And the Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris by Alan Riding

When I arrived at Shakespeare and Company on Monday evening, it looked like something out of a Parisian dream.  The weather was pleasantly warm and a gentle breeze had strewn delicate, pink flower petals on the ground.  Ahhhh, I thought to myself, what a wonderful evening to be in Paris.

The pleasant atmosphere, however, offered a stark contrast to the subject of Alan Riding's latest book, And the Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris, in which the author examines the following questions:

Do gifted painters, musicians or actors have a duty to provide ethical leadership?
Did working during the occupation automatically mean collaboration?
Did talent and status impose a greater moral responsibility?

I started reading the book last night and am finding it to be as engaging as it is troubling.  As Mr. Riding says, one can't help but notice the numerous plaques in Paris dedicated to those who lost their lives during World War II and not wonder about the actors and musicians who performed for the Germans.  On the other hand, he quotes the words of Anthony Eden, Britain's wartime foreign secretary, "If one hasn't been through the horrors of an occupation of a foreign power, you have no right to pronounce upon what a country does which has been through all that."


  1. Interesting topic! Would like to hear more about it - can I borrow the book once you've finished it?
    P.S. This is my test comment...

  2. Hi Heidi,

    You're right, it is a fascinating topic. Of course you can borrow the book - you'll just have to come to Paris to pick it up, along with your book, "Swiss Watching".

    Thanks for helping me fix the problem with my comment section.

    Stay warm in snowy Switzerland!

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