Is Paris Burning?
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Is Paris Burning?

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  1,607 ratings  ·  110 reviews
Dominique LaPierre Hitler's death sentence to the city of Paris in 1944 nearly happened. An extraordinary series of events, fastidiously researched here, saved the city from what Hitler wanted to leave to the Allies "nothing but a field of ruins."
Hardcover, 385 pages
Published March 1st 2000 by Booksales (first published 1964)
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Is Paris Burning? should probably get only 2 Stars because this was not a serious fight in the big scheme of maneuver. The Jewish Uprising in Warsaw in 1943 and the Polish fight in Warsaw a year later were more serious fights with consequences and lasted far longer. The Paris uprising sputtered for a few days before the French 2nd Armored Division and the US 4th Infantry Division made their entry into the city. But Mr Collins and Mr Lapierre get 4.5 Baccarat crystal Stars for packing this accoun...more
Apr 12, 2008 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Gene Bennion
Shelves: war, history
Summer of 1944. Every bridge, historical landmark, and civic building in Nazi-occupied Paris was wired with explosives. Hitler’s plan was to reduce the city to rubble if Allied troops got too close. He didn’t know that the Allies were planning to bypass Paris, and of course the resistance fighters didn’t know Paris was rigged to blow up. Their hope was to bring things to a head once the Allied forces were near enough to help, unaware of the consequences. Throw into the mix the unlikely hero of t...more
Collins & Lapierre were successful writers of popular history in the mid 20th century. Their method was mainly to interview ordinary participants in the events, and write vivid accounts bringing the memories to life. In IS PARIS BURNING? the memories of Paris's last year under the Nazis were less than 20 years old.

From the attempts of downtrodden Parisians to find food, to German officers who were later willing to reminisce with the authors, to the ruthless maneuvering between the forces of...more
Is Paris Burning? is a collection of anecdotes from various people involved in the liberation of Paris-Free French regulars, French resistance, GIs, reporters, German officers and soldiers, and civilians. I enjoyed the first hand accounts, but since this book was written in the 60s one has to wonder how much spin people were giving them. It's probably best read either by someone like me, with only a passing familiarity with what happened, or patient historically minded types who are willing to o...more
Erik Graff
Aug 02, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Collins/Lapierre fans
Recommended to Erik by: Einar Graff
Shelves: history
I saw the movie version of this book years before getting around to reading it. Like all of the Collins-Lapierre collaborations, it's an engrossing, fast-going read. The movie wasn't so great, but the memory of seeing it, first-run, with Father at the Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge, Illinois is a pleasant one. Apparently Mom wasn't too interested in movies, but I, like the dog, was always willing to go out and, so, saw many dozens of films with him through the years.

The most memorable scene of t...more
Maryann Macdonald
If Hitler couldn't have Paris, he didn't want anyone else to have it either. So he instructed his commander, General Cholnitz, to destroy the city in the event of impending liberation by the Allies. The hero of this book is this German commander, who decided to wait it out, day-by-day, to see whether the Allies or the SS would get there first.

The race, as it is seen from all sides, is full of incident and drama. Collins and LaPierre researched this book intensively and crammed every bit of exci...more
Ricardo Perez
¿Quieren saber qué pasó en París en agosto de 1944? La gran responsabilidad de detallar cada paso de la liberación de París recae en esta magnífica novela. Cada plaza, cada grupo de la resistencia, cada foto, anécdotas impresionantes, parióticas, desgarradoras, se encuentran en este libro. Al terminar de leerlo, descubrirás que ya conoces esta hermosa ciudad y agradeces que no haya sido destruida. ¡Vive la France!Oh La la París!! Después la hicieron película, en una muy buena pero lamentablement...more
This is such a fabulous book. It puts such a human face on WW2. Eisenhour is running out of "petrol" and has to decide whether to by-pass Paris so he can get to Germany faster, and Hitler has told one of his general to torch Paris. The German general decides to send a fellow thru the German lines to Eisenhour and explain to him what is happening, and the guy has a heart attack. Really a great book. It is old.The general said I keep getting messages from Hitler--"Is Paris Burning?"
Is Paris Burning? is one of the better histories of the liberation of France. It reads well and not in the stilted way many historians follow.
Collins and Dominique LaPierre have put together a history that follows some of the participants on both sides and that makes it more personal and interesting. It gives the human side of the war and does not depend on troop movements and numbers to tell the story.

