The Liberation of Paris: How Eisenhower, de Gaulle, and von Choltitz Saved the City of Light

Jean Edward Smith. Simon & Schuster, $27 (256p) ISBN 978-1-5011-6492-7
Historian and biographer Smith (Eisenhower in War and Peace) dishes up an outstanding concise history of one of the most dramatic moments of WWII: the liberation of the City of Light in August 1944. Drawing on extensive primary source research, Smith examines the liberation process and the events that led up to it through the eyes of the three leaders whose decisions minimized violence and destruction: the German general Dietrich von Choltitz, American general Dwight Eisenhower, and French general Charles De Gaulle. Smith recounts how von Choltitz turned from enthusiastically supporting Hitler to determined to disobey Hitler’s order to turn Paris into rubble, despite the threat to punish his wife and family. And he gives a fresh take on the relationship between Eisenhower and De Gaulle, attributing much of the liberation’s success to Eisenhower’s understanding of French language, culture, history, and domestic politics, which he acquired while serving on the Battle Monuments Commission in France in the 1920s. This, Smith maintains, enabled Eisenhower to work well with De Gaulle and understand the unique complexities of French domestic politics, which greatly influenced the way the liberation was conducted. Smith is an outstanding historian and tells a dramatic story well. This is a solid contribution to the history of WWII that both the general reader and the expert will find enjoyable and informative. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/30/2019
Release date: 07/01/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-5082-9421-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-5082-9423-8
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-5011-6493-4
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