10 books like Journal à quatre mains

By Benoîte Groult, Flora Groult,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Journal à quatre mains. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Suite Française

By Irene Nemirovsky,

Book cover of Suite Française

I’ve chosen this book not just for the incredible picture it paints of German occupation, but for the story of its survival. Irène Némirovsky was a Ukrainian-Jewish author living in Paris with her young family until she was denied French citizenship and forced to flee to the French countryside. In July 1942 she was arrested during a period of vicious roundups by the Germans and transported to Auschwitz, where she died a month later from typhus. Irène’s two daughters were amongst the crowd that gathered daily outside the Hotel Lutetia in Paris, where returnees from concentration camps were processed after the liberation of France. Her daughter Denise kept the notebook containing Suite Française for fifty years before realising what it contained, and Irène’s masterpiece was finally published in 2004.

Suite Française

By Irene Nemirovsky,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Suite Française as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1941, Irene Nemirovsky sat down to write a book that would convey the magnitude of what she was living through, not in terms of battles and politicians, but by evoking the domestic lives and personal trials of the ordinary citizens of France. She did not live to see her ambition fulfilled, or to know that sixty-five years later, "Suite Francaise" would be published for the first time, and hailed as a masterpiece. Set during a year that begins with France's fall to the Nazis in June 1940 and ends with Germany turning its attention to Russia, "Suite Francaise" falls…


Strange Defeat

By Marc Bloch,

Book cover of Strange Defeat

Marc Bloch was a prominent French historian, who specialized in Medieval social history during the years between the two world wars of the twentieth century. He was a major figure in the formation of the “Annales School” which focused on the study of history with an emphasis on long-term developments in social history. Of Alsatian-Jewish background, he wrote the book Strange Defeat during the summer of 1940, following the rapid defeat and conquest of France by Nazi Germany. Bloch’s book was published in France after the war, in 1946, but he did not live to see it. He was able to maintain a professorial position at the University of Montpelier in southern France but, after joining the Resistance, was captured, tortured, and executed in 1944. In Strange Defeat, Bloch examined the long-term causes of the 1940 defeat, focusing on the failure of the French military leadership to adjust to…

Strange Defeat

By Marc Bloch,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Strange Defeat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A renowned historian and Resistance fighter - later executed by the Nazis - analyzes at first hand why France fell in 1940. Marc Bloch wrote Strange Defeat during the three months following the fall of France, after he returned home from military service. In the midst of his anguish, he nevertheless "brought to his study of the crisis all the critical faculty and all the penetrating analysis of a first-rate historian" (Christian Science Monitor). Bloch takes a close look at the military failures he witnessed, examining why France was unable to respond to attack quickly and effectively. He gives a…


Bad Faith

By Carmen Callil,

Book cover of Bad Faith: A Forgotten History of Family, Fatherland and Vichy France

Plenty of Resistance activity in the Lot, certainly, but it was also the home of the vicious anti-semite Louis Darquier de Pellepoix, who rounded up many Jews to their deaths on behalf of the Vichy Government. Years later, Carmen Callil, founder of Virago, was seeking psychiatric help when she came across his daughter Anne, a psychiatrist, who had been abandoned by her despicable parents.

It was Anne’s death by suicide that set Callil off on a stunning attempt to track the life of Darquier, a drunkard, a rapist, and a man of few if any redeeming features. He disgraced his family and native town, where his father was mayor of Cahors, capital of the Lot. He was sentenced to death but, protected by Franco, died a free man in Spain.

“Only lice were ever gassed at Auschwitz” was his mantra as he sent children off to the gas chambers.

