When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944
by Ron Rosbottom
"When Paris Went Dark recounts, through countless compelling stories, how Nazi occupation drained the light from Paris and how many of its residents resisted in ways large and small. This is a rich work of history, a brilliant recounting of how hope can still flourish in the rituals of daily life." – Scott Turow '70
- Listen to a conversation about the book between Ron Rosbottom and Leah Hewitt, Professor of French.
- Read an excerpt and reviews.
- Learn more about the author.
- Visit Amherst Reads on Goodreads and start a discussion.
On June 14, 1940, German tanks entered a silent and nearly deserted Paris. Eight days later, France accepted a humiliating defeat and foreign occupation. Subsequently, an eerie sense of normalcy settled over the City of Light. Many Parisians keenly adapted themselves to the situation—even allied themselves with their Nazi overlords. At the same time, amidst this darkening gloom of German ruthlessness, shortages, and curfews, a resistance arose. Parisians of all stripes—Jews, immigrants, adolescents, communists, rightists, cultural icons such as Colette, de Beauvoir, Camus and Sartre, as well as police officers, teachers, students, and store owners—rallied around a little known French military officer, Charles de Gaulle.
When Paris Went Dark evokes with stunning precision the detail of daily life in a city under occupation, and the brave people who fought against the darkness. Relying on a range of resources—memoirs, diaries, letters, archives, interviews, personal histories, flyers and posters, fiction, photographs, film and historical studies—Rosbottom has forged a groundbreaking book that will forever influence how we understand those dark years in the City of Light.