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THE LIBERATION OF PARIS

HOW EISENHOWER, DE GAULLE, AND VON CHOLTITZ SAVED THE CITY OF LIGHT

A succinctly instructive historical narrative by a top-notch historian and author.

A tightly focused study of the political reasons that the Allies hesitated to liberate Paris when they could.

Eminent historian Smith (Bush, 2016, etc.) has such a breadth of knowledge of this era in history that he is able to offer a distillation of swift-moving events surrounding the 1944 liberation of Paris in a marvelously readable fashion. Right from the beginning, the author smoothly sets the stage: While at first the occupation of Paris had seemed “a celebration of German victory” and a carnival for Germans on leave, as the military tide turned and brought food shortages and the Allied advance, the “collaborationists were beginning to look for cover.” At the same time, the Communists and Resistance fighters in the city grew bolder. Charles de Gaulle, an unknown officer at the beginning of the war, self-exiled to London and spent years in the “wilderness” decrying Nazi occupation and bolstering French resistance only to be sidelined by President Franklin Roosevelt, who “believed the future of France lay with [Marshal] Pétain and Vichy.” Smith underscores how Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, now supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe, acted as a masterful go-between for these two defiant forces. As the Allies advanced into France in June 1944, de Gaulle was anxious to be at the head of French forces entering Paris. He was perplexed that Eisenhower, who regarded the liberation of Paris as a distraction that would cause his troops to get bogged down in street-by-street fighting, had planned to bypass the city. Ultimately, de Gaulle convinced him that if liberation were delayed, the Communists would seize power in the vacuum. The author also insightfully explores the work of Gen. Dietrich von Choltitz, who was instructed by Hitler to reduce the city to ashes upon retreat yet craftily played both sides to save the day.

A succinctly instructive historical narrative by a top-notch historian and author.

Pub Date: July 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6492-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
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Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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