Bad Faith

By Carmen Callil,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Bad Faith as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This brilliant book tells the story of one of history s most despicable villains and conmen Louis Darquier de Pellepoix, Nazi collaborator and Commissioner for Jewish Affairs , who managed the Vichy government s dirty work, controlling its Jewish population. orn into an established, politically moderate family, Louis Darquier ( de Pellepoix was a later affectation) proceeded from modest beginnings to dissemble his way to power, continually reinventing himself in conformity with an obsession with racial purity and the latent anti-Semitism of the French Catholic Church. He was the ultimate chancer- always broke, always desperate for attention, social cachet, women…


The Vichy Syndrome

By Henry Rousso, Arthur Goldhammer (translator),

Book cover of The Vichy Syndrome: History and Memory in France Since 1944

The role of France and the activities of the French during the Second World War German occupation, spanning the range from resistance through accommodation to collaboration, has been the subject of considerable literature on both sides of the Atlantic. First published in France in 1987, The Vichy Syndrome characterizes the memory of the war years as “a past that doesn't pass away.” The book addresses the different ways in which the war years were remembered and helped popularize the study of historical memory, meaning the study not only of the events themselves but also how they are remembered and how these memories influence political and cultural life in succeeding generations. Rousso received France’s National Order of Merit in 1995 and in 2018 was chosen by President Macron to supervise the design of France’s new Memorial Museum of Societies Facing Terrorism.  

The Vichy Syndrome

By Henry Rousso, Arthur Goldhammer (translator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Vichy Syndrome as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the Liberation purges to the Barbie trial, France has struggled with the memory of the Vichy experience: a memory of defeat, occupation, and repression. In this provocative study, Henry Rousso examines how this proud nation-a nation where reality and myth commingle to confound understanding-has dealt with les annees noires. Specifically, he studies what the French have chosen to remember-and to conceal.


The Blood of Free Men

By Michael Neiberg,

Book cover of The Blood of Free Men: The Liberation of Paris, 1944

Written with crystal clarity and a flair for the telling anecdote, this book unfolds the multi-dimensional chess game that culminated in the liberation of Paris after four long years of Nazi occupation. Neiberg shows how diverse actorsleftist resistance fighters bent on liberating the city from within, Allied officials fearing just such a “red” takeover, a willful Charles de Gaulle determined to dominate the victory, anxious collaborationists, and German officersfueled a volatile crisis that changed from moment to moment in the city’s streets.

The Blood of Free Men

By Michael Neiberg,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Blood of Free Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the Allies struggled inland from Normandy in August of 1944, the fate of Paris hung in the balance. Other jewels of Europe,sites like Warsaw, Antwerp, and Monte Cassino,were, or would soon be, reduced to rubble during attempts to liberate them. But Paris endured, thanks to a fractious cast of characters, from Resistance cells to Free French operatives to an unlikely assortment of diplomats, Allied generals, and governmental officials. Their efforts, and those of the German forces fighting to maintain control of the city, would shape the course of the battle for Europe and colour popular memory of the conflict…


The Fall of Paris

By Herbert R. Lottman,

Book cover of The Fall of Paris: June 1940

The fall of France is essential historical context for the refugee crisis, and this book is "history with a flair." Focused on Paris—through which millions of refugees were routed and from which two million embarked—Lottman weaves micro-histories (think Eduardo Galeano), culled from an encyclopedic range of accounts, into a panoramic, propulsive day-by-day narrative that prominently features the refugee crisis. A compelling read.

The Fall of Paris

By Herbert R. Lottman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fall of Paris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A dramatic chronicle of the fall of one of the world's great cities covers the five weeks leading up to the German capture of Paris in 1940


No Place to Lay One's Head

By Francoise Frenkel,

Book cover of No Place to Lay One's Head

This incredible memoir reads like a thriller. Polish-born Francoise ran a Berlin bookshop until she was forced to flee from Nazi persecution, first to Paris, then to Southern France. The term ‘unputdownable’ is a terrible cliché, but was literally the case for me with this breathtaking story of escape and survival. Clear your diary before you open the covers of this compelling book.

No Place to Lay One's Head

By Francoise Frenkel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Place to Lay One's Head as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1921, Francoise Frenkel - a Jewish woman from Poland - opens her first bookshop in Berlin. It is a dream come true. The dream lasts nearly two decades. Then suddenly, it ends.

