The Fall of Paris: June 1940

Herbert R. Lottman, Author HarperCollins Publishers $30 (430p) ISBN 978-0-06-016520-8
The biographer of Flaubert, Colette, Petain and Camus here delivers an engrossing narrative account of one of the most traumatizing events of WW II. With a sharp eye for irony and incongruity, Lottman depicts the darkening of the City of Light during a notably lovely springtime as the German army approached and as rumors ran rampant--for instance, that German agents disguised as beggars, blind men, nuns and wounded French soldiers had infiltrated the city. The chronicle is rich in emotion and incident, with Lottman, Publishers Weekly 's European correspondent, relating the somber story largely as experienced by men and women who were there: then-colonel Charles de Gaulle, who commanded one of the few French units that stood and fought; high-school teacher Simone de Beauvoir, fretting over the fate of her soldier-lover Jean-Paul Sartre, on the Maginot Line; U.S. ambassador William Bullitt, rambunctious and self-dramatizing but also very courageous; and many other individuals, French and foreign, as they reacted to the national and personal crisis. Illustrated. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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