Read When Paris Sizzled: The 1920s Paris of Hemingway, Chanel, Cocteau, Cole Porter, Josephine Baker, and Their Friends by Mary McAuliffe Online


When Paris Sizzled vividly portrays the City of Light during the fabulous 1920s, les Annees folles, when Parisians emerged from the horrors of war to find that a new world greeted them--one that reverberated with the hard metallic clang of the assembly line, the roar of automobiles, and the beat of jazz. Mary McAuliffe traces a decade that saw seismic change on almost everWhen Paris Sizzled vividly portrays the City of Light during the fabulous 1920s, les Annees folles, when Parisians emerged from the horrors of war to find that a new world greeted them--one that reverberated with the hard metallic clang of the assembly line, the roar of automobiles, and the beat of jazz. Mary McAuliffe traces a decade that saw seismic change on almost every front, from art and architecture to music, literature, fashion, entertainment, transportation, and, most notably, behavior. The epicenter of all this creativity, as well as of the era's good times, was Montparnasse, where impoverished artists and writers found colleagues and cafes, and tourists discovered the Paris of their dreams. Major figures on the Paris scene--such as Gertrude Stein, Jean Cocteau, Picasso, Stravinsky, Diaghilev, and Proust--continued to hold sway, while others now came to prominence--including Ernest Hemingway, Coco Chanel, Cole Porter, and Josephine Baker, as well as Andre Citroen, Le Corbusier, Man Ray, Sylvia Beach, James Joyce, and the irrepressible Kiki of Montparnasse. Paris of the 1920s unquestionably sizzled. Yet rather than being a decade of unmitigated bliss, les Annees folles also saw an undercurrent of despair as well as the rise of ruthless organizations of the extreme right, aimed at annihilating whatever threatened tradition and order--a struggle that would escalate in the years ahead. Through rich illustrations and evocative narrative, Mary McAuliffe brings this vibrant era to life....

Title : When Paris Sizzled: The 1920s Paris of Hemingway, Chanel, Cocteau, Cole Porter, Josephine Baker, and Their Friends
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ISBN : 9781442253322
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 344 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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When Paris Sizzled: The 1920s Paris of Hemingway, Chanel, Cocteau, Cole Porter, Josephine Baker, and Their Friends Reviews

  • Sherwood Smith
    2019-02-21 15:18

    My first thought when I saw the title was that Paris has pretty much always sizzled. It certainly did during the Revolution, in a terrible way—then in the years immediately following the Terror, Paris came alive creatively; anyone could write and mount a play, which meant women, for the first time ever. Then there was George Sand’s long lifetime, which covered a couple political ructions—Paris sizzled right along, replete with amazing personalities doing fascinating things in art, music, the sciences, architecture, etc.McAuliffe gives a slight nod in this direction:This was not a phenomenon that suddenly occurred in 1920. Many of the most colorful features of the Parisian twenties had roots going back to the war or even before . . .The frivolity and excesses of “les annees folles” followed as a natural response to death and destruction, whether as a kind of doom-infused escapism or simply as a desire to have fun.But this book focuses on the twenties, beginning with the end of World War I, and ending in 1929, when Wall Street crashed in the USA, and in Paris, a number of key people either died or moved away, after ten years of what sometimes seemed like one long mad party. After introducing the majority of her cast, McAuliffe structures her epic tale year by year, building a vivid picture of the cultural cauldron that centered around Montparnasse because it was cheap and unfashionable. So many musicians, artists, writers, dancers, architects, poets, choreographers, photographers and sculptors came there determined to make names for themselves. People fell in and out of love, allied, fought, broke up, gathering at Le Bouef sur la Toit or the Jockey Club, or at the glittering parties given by famous hostesses.Life was not easy for most of them. We’re furnished vivid details about those hopefuls: for example, Soutine (a Russian-born painter) and Modigliani (Italian) shared a studio where, an acquaintance once reported on visiting late one night, “I saw them lying on the floor surrounded by a water-filled trench to ward off bedbugs. Each held a candle, by which Modigliani was reading Dante.”Cole Porter—who married money—Charles De Gaulle—a military man with ambitiouns—Marie Curie—Coco Chanel—Ernest Hemingway—Gertrude Stein—Cocteau and Renoir and Kiki the model scrabbling for a living and the Duke of Westminster, richest man on the planet, all get their stories woven in year by year, among anecdotes of the Dadaists, whose adherents tended toward destructive exhibitions a bit more than experimental art. Some of that was supposed to be art (what came to be known as guerrilla theater): at a concert called Ballet Mecanique, by George Antheil, which seems to have been mostly composed of whistles, coffee grinders, hammers, and a plane propeller (that blew the wig off one audience member), a riot broke out.As his sponsor said philosophically, “At least George Antheil had a hearing, and an uproarious one at that. From a Dada point of view, one couldn’t have anything better.”We learn who inspired whom, who helped and hurt whom (some did both, like the complex siren Misia Sert), who succeeded and who failed. Some died very young, others went on to write longingly about those vanished years, in the decades to come.It’s an absorbing book, full of detail and personality, bolstered by a formidable bibliography that is almost worth the price of the book in itself, and replete with footnotes that unfortunately, are maddening in e-book form, as one has to slide back and forth to find them and then find your place again. But worth it—immensely worth it. This is a keeper.Copy provided by NetGalley

