Postwar Paris is a mythical place, dear to the hearts of a whole generation of Americans. Art Buchwald’s recent memoir, I’ll Always Have Paris, blends the familiar ingredients once again: Sartre and de Beauvoir at the Deux Magots, The Paris Review, Alice B. Toklas, Harry’s New York Bar (located at 5 rue Daunou, pronounced by American visitors “Sank Roo Doe Noo”), A. J. Liebling and Janet Flanner, Irwin Shaw, James Jones, Romain Gary. It was Hemingway’s moveable feast, extended well into the 1950s. Thanks to the G.I. Bill, brilliant young Americans could shake the dust of Brooklyn or the Midwest off their feet while taking in the pleasures of Paris. These pleasures were their due as members of the conquering army—as winners.

There was another postwar Paris, of course, one that has not been romanticized and that most people have been eager to forget: that of the...

 
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