This story begins in the Paris of the 1930s, when artists and writers stood at the center of the world stage. In the decade that saw the rise of the Nazis, much of the thinking world sought guidance from this extraordinary group of intellectuals. Herbert Lottman's chronicle follows the influential players—Gide, Malraux, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Koestler, Camus, and their pro-Fascist counterparts—through the German occupation, Liberation, and into the Cold War, when the struggle between superpowers all but drowned out their voices.
"Surprisingly fresh and intense. . . . A retrospective travelogue of the Left Bank in the days when it was the setting for almost all French intellectual activity. . . . Absorbing."—Naomi Bliven, New Yorker
"As an introduction to a period in French history already legendary, The Left Bank is superb."—Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World
"An intellectual history. A history of the interaction between politics and letters. And a rumination on the limitless credulity of intellectuals."—Christopher Hitchens, New Statesman