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The Blood of Free Men: The Liberation of Paris, 1944 Hardcover – October 2, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 34 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


Publishers Weekly, starred review
“[A] vivid account…. Neiberg skillfully describes six days of disorganized but bloody urban warfare between poorly armed Frenchmen and mostly unenthusiastic Germans until a French regiment, in defiance of Allied orders, entered the city. While hardly a great victory and followed by a nasty vengeance against collaborators, Paris's liberation produced ecstatic delight throughout the West, making it one of the few feel-good stories of the war, and Neiberg, with a close-up and evocative narrative, delivers a thoroughly satisfying history.” 

Dennis Showalter, author of Hitler's Panzers
“Michael Neiberg's talents as a scholar and storyteller brilliantly present the complex realities underlying the liberation of Paris in 1944, when the City of Light regained its freedom through the risks and sacrifices of its people.”

Kirkus Reviews
“Neiberg's taut narrative explains how the liberation played out.... An evenhanded, efficient account of one of World War II's signature moments.”

Jeremy Black, author of The Politics of World War Two
“With this fascinating book, Michael Neiberg, one of America's leading historians of World War One, turns to consider 1944. He brings a wealth of expertise as a scholar of French history, and offers a well-written and exciting treatment.”

Alan Riding, author of And The Show Went On: Cultural Life in Nazi-Occupied Paris
“Michael Neiberg's fast-paced and well researched account of the liberation of Paris has all the detail, tension, and contradictions of a ‘you-were-there' drama. And for a change, the French are heroes: not only the Parisians who joined the final insurrection, but above all Charles de Gaulle, that stubborn patriot whose opponents in the summer of 1944 included the Americans and Communists as well as the German occupiers.”

“Historian Neiberg takes a new look at the liberation of Paris and how it narrowly escaped devastation.... [An] impressive cast of real-life characters populates this retelling of Paris's deliverance, ranging from future world leaders Dwight Eisenhower and Charles de Gaulle to writers Albert Camus, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre to the brave rank and file of the French Resistance. And yet the most fascinating and controversial figure remains German Gen. Dietrich von Choltitz, the man who left Pairs unburnt.”

Journal of Military History
"Neiberg provides his readers an exciting story of a city and its people caught in the middle of a turbulent and transformative time. Throughout, he displays his skills as an accomplished historian. Mining a vast array of secondary literature and written in a lively style, he describes for both the historian and general reader the various social, military, and political dimensions of this dramatic moment.... A pleasant and informative experience."

Andrew Roberts, author of The Storm of War
“‘Paris will be transformed into a heap of rubble,' ordered Adolf Hitler in August 1944. The heroic story of how that crime against civilization was prevented is grippingly told in this diligently-researched and extremely well-written book. You can almost hear the bullets ricocheting across the boulevards.”

Dallas Morning News
“[A] compelling, well-researched narrative.... The story of how Paris ultimately was saved is complex and inspiring and richly told by Neiberg.”

Philadelphia Inquirer
“[A] riveting account of a generally neglected subplot of the war.... [Neiberg] is especially adroit in charting the course of French politics in the mid-1940s.”

San Antonio Express-News
“Spellbinding.... Although a myriad of books have been written on World War II, Neiberg's work is freshly delivered with a love and passion for a city and its people that brings to life not only the fear and pain the city experienced under Nazi rule, but also for the hope its liberation inspired in Parisians and free men everywhere.”

Roanoke Times
“The liberation of Paris was an important symbolic event during the end game in World War II. Author Michael Neiberg's account of that liberation, The Blood of Free Men, explores the importance of Paris to the French and Americans, not the strategic value that other sites would have during World War II, but the emotional connection most Allied combatants felt toward the City of Light.”

About the Author

Michael Neiberg is a professor of history and the Henry L. Stimson Chair of History and Security Studies in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College. The author of several award-winning books, Neiberg lives in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

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Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ 0465023991
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Basic Books; 1st edition (October 2, 2012)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 9780465023998
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0465023998
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 13 years and up
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ 8 and up
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.3 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.14 x 1.06 x 9.21 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.1 out of 5 stars 34 ratings

Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5
34 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on December 10, 2012
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Top reviews from other countries

martin simons
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 13, 2014
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb: highly recommended.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 25, 2016
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Mr. Raymond M. Hart
5.0 out of 5 stars Blood of Free Men
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 29, 2013
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