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Dreaming in French: The Paris Years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag, and Angela Davis Hardcover – April 2, 2012
"Hitler's Forgotten Children" by Ingrid von Oelhafen
The Lebensborn program abducted as many as half a million children from across Europe. Through a process called Germanization, they were to become the next generation of the Aryan master race in the second phase of the Final Solution. Hitler's Forgotten Children is both a harrowing personal memoir and a devastating investigation into the awful crimes and monstrous scope of the Lebensborn program. Learn more | See related books
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"An enduring group profile of three influential yet completely different American women, for each of whom Paris played a short but transformative role, over three tumultuous decades. . . . The much-admired Kaplan focuses sharply on three women of successive generations, providing a keen feminist-cultural picture of Paris’s enduring, if varied, impact."
(Publishers Weekly, starred review)
"A fascinating group portrait of three different women from three different generations whose trajectories nevertheless converge in one surprising yet significant place: Paris. In this lively, original biographie à trois, Alice Kaplan shows how time spent living in the French capital and learning about its culture gave each of these sui generis heroines 'her own ideas of what counted'—and how those ideas in turn became an indelible part of the American political and cultural landscape."
(Caroline Weber, author of Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution)
"An eloquent, brilliant, and often moving portrayal of three remarkable women whose personal and intellectual engagement with France transformed them, and by extension America as well. These intimate narratives of Jaqueline Kennedy, Susan Sontag, and Angela Davis feel not only vital, but also necessary to our understanding of their moral, aesthetic and political development, and just as importantly, to our understanding of each as a remarkable, flawed, and complicated human being."
(Dinaw Mengestu, author of How to Read the Air)
"Dreaming in French is, in essence a collection of three short, stand-alone biographies. But Kaplan is a talented historian, journalist, and storyteller, and so she's crafted a book greater than the sum of its parts. . . . An informative, well-written work of biographical nonfiction." (Boston Globe)
(L'Amour des Livres)
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Top Customer Reviews
Each of this book's three subjects had their own specific reasons for studying in France, and of the three, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy was the only one with a definitive French ancestry. She studied there during the 1949-50 school year when I was in elementary school, was a debutante, and moved among the upper crust of post-war French society. Although her schooling in France had nothing to do with my personal history, her subsequent years as First Lady certainly did. She was a friend and admirer of Charles de Gaulle who ordered all American troops out of France when I was stationed there (my unit subsequently transferred to Germany).Read more ›
There is lots of material in the book but the style of the book makes it far more readable that it might otherwise have been. The author is able to communicate lots of information without being dull or heavyweight.
Kennedy (Bouvier) probably comes across the best of the three which rather surprised me. She went to France in the worst of times (after the war) and seems to have come away with a genuine love of the culture. Admittedly though, the aristocratic schoolgirl she is portrayed as would be the character easiest to like.
Susan Sontag is not likeable at all. She comes across as selfish, immature, superficial and self-absorbed. There is the pretence of an intellectual and the reality of a "high school" mind.
Angela Davis was already a fanatic by the time she reached Paris. What she gained in Paris was a philsophical and intellectual foundation for her radicalism that made her a more serious sort of fanatic. The interesting aspect is that she seemed to have been much more the legtimate serious intellectual in those years than at any time after. It makes all the violence and useless political activity of her later years seem even more of waste. Her descent into self-parody was immortalized in the film "Network" though few people will figure it out.
The book exceeded my expectations which admittedly were low going in. Its readable and tells an interesting set of stories. Though its not likely to be appreciated by those who had bad student experiences in Europe and/or just don't like the culture.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I find myself wondering whether generations other than mine will find this book interesting. I grew up with the 3 women. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Gloria B.
A marvelous description of three very different young women's experiences as students in Paris. It begins with Jacquiline Bouvier Kennedy.Published 15 months ago by Bobbie
A good insight into three women well ahead of their time. Interesting and worth reading.Published 19 months ago by camille bird
Nice review of fascinating people and with a flavor of the excitement of Paris at that time! Very highly recommended!Published 20 months ago by greg lewis
This is an interesting look at 3 well known women of yesteryear. The book comes across as a lot of research and quotes strung together, but well-organized. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Pinkjannie