Adolph Hitler had ordered Paris leveled and its bridges bombed. He continually asked "Is Pa...more
This book was recommended with an American I met in Paris. It provides a fascinating look at the Vichy occupation. While obviously our forebears here in the USA suffered during WWII, it is something else entirely to read about what was happening overseas, in the actual theaters of war.
A dramatic account of the days leading up to the Liberation of Paris, August 25th, 1944. This is a highly readable telling of the many events and many actors who played pivotal roles, as well as less well known parts in that fateful event. The author distills several years of research into a story that makes one realize how close the world came to seeing a beautiful city reduced to rubble. The use of recollections and service records from soldiers, French Resistance leaders, General (later U.S....more
A history fictionalized so that it reads like a gripping exciting novel. I read this many years ago, not long after it first came out and have never forgotten it.
David Bales
Exhaustively researched 1965 book by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre, who also wrote "Freedom at Midnight" about the end of British rule in India; this book is titled after the query that Hitler exasperatedly asked his chief of staff in August, 1944, demanding that Paris be "defended to the last man and then destroyed down to the foundations." The end of German occupation is the subject of this book, specifically August, 1944, as the allies close in on Paris and the French Resistance stirs...more
As the Allies closed in from the East and the West in August 1944, Adolf Hitler's top priority was to hold on to Paris at all costs. And if he had to lose Paris, he was determined to destroy it.
How that DIDN'T happen is the subject of Larry Collins' and Dominique LaPierre's 1965 book "Is Paris Burning," the third remarkable book I've read by this pair within the past few months.
The central figure is the German Gen. Dietrich von Choltitz, commander in Paris for the final 18 days that Germany held...more
Apr 13, 2008 Mark rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history buffs, travelers
I picked this book on recommendations from (the best online community for travelers). Candy & I went to Paris in March and I wanted to read something that was set there, had lots of references to places we'd see, and was fun to read. After giving up on a mystery novel set in Paris (bleh), I went with this nonfiction account of the liberation of the city in WW2.

The real-life story is amazing, starting with the actions of the French resistance in the days leading up the liberat...more
hugely readable, slightly overwrought history of the weeks leading up to and the eve-day of-day after of the liberation of Paris, compiled into a minute by minute narrative through indexing of interviews. It's cheesy in spots but ably highlights the moments of incomparable drama. dudes getting killed a few minutes before they would have reunited with family, the supreme joy of liberation day/night, heroism, faint but significant noble surrender on part of some germans. Really amazing moment when...more
Obejít Paříž a dorazit do Berlína do Vánoc či osvobodit Paříž a protáhnout válku na západní frontě? Jako impresionistická malba. Z malých a na první pohled nesouvisejících bodů je vytvářen jeden konzistentní reportážní celek a to sice osvobození Paříže skrze osudy desítek a desítek lidí ze všech stran politického, válečného i lidského spektra; od tragických osudů (poslední vlak s politickými vězni) přes ty o hrdinství, kolaboranství, snaze o přežití i dojemné a až po ty úsměvné (zvlášť „Kterak s...more
Feb 10, 2009 MJ rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: france
Is Paris Burning recounts the days and stories leading to the liberation of Paris, and is not only breathtakingly exciting but tearfully tender. There are two books in my recent reading history that have plucked obscure stories and names from the past to redefine my concept of the word hero.

In A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide Samantha Power introduced me to Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jew who escaped to America in 1941 and who spent the rest of his life in an attempt to coin th...more
Well researched and well balanced story of the liberation of Paris. The authors managed to interview Generals and Privates... Spies and Civilians... Germans, French (Communist and Gaullist) and Americans to bring to light this intriguing and amazing event.

If you ever wondered why Paris didn't end up like Stalingrad, the story is here.
Prem Rao
Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre brought about a new style of writing as far as I am concerned with "Is Paris Burning?" (1966). Set in the Second World War the book is about the German occupation of a large part of France including Paris the capital. It tells the story of the French Resistance and how ordinary people showed extra-ordinary courage.

