Is Paris Burning? by Larry Collins and Dominique LaPierre

parisA detailed account, in the mould of Cornelius Ryan’s great second world war trilogy, of the 1944 Paris insurrection. The story of its initiation and its relief is drawn from the personal reminisences of participants and witnesses, French, American and German.

This leads to a gripping and at times very moving book. Though the vastness of the cast occassionally makes it difficult to keep track of characters this never detracts from the coherence of the sprawling narrative.

The account is broadly pro-de Gaulle in its sympathies, but otherwise the authors keep to themselves their views of the wider controversies associated with the relief of Paris, such as the decision by the resistance to stage an insurrection in the first place and the relationships between the resistance in France and de Gaulle’s government in exile. The arguments of various participants are outlined and examples of the tensions are recounted but the authors don’t exercise much their own judgements rather letting many of the real people speak for themselves and the readers decide.(For more on these controversies see Mathew Cobb’s The Resistance)

An exemplary work of journalism rather than history, and none the worse for it.

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One thought on “Is Paris Burning? by Larry Collins and Dominique LaPierre

  1. Pingback: The Resistance: The French Fight Against the Nazis, by Matthew Cobb | aidanjmcquade

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