Taking Paris: The Epic Battle for the City of Lights

Dutton. Sept. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9780593183083. $30. HIST
This book maintains that the World War II occupation and eventual liberation of Paris are important to an understanding of modern European history, having killed, wounded, or displaced millions of people and made or unmade many military and political careers. Dugard (“The Killing” series coauthored with Bill O’Reilly; The Last Voyage of Columbus) delivers a stirring account of the period between the German capture of Paris in May 1940 and the day Allied forces marched into the City of Light in August 1944. Based entirely on secondary sources and written in the present tense, in short chapters with a reportorial style, Dugard’s book retells the familiar history with notable skill; he recounts critical battles in France and North Africa and studies the significant individuals involved, including Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, Charles de Gaulle, and Dwight Eisenhower. Readers won’t find new insights in these pages, but the story of World War II Paris remains no less compelling in Dugard’s fast-paced overview.
VERDICT Recommended for self-described history nerds and other general readers interested in World War II or French history.
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