Book reviews of When France Fell: The Vichy Crisis and the Fate of the Anglo-American Alliance by Michael S. Neiberg and Take Paris: The Epic Battle for the City of Lights by Martin Dugard
Between these two moments, the author takes us from Paris to Casablanca (in fact, where Roosevelt and Churchill attempt to broker a deal between “their” generals, Giraud and de Gaulle); from the beaches of Anzio to the closets of London; from Egypt’s Western Desert to Burbank, California (and the studio where “Casablanca” was made). There are many familiar figures – Roosevelt, Rommel, General George S. Patton, General Dwight Eisenhower – but there are also less famous ones. For example, one chapter introduces us to Jacques Bonsergent, the first Frenchman to be executed by the Germans in occupied Paris because he unfortunately came across a drunken German soldier. In another chapter, we meet General Marie-Pierre Koenig, commander of the Free French Army, who heroically held off Rommel’s army for 10 days at the Battle of Bir Hakeim in the Western Desert, preparing for the victory of El Alamein later British. Perhaps the most extraordinary character in the story is Virginia Hall, an American woman who spy for the British in occupied France, establishing an important network of resistance. Hall, who lost a leg in a hunting accident, has a protector she calls Cuthbert.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/the-chaos-of-frances-defeat-and-the-thrill-of-its-liberation/2021/11/17/e1bfc6f0-1fd5-11ec-8200-5e3fd4c49f5e_story.html Book reviews of When France Fell: The Vichy Crisis and the Fate of the Anglo-American Alliance by Michael S. Neiberg and Take Paris: The Epic Battle for the City of Lights by Martin Dugard