Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris
by Alan Riding

Full List of Reviews
Spear's Book Award for Social History of the Year, 2011
Palau i Fabre International non-Fiction Prize, Spain, 2011

And The Show Went On - Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris during World War 2 involving writers and artists - Written by Alan Riding

Full List of Reviews

"It is certainly one of the finest works of serious popular history since the heyday of Barbara Tuchman."
Washington Post

"Enthralling and disturbing... And the Show Went On describes this history in gripping and painful detail."
The New York Times Book Review

"An impressively comprehensive survey of the occupation years."
The Economist

"An arresting and detailed account of the French arts scene at the time."
Los Angeles Times

"The world of the arts in Nazi-occupied Paris is brought to life in this meticulous chronicle of writers, dancers, filmmakers, theatrical producers, and others."
The New Yorker

"... his fascinating book..."
The New York Review of Books

"Mr. Riding is very good at pointing to the complexities and ambiguities of the situation."
Wall Street Journal

"Alan Riding paints a riveting portrait... of how Paris's glittering, politically diverse cultural elite worked and played during the dark days of the Nazis' occupation."
Vanity Fair

United States
Knopf edition published
October 19, 2010

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Galaxia-Gutenberg published
September 27, 2011

Order 'Y la fiesta siguió' from

Companhia das Letras published
April 17, 2012

Order 'Paris, a festa continuou' here

Published Nov. 14, 2012
Order 'Y siguió la fiesta' from Gandhi bookstore

Alan Riding's other books

Britain and Commonwealth
Duckworth edition published
March 31, 2011

Order Hardcover or Audiobook

Galaxia-Gutenberg published
September 21, 2011

Order 'Y La Festa Va Continuar' from

Editions Plon published
January 19, 2012

Order 'Et la fête continue' from

Swiat Ksiazki published
November 21, 2012

Buy 'A zabawa trwala w najlepze' here


On June 14, 1940, German tanks rolled into a silent and deserted Paris. Eight days later, a humbled France accepted defeat along with foreign occupation. The only consolation was that, while the swastika now flew over Paris, the City of Light was undamaged. Soon, a peculiar kind of normality returned as theaters, opera houses, movie theaters and nightclubs reopened for business.

This suited both conquerors and vanquished: the Germans wanted Parisians to be distracted, while the French could show that, culturally at least, they had not been defeated. Over the next four years, the artistic life of Paris flourished with as much verve as in peacetime. Only a handful of writers and intellectuals asked if this was an appropriate response to the horrors of a world war.

Maurice Chevalier visits French prisoners-of-war in Germany Maurice Chevalier visits French prisoners-of-war
in Germany
Arletty and Jean-Louis Barrault in Marcel Carné's Les Enfants du Paradis Arletty and Jean-Louis Barrault in Marcel Carné's
Les Enfants du Paradis
Alan Riding introduces us to a panoply of writers, painters, composers, actors and dancers who kept working throughout the occupation. Maurice Chevalier and Édith Piaf sang before French and German audiences. Pablo Picasso, whose art was officially banned, continued to paint in his Left Bank apartment. More than two hundred new French films were made, including Marcel Carné's classic, Les Enfants du paradis.

Thousands of books were published by authors as different as the virulent anti-Semite Céline and the anti-Nazis Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre. Meanwhile, as Jewish performers and creators were being forced to flee or, as was Irène Némirovsky, deported to death camps, a small number of artists and intellectuals joined the resistance.

Throughout this penetrating and unsettling account, Riding keeps alive the quandaries facing many of these artists. Were they "saving" French culture by working? Were they betraying France if they performed before German soldiers or made movies with Nazi approval? Was it the intellectual's duty to take up arms against the occupier? Then, after Paris was liberated, what was deserving punishment for artists who had committed "intelligence with the enemy"?

By throwing light on this critical moment of twentieth-century European cultural history, And the Show Went On focuses anew on whether artists and writers have a special duty to show moral leadership in moments of national trauma.