Title: Fireworks at Dusk : Paris in the Thirties.
Publisher: Little Brown & Company, Boston
Publication Date: 1993
Edition: First Printing of the First Edition
A Fine tight copy in a Fine, bright unclipped dj. In 1930 Paris dazzled as its painters, writers, composers and designers invented modernity. But in 1935, the Great Depression had caught up with the French, as Fascists and Communists fought in the streets, and war loomed as Hitler and Mussolini grew more menacing. The author presents a cultural history of Paris in the '30s--its last brilliant moment as a world capital. Drawing on newspapers, memoirs and eyewitness accounts, he juggles the parallel lives of Picasso, Stravinsky, Cocteau, Gide, Josephine Baker, Elsa Schiaparelli, Max Ernst, Janet Flanner and many others. Bernier offers withering profiles of a succession of incompetent, unscrupulous politicians who contributed to France's failure of will. He shows how the rage for the modern that marked the beginning of the decade gave way to alienation, anguish, befuddlement and a headlong retreat into the past. Catalog Garnet. Bookseller Inventory # 23149
Synopsis: A portrait of Paris during the 1930s. Among the characters featured are some of the best-known names of the period - artists, writers, designers, party-givers and political figures, including Elsa Maxwell, Picasso, Dali, Gide, Cocteau, Schiaparelli and Pierre Laval.
From Kirkus Reviews: An informed and fascinating survey of Paris's hectic decade before the Nazi occupation, highlighting the contrast between the glittering culture and the collapsing civilization. Bernier (Words of Fire, Deeds of Blood, 1989, etc.) takes on the challenging task of sorting out the threads of the confusing political, social, economic, and aesthetic fabric of a society that in some ways was at its peak and, in others, was near dissolution. The title refers to ``the last great assertion of European (and French) cultural and social superiority''--an excellence in fashion (Schiaparelli), art (Picasso, Mir¢, Dali), literature (Gide, Malraux), and diplomacy (Elsa Maxwell and US Ambassador William Bullitt). But Paris, the most powerful cultural center in Europe, enjoying a peace and prosperity that were rapidly disappearing in other parts of the world, also offered a special style of life, glamorous and pleasure-oriented--a society of costume balls, nightclubs, theaters, opera; a world of display and innovation that included everything from autos to yo-yos. The ``other Paris'' of the music hall (Josephine Baker and Maurice Chevalier), brothels, and sidewalk caf?s was equally festive, providing escape from the poverty, alienation, unemployment, class conflict, and political despair that afflicted the masses. Those who cared periodically but ineffectually rioted over the political corruption, while an inept government became an easy target for the Nazis, with whom some French aristocrats had been socializing. Poignant and incisive, Bernier, with a journalist's eye for meaningful detail, captures this confused era when the City of Light, at its brightest, was overcome by a political darkness from which it never recovered. (Thirty b&w photographs--not seen.) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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