On That Woman
“A solid biography of the woman who became the King of England's excuse for abdicating his throne . . . depicts Wallis as a woman who sought power and privilege but never expected the damage she wrought or the wrath she engendered.” —The New York Times
“That Woman goes a long way in explaining how a not-quite-divorced, not-quite-beautiful American bedazzled a king out of his kingdom.” —Vogue
“Salacious and consuming, this well-researched biography will appeal to readers interested in British political and women's history.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Smart, eloquent, and unafraid to go beyond the myth of the duchess of Windsor.” —Publishers Weekly
“Brought to brilliant light in this responsible, respectful biography.” —Booklist on Jennie Churchill
“A rigorously objective book… Fascinating.” —Financial Times on Mother Teresa