Collins and Lapierre, as far as I know, pioneered an investigative style of writing novels where there was great focus on detail and meticulous re...more
A fascinating fictionalised history: a collection of accounts of the liberation of Paris from the Nazis in 1944. Collins and Lapierre manage to string together a range of different narrative tools, using a kind of fictionalised interior position in conjunction with documented history of the time. There are certain moments of privlege, and certain moments of exclusion, but a gripping and often touching read is the end result. You get the 'high end' of the story, with de Gaulle and Patton etc, but...more
Yet another riveting foray into nonfiction. Prior to reading this book, I did not know much about the liberation of Paris during WWII. I was fascinated to learn how desperate Hitler was to have the city destroyed before the Allies could take control of it. And, had it not been for the refusal of Dietrich von Cholitz, the general in charge of Paris, to become a scapegoat of history, he would have had his wish. The Nazis had mined all the bridges in Paris and all of the famous landmarks (The Eiffe...more
It's not an incredible page-turner, but I did really enjoy this book. It's different from other books set during WWII that I've read in that it provides a snapshot of all the many details and people that somehow impacted the ultimate fate of Paris during the war - and really focuses on what happened in that one area during a very short period of time... The stories of many (real) people are told throughout - the amount of meticulous research that had to go into this book is astounding! It also p...more
Craig Barner
Humanity is fortunate to have Paris. The Nazis wired key structures--every bridge crossing the Seine, Notre Dame Cathedral, the reservoirs serving the city, every major manufacturing facility--with explosives and planned to leave the city in rubble as the Allies closed in on the city from the west. The book's title comes from none other than Hitler, who screamed the question in a rage. Why the Nazis did not act on their real threat makes a compelling story. (I do not want to spoil the story.) I...more
Great historical read about all the players involved in liberating Paris. Fun read while living in Paris.
This book should be one volume of a much longer work. I've often wondered what happened to the expatriate artistic/scientific community in France during the Occupation. This isn't a complete exposition, but does cover some people.

One thing that doesn't get a lot of attention is the courage of people like Choltitz and Speer in resisting Hitler's immolatory madness at the end. After the failure of the Generals' plot in July 1944, it was often fatal to argue with Hitler--yet several people managed...more
Elaine Griffith
Learned something about this event, but too many names and French phrases not explained
Nov 14, 2009 Don rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: history
Very interesting look at the very short period of time between the invasion of France by the Allies and the liberation of Paris. The initial plan was to bypass the city to end the war more quickly. Bold work by DeGaulle and resistance inside the city (both communists and Gaullists) altered that plan.

The book is a compilation of hundreds of stories chronologically put together to tell the big story and many of the small stories of triumph and heartbreak that make life so real. Great insight into...more
I have been trying to read this book for at least fifteen years (by recommendation of my dad) and each time I got stuck. This time, I pushed though, and I'm really glad I did. This is a history book masquerading as a novel. The story of Paris' liberation at the end of WWII is filled with sweet moments of humanity, bloodshed and the futility of war when the losing side's soliders know the ultimate outcome but their leader is still holding on to his dream of victory. Looking forward to reading som...more
Dennis Willingham
Great history of the occupation of Paris and its liberation. A good read if you're at all interested in the subject even if you're not a WWII history buff. First time I've reread it since Jr. High, was much more sympathetic to de Gaul's attitude toward the Allis considering his problems consolidating govermental power before the Communists gained a foothold. Wish I had read it before my last trip to Paris, it would be interesting to tour the spots highlighted in the book.
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Born in West Hartford, Connecticut, he was educated at the Loomis Chaffee Institute in Windsor, Connecticut, and graduated from Yale as a BA in 1951. He worked in the advertising department of Procter and Gamble, in Cincinnati, Ohio, before being conscripted into the US Army. While serving in the public affairs office of the Allied Headquarters in Paris, from 1953-1955, he met Dominique Lapierre w...more
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“la ration de viande était si réduite que les chansonniers prétendaient qu’on pouvait l envelopper dans un ticket de métro - à condition que le ticket n’eut pas été poinçonné, sinon, la viande risquait de tomber par le trou. (…) Certaines étoffes étaient en fibre de bois. (…) quelques cinémas restaient ouverts grâce aux générateurs électriques qu’actionnaient de vaillants pédaleurs. (1re partie, ch. 2)” 1 likes
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