New Release Books by Alice Kaplan

Alice Kaplan is the author of French Lessons (2018), Looking for The Stranger (2016), The Collaborator (2014), Dreaming in French (2012) and other 55 books.

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French Lessons

release date: Apr 19, 2018
French Lessons
Brilliantly uniting the personal and the critical, French Lessons is a powerful autobiographical experiment. It tells the story of an American woman escaping into the French language and of a scholar and teacher coming to grips with her history of learning. Kaplan begins with a distinctly American quest for an imaginary France of the intelligence. But soon her infatuation with all things French comes up against the dark, unimagined recesses of French political and cultural life. The daughter of a Jewish lawyer who prosecuted Nazi war criminals at Nuremburg, Kaplan grew up in the 1960s in the Midwest. After her father''s death when she was seven, French became her way of "leaving home" and finding herself in another language and culture. In spare, midwestern prose, by turns intimate and wry, Kaplan describes how, as a student in a Swiss boarding school and later in a junior year abroad in Bordeaux, she passionately sought the French "r," attentively honed her accent, and learned the idioms of her French lover. When, as a graduate student, her passion for French culture turned to the elegance and sophistication of its intellectual life, she found herself drawn to the language and style of the novelist Louis-Ferdinand Celine. At the same time she was repulsed by his anti-Semitism. At Yale in the late 70s, during the heyday of deconstruction she chose to transgress its apolitical purity and work on a subject "that made history impossible to ignore:" French fascist intellectuals. Kaplan''s discussion of the "de Man affair" — the discovery that her brilliant and charismatic Yale professor had written compromising articles for the pro-Nazi Belgian press—and her personal account of the paradoxes of deconstruction are among the most compelling available on this subject. French Lessons belongs in the company of Sartre''s Words and the memoirs of Nathalie Sarraute, Annie Ernaux, and Eva Hoffman. No book so engrossingly conveys both the excitement of learning and the moral dilemmas of the intellectual life.

Looking for The Stranger

release date: Sep 16, 2016
Looking for The Stranger
"A National Book Award-finalist biographer tells the story of how a young man in his 20s who had never written a novel turned out a masterpiece that still grips readers more than 70 years later and is considered a rite of passage for readers around the world, "--NoveList.

The Collaborator

release date: Nov 20, 2014
The Collaborator
On February 6, 1945, Robert Brasillach was executed for treason by a French firing squad. He was a writer of some distinction—a prolific novelist and a keen literary critic. He was also a dedicated anti-Semite, an acerbic opponent of French democracy, and editor in chief of the fascist weekly Je Suis Partout, in whose pages he regularly printed wartime denunciations of Jews and resistance activists. Was Brasillach in fact guilty of treason? Was he condemned for his denunciations of the resistance, or singled out as a suspected homosexual? Was it right that he was executed when others, who were directly responsible for the murder of thousands, were set free? Kaplan''s meticulous reconstruction of Brasillach''s life and trial skirts none of these ethical subtleties: a detective story, a cautionary tale, and a meditation on the disturbing workings of justice and memory, The Collaborator will stand as the definitive account of Brasillach''s crime and punishment. A National Book Award Finalist A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist "A well-researched and vivid account."—John Weightman, New York Review of Books "A gripping reconstruction of [Brasillach''s] trial."—The New Yorker "Readers of this disturbing book will want to find moral touchstones of their own. They''re going to need them. This is one of the few works on Nazism that forces us to experience how complex the situation really was, and answers won''t come easily."—Daniel Blue, San Francisco Chronicle Book Review "The Collaborator is one of the best-written, most absorbing pieces of literary history in years."—David A. Bell, New York Times Book Review "Alice Kaplan''s clear-headed study of the case of Robert Brasillach in France has a good deal of current-day relevance. . . . Kaplan''s fine book . . . shows that the passage of time illuminates different understandings, and she leaves it to us to reflect on which understanding is better."—Richard Bernstein, The New York Times

Dreaming in French

Dreaming in French
Examines how spending time abroad in Paris changed the lives and outlooks of three notable American women.

The Interpreter

release date: Sep 12, 2005
The Interpreter
No story of World War II is more triumphant than the liberation of France, made famous in countless photos of Parisians waving American flags and kissing GIs, as columns of troops paraded down the Champs Élysées. Yet liberation is a messy, complex affair, in which cultural understanding can be as elusive as the search for justice by both the liberators and the liberated. Occupying powers import their own injustices, and often even magnify them, away from the prying eyes of home. One of the least-known stories of the American liberation of France, from 1944 to 1946, is also one of the ugliest and least understood chapters in the history of Jim Crow. The first man to grapple with this failure of justice was an eyewitness: the interpreter Louis Guilloux. Now, in The Interpreter, prize-winning author Alice Kaplan combines extraordinary research and brilliant writing to recover the story both as Guilloux first saw it, and as it still haunts us today. When the Americans helped to free Brittany in the summer of 1944, they were determined to treat the French differently than had the Nazi occupiers of the previous four years. Crimes committed against the locals were not to be tolerated. General Patton issued an order that any accused criminals would be tried by court-martial and that severe sentences, including the death penalty, would be imposed for the crime of rape. Mostly represented among service troops, African Americans made up a small fraction of the Army. Yet they were tried for the majority of capital cases, and they were found guilty with devastating frequency: 55 of 70 men executed by the Army in Europe were African American -- or 79 percent, in an Army that was only 8.5 percent black. Alice Kaplan''s towering achievement in The Interpreter is to recall this outrage through a single, very human story. Louis Guilloux was one of France''s most prominent novelists even before he was asked to act as an interpreter at a few courts-martial. Through his eyes, Kaplan narrates two mirror-image trials and introduces us to the men and women in the courtrooms. James Hendricks fired a shot through a door, after many drinks, and killed a man. George Whittington shot and killed a man in an open courtyard, after an argument and many drinks. Hendricks was black. Whittington was white. Both were court-martialed by the Army VIII Corps and tried in the same room, with some of the same officers participating. Yet the outcomes could not have been more different. Guilloux instinctively liked the Americans with whom he worked, but he could not get over seeing African Americans condemned to hang, Hendricks among them, while whites went free. He wrote about what he had observed in his diary, and years later in a novel. Other witnesses have survived to talk to Kaplan in person. In Kaplan''s hands, the two crimes and trials are searing events. The lawyers, judges, and accused are all sympathetic, their actions understandable. Yet despite their best intentions, heartbreak and injustice result. In an epilogue, Kaplan introduces us to the family of James Hendricks, who were never informed of his fate, and who still hope that his remains will be transferred back home. James Hendricks rests, with 95 other men, in a U.S. military cemetery in France, filled with anonymous graves.

Zoom! Zoom! Let's Soar to the Moon

release date: Jan 01, 2004
Zoom! Zoom! Let's Soar to the Moon
A lively, fun picture book about modes of transportation that every child loves: rocket; car; boat; train; and plane. With a cheerful message, adn rhythmic phrases, this book will be a favourite at bedtime and at all times.

Educational Games Extension Service (grades K-12): The role of the teachers

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