  • Faith
    2019-02-19 15:38

    Maybe if this book were organized differently, possibly based on events or grouping artists, writers, scientists, etc., I might have liked it more. Instead the organization was chronological. The author did a lot of research, but the result is a dry recitation of facts, many of them trivial, about a group of accomplished and interesting people. This book wasn't what I was expecting and it just wasn't for me. I received a free copy of the ebook from the publisher but I listened to the audiobook borrowed from the library.

  • Gill
    2019-02-21 16:42

    'When Paris Sizzles' by Mary McAuliffe4 stars/ 8 out of 10This is the third book in Mary McAuliffe's series of books, looking at life in Paris from 1870 onwards. This book covers the period from 1918 to 1929. The books all have a similar style, following through year by year, and detailing the cultural and social events, large and small, occurring in each year. McAuliffe especially looks at those individuals she regards as culturally significant, the musicians, artists, writers etc.For the first couple of chapters of 'When Paris Sizzled', there were so many people being introduced, that I found it hard to keep track of them. However, after these introductory sections, it became easier. I enjoyed following through the years, chapter by chapter, and coming across the same people again and again. I was also pleased that, within each chapter, McAuliffe placed the events within the context of the political developments of the year. I was surprised by how many of the protagonists in this book involved themselves in various political movements. I was unaware of so many who were involved in movements of the 'right'.I found the sections relating to Charles de Gaulle, and to Sylvia Beach (of Shakespeare and Co) especially interesting, and also those relating to the differing approaches of the automotive innovators Renault and Citroen. There was a lot of information about Ernest Hemingway, which did nothing to make me feel any more favourable towards him than I had previously! My favourite sections were those about Jean Renoir, the film director.Mary McAuliffe has developed a successful format for her books about Paris, and 'When Paris Sizzles' is no exception.Thank you to Rowman and Littlefield, and to NetGalley for an ARC.

  • Andrea Stoeckel
    2019-02-09 18:21

    I received this book free from the publisher through NetGalley. I thank them for their generousity. In exchange, I was simply asked to write an honest review, and post it. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising]"The Twenties, or the Roaring Twenties, as they are known in America, had a distinctive name in Paris—les Années folles, or, roughly translated, the Crazy Years. This era began after the war’s end, in late 1918, and continued through the decade, until brought to a halt by the Wall Street crash of 1929 and subsequent worldwide depression." - from the IntroductionLet's face it, Europe was hit and hit hard by "the war to end all wars". Paris wasn't seen as a "tourist city" until after Prohibition was implemented in the States. A lot of artistic Americans came over to Paris because of word of mouth. The exchange rate was in the Americans favor, and the French were more accepting of most who landed on their doorsteps.What McAuliffe has done has written a book celebrating the synchronicity of artistry in all its forms. This is a non-fiction tome that reads like a cross between a dime store novel and the contemporary "Page Six". We hear, in snippets, stories of fashion icons, architects, artists, dancers, authors and their compatriots. Would these people have become the icons of history if the war hadn't happened? That is a question this book leaves me with. It would be a great fact checking book for anyone studying or writing about this era of world history. Brava!

