Would You Be Able To Survive When Paris Went Dark? [REVIEW]

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Would I have been able to survive Paris during the occupation? I honestly don’t know the answer to that question.

Ronald Rossbottom's When Paris Went Dark

Little, Brown and Company

I would like to say yes, but then again maybe not. T. S. Eliot once said, “The historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence.” Hence, man has the capability to learn from the past if he chooses to do so.

In light of this fact, Ronald C. Rosbottom weaves a beautifully written account of the German occupation of Paris, France between 1940 and 1944. As you read the pages of “When Park Went Dark“, you begin to bond with the city’s many residents, such as Colette, Picasso, Hemingway, and Matisse as well as the City of Lights itself, Paris.

In order to describe the German occupation of Paris, Rosbottom details the many historical nuances surrounding this event. In fact, the author states the three traumas “that would thoroughly demoralize the capital’s population.” (25)

“The effect of these events was to impart a sense of helplessness and confusion that would enable the Germans to occupy Paris even more efficiently and calmly than they had anticipated.” (25)

Ronald Rosbottom

Ronald Rosbottom (Photo by Kane Haffey)

On the other hand, Rosbottom captures the mood and emotional attachment many people of the time had with Paris. It held a special yet whimsical place in the hearts of many, although danger stood around every corner.

Not many people have the ability to create an account that pulls the reader into the historical references but still maintains the flavor of what the “City of Lights” meant to each individual. So take the time to enjoy history in a whole new way by reading Ronald Rosbottom’s When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944.
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The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940 – 1944
By Ronald C. Rosbottom
480 pp. Little, Brown and Company. $28.

As originally featured on WBSM.com. 

About Heather Fink
Heather Fink is a writer, bibliophile and award-winning librarian who loves to introduce the next generation of readers to the wonderful world of books. She currently resides in Texas.

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