Is Paris Burning?

ISBN-10: 0785812466
ISBN-13: 9780785812463
Review Date:

I have always heard about this title and picked my copy up from a little bookstore in Maine last New Year's Day ('05-06). This book is only about the last few weeks of occupation of the city of Paris, France in '44. It starts off with the German General Dietrich von Choltitz being given command of Paris and his meeting with Adolf Hitler and what Hitler wanted him to do there. The chapters basically cover the beginning of the struggle, the actual battle, the liberation but these are not the actual chapter titles. There are dates with some chapters so that you can follow the days.

There are some very interesting people that are introduced through out the book and then there ultimate fate of either being killed in action or surviving the battle. The people introduced range fFrom the Communist Resistance leader to OSS agents, from collaborators to German soldiers of all ranks. The book goes into actual details that are fairly easy to follow along, thus even the casual reader will not become lost. The map of Paris in the beginning of the book helps, too.

I found it interesting and informative that you are able to see how Hitler was obsessed with the destruction of Paris yet how certain factors played against him, ie. Walther Model holding back two SS divisions from Choltitz until they were released to him in the "11th hour". As the Allies neared the city, the books takes you on a hour by hour struggle by means of messages being passed from the resistance all the way up to General Charles de Gaulle.

Speaking of de Gaulle, the book also dives into his arrogance, and his postwar political power play that brought him into the ultimate leadership position in Paris.

The book also covers some of the murders that both the FFI and Germans did to unarmed persons who had surrendered or were not in the battles. I was not aware of all the executions the French did to their German prisoners after the liberation.

There are some small details that you will find incorrect, such as the comment of Hitler's bunker in Poland being guarded by SS Div Gross Deutchland.

I HIGHLY recommend this book for all level of readers, especially considering that Is Paris Burning can be found at a fair price.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Donna R says:
5 Dec 2010 04:13:54 PM

My Grandfather, Lawrence Kelly, was written about in several places as he passed through St. Cloud on his way to Paris. He was seriously wounded by a French Freedom Fighter who mistook him for one of the advancing German troups. He was in advance of Patton's army. The bridge from St. Cloud to Paris is dedicated to him and the inscription on the posts bears his story in French on one side and in English on the other side. We used the book, IS PARIS BURNING to retrace his steps to Rue Daly where he was taken by French citizens to treat his wounds prior to being sent to an American army position for further treatment. The book is beautifully written and as far as we can determine true to facts verified by the French and American governments.
2. Andy L says:
7 Dec 2010 04:15:14 PM

As with many books/reports on the Liberation of Paris the Spanish Republicans of the 9th company (La Nueve)2nd Chad Regiment commanded by Capt Dronne were the first unit of France's 2 Armoured Regt to arrive in the city. They were specifically chosen by LeClerc. It is said that de Gaulle wanted the world to know that French troops hadliberated the city and any mention of the Spaniards was forbidden.

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