  • Teri Reck
    2019-01-27 18:25

    A fascinating look at Paris between the world wars. It starts with the end of WWI, with Paris trying to climb back from substantial losses with an outpouring of creativity and inquiry and re-definition. Many Americans and other expats as well as the French figure into all this fresh new art, music, and culture. Very interesting to read about so many familiar names--Hemingway, Chanel, James Joyce, Picasso, the Fitzgeralds, and on and on and their rise to fame, or occasionally their self destruction. I also learned about many important figures that were unfamiliar to me. It ends a little abruptly with the crash of '29, but acknowledges that the end of an era had been a long time coming. My favorite quote was by Picasso in response to notions that "the influence of Cubism on Art Deco is undeniable" in which he says, "What would Michelangelo have said if they held him responsible for a Renaissance chest of drawers?" A worthy read. Especially fascinating was reading about the influence of a bookstore called Shakespeare and Company which Sophie and I had the good fortune to visit while we were in Paris.

  • Bonnye Reed
    2019-02-05 19:42

    GNAB I received a free electronic copy of this book from Netgalley, Rowman & Littlefield, and Mary McAuliffe in exchange for an honest review. Thanks, folks, for sharing your work with me!Reading Mary McAuliffe is always a joy. She opens doors to worlds you never dreamed of, and awakens the need to learn more. Thank you, Ms. McAuliffe, for shining your spotlight onto this particular point of time and place. Paris between the World Wars was a magnet for artistic souls from around the world. Authors, painters, designers of all sorts, musicians, architects, actors, dancers - Paris was the perfect environment to nurture the hearts of those so blessed. Mary McAuliffe shares with us the excitement and growth of the arts from that period, the personalities and quirks that those talented people brought to their environment and their work. I learned much here through this work, and it brought back to me tales from my father, who adored the talents of that time. I recommend highly to anyone interested in history or the arts.

  • Kim Erskine
    2019-02-13 18:33

    It seemed well researched but was a bit too academic and dry for me.

  • Alan
    2019-02-22 14:25

    "When legend becomes fact, print the legend."- newspaper editor Maxwell Scott in the film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)*I was reminded of the above quote while reading one of McAuliffe's concluding vignettes to her terrific summary of 1920's Paris. While the 1929 stock market crash was the main economic reason for the end of "Les Années Folles" (The Crazy Years), the deaths of various personalities such as impresario Sergei Diaghilev (1872-1929) and dancer Isadora Duncan (1877-1927) seemed to act as era-ending signals as well. McAuliffe gives only the reputed last words of Duncan as "Adieu, mes amis. Je vais à la gloire!" (Farewell, my friends, I go to glory!) moments before her horrifying death by having her neck broken by the end of her shawl being caught and twisted in the turning wheel-spokes of her getaway car. That her final words may have actually been "Je vais à l'amour" ("I go to love") and were deemed too salacious by her friends who substituted the better legend version is not mentioned.That is a good example to portray what McAuliffe does here, and don't get me wrong she does it very well. This is a best bits version of the Roaring 20's of Paris that touches on most of the highlights, but that may not always go into subjects in depth. But it serves its function very well and may leave you intrigued about some personalities that you otherwise may have known little about. From my point of interest in writers and literary personalities there wasn't anything new here about Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, Sylvia Beach et al that I hadn't read about previously but there was plenty about Josephine Baker and Coco Chanel that I had known nothing about, e.g. did you know that Baker was actually known as more of a stage comic or clown before her emergence as the exotic glamorous star she became?So this is highly recommended if you are looking for a 1920s Paris "101" and it will hopefully keep you reading further along whatever subjects and personalities interest you the most. For me, I think I want to find an un-bowdlerized version of Kiki de Montparnasse's Kiki souvenirs (English version: Kiki's Memoirs) or a copy of Jimmie Charters's This Must be the Place for an on-the-ground view of the times. * I think this is only in the film version, but if anyone has read Dorothy M. Johnson's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and knows that the quote is from the original short story, please let me know.

