BOOKS: Taking Paris: Martin Dugard | Local news

There is no mention of the word “Killing” in the title, except for a short promo line, and Bill O’Reilly is reduced to an attribution for a blurb, but “Taking Paris: The Epic Battle for the City of Lights” sounds like one of the “Killing” books that Martin Dugard co-authored with O’Reilly.

“Killing” books refer to O’Reilly and Dugard’s bestsellers: “Killing Lincoln”, “Killing Kennedy”, “Killing Jesus”, “Killing Patton”, “Killing” etc., etc. etc. etc.

Considering some of the stretches in the later “Killing” books, Dugard could have the title of this book “Killing Paris.” Fortunately, he did not.

“Taking Paris” is a solid historical reading, fast-paced, history structured like a novel. It follows the fall of Paris to the Nazis during World War II to the liberation of Paris by the Allies in Europe.

But “Paris” contains characteristic features of the “Killing” books – the cliffhanger sentences at the end of chapters, a sense of clue, an easy-to-read dive into a historical era and its players.

Here, as the cover illustrates, readers meet Winston Churchill, Erwin Rommel, General George S. Patton, General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Charles de Gaulle. Several other key figures also tower up in this volume, but it is good to see a more well-rounded portrayal of de Gaulle.

In many stories dealing with the French resistance during World War II, de Gaulle is portrayed solely as an annoyance to Churchill, Eisenhower, Roosevelt, etc., but Dugard reveals de Gaulle’s spirit. Oui, he is still a pain to the Allies, but readers will have a better understanding of why the Allies not only stopped with him, but why he was crucial to French participation in the liberation of Paris and the nation.

Dugard writes a compelling and humane look at Paris’ tragedy, struggle and triumph during the war. O’Reilly’s name may be missing, but nothing is missing in “Paris.” If anything, it’s better than the “Killing” books.

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