Military history

Paris at the End of the World: The City of Light During the Great War, 1914-1918

Paris at the End of the World: The City of Light During the Great War, 1914-1918

A preeminent writer on Paris, John Baxter brilliantly brings to life one of the most dramatic and fascinating periods in the city’s history.

From 1914 through 1918 the terrifying sounds of World War I could be heard from inside the French capital. For four years, Paris lived under constant threat of destruction. And yet in its darkest hour, the City of Light blazed more brightly than ever. It’s taxis shuttled troops to the front; its great railway stations received reinforcements from across the world; the grandest museums and cathedrals housed the wounded, and the Eiffel Tower hummed at all hours relaying messages to and from the front.

At night, Parisians lived with urgency and without inhibition. Artists like Pablo Picasso achieved new creative heights. And the war brought a wave of foreigners to the city for the first time, including Ernest Hemingway and Baxter’s own grandfather, Archie, whose diaries he used to reconstruct a soldier’s-eye view of the war years. A revelatory achievement, Paris at the End of the World shows how this extraordinary period was essential in forging the spirit of the city beloved today. 


Chapter 1. Two Men in Silk Pajamas

Chapter 2. An Ice Cream War

Chapter 3. Poetry and Pity

Chapter 4. Jean

Chapter 5. Chocolate Soldiers

Chapter 6. Taxi!

Chapter 7. The Taste of Transitoriness

Chapter 8. Has Anybody Seen Archie?

Chapter 9. The Photograph

Chapter 10. Strangers in Paradise

Chapter 11. Meeting at Plane Corner

Chapter 12. Master of War

Chapter 13. Why a War?

Chapter 14. Archie Agonistes

Chapter 15. The Call to Arms

Chapter 16. They Knew

Chapter 17. But We Think You Ought to Go

Chapter 18. The War to End Wars Inc.

Chapter 19. G’day, Digger!

Chapter 20. Die Fräulein

Chapter 21. The Scholar

Chapter 22. On the Secret Shelf

Chapter 23. Archie Under Arms

Chapter 24. Dressed to Kill

Chapter 25. Misery Hill

Chapter 26. Bedside Manner

Chapter 27. The Way to Kiss a Mary

Chapter 28. The Cure for Cockroach

Chapter 29. Blighty

Chapter 30. Dancing Between the Flames

Chapter 31. I Love a Parade!

Chapter 32. Every Night Something Awful

Chapter 33. The Sammies

Chapter 34. Things That Go Bump in the Night

Chapter 35. The Beds in the West

Chapter 36. Machines

Chapter 37. The Zouave’s Trousers

Chapter 38. The Stars and Stripes Forever

Chapter 39. The City of Darkness