  • Lee
    2019-01-23 18:39

    4 stars for me! :)I really REALLY liked this book! I usually don't read nonfiction, but this one was an easy exception. I also appreciated how the author integrated the lives and progress of other areas rather than just the artists (like political leaders, engineers, etc). My only negatives were that sometimes it became very difficult to keep track of who was who, especially as the author would sometimes just throw names in without any background information even though the focus had shifted onto a different person. Also, sometimes I think she stretched too thin and covered way too many topics when it would've been better to hone in a little bit more on the artistry aspect. (Which, I believe is the whole premise of the book anyways, I mean, look at the title)(Also, this is a PERSONAL point, just relevant to my interests, but--- I was so excited to read about my ultimate faves Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the author only had a couple lines about them in the whole book about how they were drunk a lot. Like, okay, thanks... but please tell me more about tire manufacturers. :/ )

  • Rob Atkinson
    2019-02-10 15:27

    A wonderful episodic account of the 'années folles' in Paris, following the activities, rivalries, and accomplishments of the chief players in that remarkable time and place year by year from 1919-1929. The focus is heavily weighted towards the creative arts -- literature, painting, music, architecture, fashion -- but also encompasses less well known figures like Andre Citröen, France's Henry Ford, and also covers the ominous rise of a fascistic, nationalist movement over that decade, backed by multimillionaire perfume magnate René Coty through his purpose-driven media empire. The latter movement apparently rose in parallel with Mussolini and Hitler's ascendency in that decade, and helps to explain why the Nazis found so many willing collaborators after invading France in 1940. This aspect of the era was new to me, though I've read much on the 1920s in Paris -- and unexpectedly, I also found much fresh material in the author's account of the artistic scene. Rich in anecdote and full of fascinating characters and epochal cultural events, this history is sure to please and edify anyone interested in 1920s Paris, even those who are already well read on the subject.

  • Mandy
    2019-02-19 20:44

    A portrait of Paris in the 1920s told year by year. This makes for a fairly fractured narrative but that very narrative is fascinating enough to carry the reader along. There was a lot going on in Paris at the time and it’s all reflected in this well-researched and comprehensive account. All the notables of the time are encountered here, from Picasso to Gertrude Stein, Man Ray to Andre Citroen, James Joyce to Jean Cocteau. A kaleidoscope of art, music, invention and fun. Great portrait of an unforgettable era.

  • nikkia neil
    2019-01-31 20:32

    Thanks Rowman & Littlefield and netgalley for this ARC. Mary McAuliffe always gives it to us straight but she writes with just enough humor to make it fun to read history. I love books like this because it makes reading novels from the time period more meaningful and rich.

