The Blood of Free Men: The Liberation of Paris, 1944
Dallas Morning News [A] compelling, well-researched narrative . The story of how Paris ultimately was saved is complex and inspiring and richly told by Neiberg.” Philadelphia Inquirer [A] … see full wiki
Most comprehensive books about World War II discuss the liberation of Paris, but not in depth since these books must run the gamut of the war from beginning to end. This book studies the days leading up to the liberation, and those days after quite comprehensively.
The story of the liberation is really the story of the Resistance, composed as it was of competing ideologies that, somehow, managed to band together against an enemy they detested more than they disliked their fellow countrymen who had different political views. It's also the story of the stubbornness and political savvy of Charles De Gaulle, who, almost singlehandedly forced the Allied military leaders to change their plans about bypassing Paris in favor of an expedition to liberate it. That wasn't a small thing, for the citizens of that city were on the verge of starvation and kept waiting for a relief that never seemed about to come.
There are a lot of names here, but they aren't really confusing, so the story line is easy to follow. Credit for the survival intact of the city must also be given to the German commander, who realized that the war was being lost by his country, and didn't want to be the person to destroy one of the most beautiful and beloved cities in the world.
The liberation was a "close run thing" as the Duke of Wellington used to say, but in the end the Allies prevailed, and the Free French forces under De Gaulle received the credit for freeing their capital city. It's a good book and well worth reading.
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