Atlas 6 | Editorial  
Stanley Karnow: Paris in the Fifties
Text by Stanley Karnow
Illustrations by Annette Karnow


My latest book, Paris in the Fifties (Times Books, 1997), is a partly a memoir and mainly a collection of the pieces I wrote during that decade as a reporter for Time magazine. The material dates back a generation, yet it remains, as the Washington Post commented "current, rich and, strangely enough, appropriate for today."

Thousands of young Americans were flocking to Europe after World War II, and I joined the throng. Early in July 1947, fresh out of college, I sailed for Paris aboard a ramshackle freighter, planning to stay for the summer. I stayed for ten years.

Pourquoi Paris? Its name alone was magic. The city, the legendary Ville Lumiere, promised something for everyone -- beauty, sophistication, culture, cuisine, sex and that indefinable called ambience. "When good Americans die they go to Paris," ran Oscar Wilde's often-quoted quip. That was certainly not my purpose in going there but, then, what was it? Perhaps, simply, Paris.

c o n t i n u e d   . . .