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Vive la France!

  • May 20, 2013
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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May 21, 2013
Sounds like great stuff! Apparently, Charles De Gaulle also had considerable military saavy.
About the reviewer
Frank J. Konopka ()
Ranked #93
I'm a small town general practice attorney in the hard coal region of Pennsylvania. Books are my passion, andI read as many of them asI can. Being the President of the local library board for over … more
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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] riveting account of a generally neglected subplot of the war…. [Neiberg] is especially adroit in charting the course of French politics in the mid-1940s.”

San Antonio Express-News
“Spellbinding.... Although a myriad of books have been written on World War II, Neiberg’s work is freshly delivered with a love and passion for a city and its people that brings to life not only the fear and pain the city experienced under Nazi rule, but also for the hope its liberation inspired in Parisians and free men everywhere.”

Roanoke Times
“The liberation of Paris was an important symbolic event during the end game in World War II. Author Michael Neiberg’s account of that liberation, The Blood of Free Men, explores the importance of Paris to the French and Americans, not the strategic value that other sites would have during World War II, but the emotional connection most Allied combatants felt toward the City of Light.”

“Historian Neiberg takes a new look at the liberation of Paris and how it narrowly escaped devastation…. [An] impressive cast of real-life characters populates this retelling of Paris’s deliverance, ranging from future world leaders Dwight Eisenhower and Charles de Gaulle to writers Albert Camus, ...
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"Vive la France!"
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