Dreaming in French: the Paris years of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Susan Sontag, and Angela Davis - Kaplan, Alice Yaeger
Summary: Examines how spending time abroad in Paris changed the lives and outlooks of three notable American women. - (Baker & Taylor)
*Starred Review* Kaplan (The Interpreter, 2005) recounted her revelatory passion for all things French in French Lessons (1994). She now offers uniquely discerning portraits of three very different yet equally trailblazing American women whose "lives were transformed by a year in France, and who, in turn, transformed the United States." An elegant, socially well-connected book lover and "keen observer of beauty," Jackie Bouvier Kennedy was a Vassar student when she went to France in 1949 and found her true home. As Kaplan follows Kennedy to the White House and beyond, she praises her "quiet power and uncanny intelligence" while tracking her lifelong fascination with French art and culture. Leaving her husband and young son behind, Susan Sontag landed in France in 1958 and immersed herself in bohemian Paris and the French literary works that became the foundation for her influential, often controversial writing. Angela Davis' ardor for French propelled her out of segregated Birmingham, Alabama, to school in New York, then to Paris in 1963–64 as the only African American student in her year-abroad program. A woman of "intellectual intensity" and valor, she became a besieged activist and cause célèbre. Kaplan's avidly researched, fresh, and astute biographical triptych reveals as much about the evolution of women's lives as it does about how profoundly these three exceptional Francophiles deepened the American experience. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.