  • Tracy Rowan
    2019-02-13 13:46

    The years between 1850 and 1950 have long been my era of interest, a fascination that took hold of me when I was a pre-teen, and has never let go.  Rather it's expanded as I have explored the events that informed those years, and those informed by those years.  When I saw this title pop up in Hoopla, I thought it would be perfect for me.  Nevertheless, I found it a bit of a slog. There certainly isn't a lot of sizzling going on in this rather dry, chronological narrative of the 1920s in Paris.  Even people who had seemed exciting in other contexts felt flat and dull here.  Jean Cocteau, long an idol of mine, comes across as tiresome and silly.  Gertrude Stein feels like a footnote, and both Hemingway and James Joyce come across badly as difficult and self-absorbed, and in Hemingway's case, a fractious, spiteful liar.But that's okay, really.  I understand that famous people are not saints by any stretch.  It's the dullness that bothered me.  But eventually I began to notice that certain personalities shone in spite of the less-than-inspired structure of the narrative. Misia Sert, who is largely a footnote in studies of this era, emerged as not only important, but one of the more genuine personalities of the book, in her generosity and kindness, a woman who was with Diaghilev as he was dying, and screamed at a Catholic priest loudly, violently, and for long enough that he agreed to give the last rites to a man who was Russian Orthodox.  I had to admire that small, telling portrait.Other figures, famous in their own right, but often relegated to supporting players, are given the spotlight to good effect here: Sylvia Beach, who owned Shakespeare and Company, and supported Joyce both artistically and financially for years, Coco Chanel, a woman of fierce independence and great generosity, Le Corbusier whose work I never cared for, but whose career shaped and was shaped by modernism.  Josephine Baker who took Paris by storm as a teenager, Francois Coty, the cosmetics king, whose fascism and anti-semitism helped shape the fascism that thrived in France in the 20s through his newspapers and political activism.  Louis Renault and André Citroën who brought the car culture to France. They and others who are not usually featured in histories of this era play major roles in this book, and that's all to the good because McAuliffe expands our understanding of this decade by focusing more broadly than most authors do.So in the end, and in spite of my initial feeling that When Paris Sizzled was dry and a bit slow, I feel as if it gave me a far better understanding of that moment in history than many other histories have done. If you tackle it, have patience, and you'll be rewarded.

  • Andy Oram
    2019-02-19 14:40

    This book is sheer pleasure for anyone interested in the arts. After you have been to the museums, heard the music, read the poems, etc. you will consume this book greedily. Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Cole Porter, Jean Cocteau, Stravinsky...a list of artists and other historical figures represented in this book could take up a whole computer screen. These people's outrageous artistic, sexual, and social behavior furnish endless amusing anecdotes (as well as some tragic ones). Furthermore, McAuliffe illuminates the artists' work--not by describing exact stages through which a Picasso or Stravinsky passed (hundreds of other books do that) but by showing what was happening as major artistic works were being produced, and the reactions of the viewers or readers. She handles the politics and economics of the era, too, showing how widespread suffering and violent ideologies threatened the freedom of the culture. She also works hard to get stories right and distinguish lurid legend from what really happened.

  • Zachary
    2019-02-15 21:21

    When Paris Sizzled: 1920sWhile I enjoyed this book, and I did. I think I was expecting too much out of it. What I mean is I have read numerous books on Cole Porter, Gerald Murphy and his wife, Hemingway, Monet, just to mention a few, and I guess I expected the information that was written about them was scanty for lack of a better word and a lot of the information was not in chronological order. It was all over the place. She hardly mentioned Gertrude Stein who was a major player back then, and anyone who has really read about this era knows that that the "MURPHY'S" were the "TRENDSETTERS" during that time. Please don't get me wrong she had some interesting information, however, a bit too wordy for me. Some of the people mentioned in there, I just didn't feel were necessary. Good book, you can tell she put a lot of research into it, however, it could have done without a few chapters.

  • Jan Chlapowski Söderlund
    2019-02-03 15:27

    * * * - I liked this book.Mary McAuliffe has written a romp of a story, careening through the 1920-history of Paris, France and occasionally venturing out into the rest of Europe. Even the style is reminiscent of those times - boisterous and a little unbridled. Few personages of the 1920's Paris in-crowd or avantgarde champions are left unmentioned. Nonetheless, I am left with a feeling that the book lacked a proper storyline. Yes, it was all vaguely ordered chronologically. And yes, each person's story was nicely gathered together during the appropriate time. But there was no actual analysis, only a litany of who did what, when, how and with whom. Factually very interesting and exhaustive (at least for a relative newcomer to this epoch), but not giving any depth to the events being portrayed. With this in mind. Go ahead and read this tale of how so many fascinating persons happened to coalesce in one city, virtually in the same city-area in fact.