It ends after police confiscations and the Night of Broken Glass, as Jewish shops and businesses are smashed to pieces. It ends when no one protests. So Francoise flees to France, just weeks before war breaks out.

In Paris, on the wireless and in the newspapers, horror has made itself at home. When the city is bombed, Francoise seeks refuge in Avignon, then Nice. She fears she…


Silence of the Sea / Le Silence de la Mer

By James W. Brown (editor), Lawrence D. Stokes (editor), Cyril Connelly (translator)

Book cover of Silence of the Sea / Le Silence de la Mer

An iconic Resistance novel today, The Silence of the Sea was written at a time when the French Resistance was yet to be invented, and was published clandestinely in 1942. The first work of fiction ever written about the Resistance, and one of the most beautiful, without a doubt. The story of a forbidden love between a German officer and a French woman who was forced to house him, Vercors’ story was meant to entice his fellow citizens to refuse a situation deemed unacceptable. There is no sabotage, explosions, or as traditionally understood acts of heroism, only an invitation to save whatever could be saved. A story of honor and dignity, universal and timeless. 

Silence of the Sea / Le Silence de la Mer

By James W. Brown (editor), Lawrence D. Stokes (editor), Cyril Connelly (translator)

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Silence of the Sea / Le Silence de la Mer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This first bilingual edition of France's most enduring wartime novel introduces Vercors's famous tale to a generation without personal experience of World War II who may not be able to read it in its original language. Now available in paperback, readers are assisted with a historical and literary introduction, explanatory notes, a glossary of French terms and a select bibliography.


Fleeing Hitler

By Hanna Diamond,

Book cover of Fleeing Hitler: France 1940

The first book to read on this subject. An accessible, expert synthesis of refugee experiences based on many accounts, including interviews, but focused on eight that contain extensive, significant detail (all by Paris residents, Léon Werth among them). Diamond concludes that Philippe Pétain leveraged refugees' suffering to propagandize for military capitulation and the legitimacy of his regime.

Fleeing Hitler

By Hanna Diamond,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fleeing Hitler as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Wednesday 12th June 1940. The Times reported 'thousands upon thousands of Parisians leaving the capital by every possible means, preferring to abandon home and property rather than risk even temporary Nazi domination'.

As Hitler's victorious armies approached Paris, the French government abandoned the city and its people, leaving behind them an atmosphere of panic. Roads heading south filled with ordinary people fleeing for their lives with whatever personal possessions they could carry, often with no particular destination in mind. During the long, hard journey, this mass exodus of predominantly women, children, and the elderly, would face constant bombings, machine gun…


Mistress of the Ritz

By Melanie Benjamin,

Book cover of Mistress of the Ritz

Manager of the Paris Ritz is a prestigious position, and the American wife of the Frenchman who is the manager leads a charmed life there – until the Nazi invasion of Paris. Once the Gestapo sets up their headquarters at the Ritz, the couple must negotiate their new, uncomfortable circumstances. As the war escalates, the danger to the American woman increases, especially since she has become involved with the Resistance. When the war is over, the American woman, Paris, and Parisians are not the same. Based on real people, this historical novel presents a heartbreaking picture of the aftermath of the Holocaust in Paris and the devastated lives left to deal with their devastated city.

Mistress of the Ritz

By Melanie Benjamin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mistress of the Ritz as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A captivating novel based on the story of the extraordinary real-life American woman who secretly worked for the French Resistance during World War II—while playing hostess to the invading Germans at the iconic Hôtel Ritz in Paris—from the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator's Wife and The Swans of Fifth Avenue.

“A compelling portrait of a marriage and a nation at war from within.”—Kate Quinn, author of The Alice Network

Nothing bad can happen at the Ritz; inside its gilded walls every woman looks beautiful, every man appears witty. Favored guests like Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Coco…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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