Press Release–Golden Ghetto: How the Americans & French Fell In & Out of Love During the Cold WarPosted: October 13, 2013
News from Red Hen Press P.O. Box 40820 Pasadena, CA 91114 (626) 356-4760 fax: (626) 356-9974 redhen.org
Golden Ghetto: How the Americans & French Fell In &Out of Love During the Cold War is an intimate, improbable story of fear and skeptic is giving way to trust and friendship at a huge U.S. Air Force base in central France that, for two generations,transformed the political, economic, and social life of an occupied territory. by Steve Bassett
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Golden Ghetto: How the Americans & French Fell In & Out of Love During the Cold War
by Steve Bassett
Considering the suspicions, jealousies, bigotry, and crass opportunism inherent whenever one foreign power occupies another, Golden Ghetto: How the Americans & French Fell In &Out of Love During the Cold War pieces together an improbable tale of how fear and skepticism were crushed by trust and friendship. Award-winning journalist Steve Bassett stumbled onto this story shortly after he and his wife purchased a home in Sainte Colombe in Central France. They heard countless, somewhat mystical tales about how a huge U.S. Air Force base transformed the political,economic, and social lives of two French and American generations lucky enough to grab on to the base’s brass ring. If ever a U.S. military base deserved the sobriquet “Golden Ghetto,” it was the Châteauroux-Déols Air Station (CHAS), which for sixteen years during the height of the Cold War was considered one of the most desirable postings in the world, until Charles de Gaulle booted the Americans and other NATO military out of France and the Golden Ghetto was padlocked.
Based on hundreds of hours of research and interviews, Golden Ghetto is a collective memoir, a first-ever look at life on an overseas base from the perspectives of both the occupied and occupier. Professional and amateur historians as well as casual readers will be enthralled by this bird’s eye view of how early Communist-driven distrust and paranoia never stood a chance against handshakes, smiles, and kisses.
Praise for Golden Ghetto
“As the only American who has tackled the task, Steve Bassett, in his book, Golden Ghetto has provided a one-of-a-kind insight into the sixteen-year life of an extraordinary air station closed by Charles de Gaulle’s imperial edict. I found it fascinating reading and an accurate portrayal of a military life that will probably never be seen again.” —Air Force Major General John Riddle (Ret.)
“The book is one of a kind. There have been many books written by French authors about the Americans in France during the Cold War, but never one by an American writer. I know the books that have been written and have read many of them myself. There has beennothing to match what this book offers, an American insight into how the French and the Americans came together, first because of Cold War demands and eventually because of the deep friendship that had developed.”—Mme. Lydie Gerbaud, former Press Secretary for Jacques Chirac
“I belonged to a communist family and I remember walking in the streets with petitions against the U.S. intrusion in France. People later realized that the Americans were manna from heaven who improved theirlives. They were happy because of them. There were lots of communists on the base who wouldn’t have budged. And it wasn’t a contradiction for them. They were happy that the Americans were there. The American presence was our spell of sunny weather in all respects. But I must say, I am surprised thatit is an American not a Frenchman that is giving an in depth account of this period.”—Leandre Boizeau, Communist publisher of La Bouinotte
“Excellent writing, excellent character development which brings the story to life. Strong theme that’s personally interesting to me, having seen several Japanese cities rise out of the ashes and turn into big industrial centers with this help of Uncle Sam. Golden Ghetto’s complex prism provides a rare snapshot of Cold War realities faced by more than 20 million men and women who served overseas. It more than deserves a place in the current celebrity driven publishing world.”—Pete Noyes, award-winning journalist and author of The Real L.A. Confidential
Steve Bassett is a retired, Emmy Award-winning journalist. He lives in Placitas, New Mexico.
Golden Ghetto: A Collective Memoir
by Steve Bassett
Size: 6 x 9; Pages: 324
Price: US $19.95
Price: US $26.95
Pub Date: September 1, 2013