  • Brion
    2019-02-03 17:40

    Mary McAuliffe’s almost textbook-like approach to Paris on the 1920’s is full of people, places and events. The book chronicles the crazy life in Paris in the aftermath of World War 1, but also prepares you for what’s to come in the 1930’s. There is Hemingway, Picasso, Cole Porter, Gertrude Stein, Monet, Man Ray, Cocteau, Le Corbusier, Citroen, even Mussolini and Hitler - and lots of Americans (remember prohibition?). My preference is for more depth with fewer characters, but McAuliffe is a good writer and tells a good story. This 2016 book is the third in her series on Paris from about 1870 forward. I’ll probably read both of those too.

  • Melinda
    2019-01-30 17:35

    I have always been fascinated by Paris in the 1920s and have read a lot about Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Chanel, etc.; however, this book helped me make connections among Gertrude Stein, Jean Cocteau, Picasso, Stravinsky, Diaghilev, Proust, Hemingway, Coco Chanel, Cole Porter, Josephine Baker, André Citroën, Le Corbusier, Man Ray, Sylvia Beach, James Joyce, Charles de Gaulle, Kiki de Montparnasse, Janet Flanner , François Coty, Georges Clemenceau, Gershwin, Picasso, Sylvia Beach, and many more literary, historical, and artistic figures. I enjoyed the book; although, about half-way through, it began to read more like a dissertation than a novel.

  • Barbara
    2019-02-13 20:43

    Paris from the end of WWI through the 1920s. Well researched yet at times a bit dry.It was written in chronological order year by year. I would have preferred grouping together the characters by interests, events, how their lives crossed.There were interesting details about how the lives of the characters intertwined and facts about Paris and Europe as a whole I didn't know and gave me several 'a-ha' moments about future events.

  • Kathy
    2019-02-01 13:32

    Another well written and interesting overview of Paris as seen through the lives of its artists and politicians. In this installment in these books many lives which started being chronicled in the books on the belle epoque come to a close and a new younger cast of characters is introduced as year by year we get a look at what in retrospect the French see as the 'crazy years'.

  • Kathy Allard
    2019-02-01 14:33

    I liked the author's approach of organizing chapters by year, so the reader learns about what each artist was doing in that year rather than an exhaustive bio of that whole decade of their lives. This meant I didn't have time to become bored with a person I didn't care about or nauseated by someone's excesses, because within a couple of minutes we'd be on to the next person.

  • Aishuu
    2019-02-14 13:21

    Boring and unfocused - it doesn't define the people involved (I know most of them but not all of them). I suspect people familiar with this period would find this overview-ish, and it's not a good entry book for people unfamiliar with it. Abandoned 20 percent in.

  • Holly Lutmer
    2019-02-17 13:43

    Such a wonderful telling of life and the events that occurred in Paris in the 1920s. There is so much information gleaned from so many different primary sources. I loved every aspect of this book, and want to read many many more.

  • Marissa Ovick
    2019-02-13 14:40

    This was a fun read and well-written. A great high level overview of Paris between the wars and over 20 mini bios. Each vignette feels like such a tease because it's so brief, but it was interesting to learn about all of these individuals in context to each other.

  • Susan Tan
    2019-02-14 13:36

    This is an advanced cultural history book about the impactful artists & entrepreneurs who made the 1920s. I am not an advanced history buff so I am lost on most of the names.

  • Amuse
    2019-01-26 14:26

    A great read if you know about the characters... the artists, the musicians, the writers, the designers. I loved this book. They were all so naughty and interesting back then.

  • Liv
    2019-02-04 14:18

    Could have been great, but was not organized in a reader-friendly way. Seemed well researched, but was too dry as a result. My favourite time period was made out to be pretty lame.

  • Nora
    2019-02-21 21:43

    Fascinating essay on "Années Folles" in Paris. It reads like a novel. You feel like you are there. I learned a lot in this book. I will probably read again at some point.

  • J Eseltine
    2019-01-24 19:20

    Follows the lives of the avante-garde of Paris in the 1920s, especially in Montparnasse.

  • Angi Campbell
    2019-01-31 13:19

    I found this book incredibly dull.