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The Paris Game: Charles de Gaulle, the Liberation of Paris, and the Gamble that Won France [Kindle Edition]

Ray Argyle , Maurice Vaïsse

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Book Description

At a crucial moment in the Second World War, an obscure French general reaches a fateful personal decision: to fight on alone after his government’s flight from Paris and its capitulation to Nazi Germany.

Amid the ravages of a world war, three men — a general, a president, and a prime minister — are locked in a rivalry that threatens their partnership and puts the world’s most celebrated city at risk of destruction before it can be liberated. This is the setting of The Paris Game, a dramatic recounting of how an obscure French general under sentence of death by his government launches on the most enormous gamble of his life: to fight on alone after his country’s capitulation to Nazi Germany. In a game of intrigue and double-dealing, Charles de Gaulle must struggle to retain the loyalty of Winston Churchill against the unforgiving opposition of Franklin Roosevelt and the traitorous manoeuvring of a collaborationist Vichy France. How he succeeds in restoring the honour of France and securing its place as a world power is the stuff of raw history, both stirring and engrossing.

Product Description

About the Author

Ray Argyle is a journalist, the author of several books of biography and political history, and the recipient of a Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal for contributions to Canadian life. During his long association with France, he has spent many years tracking the political careers of Charles de Gaulle and his successors. He lives in Kingston, Ontario.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1948 KB
  • Print Length: 488 pages
  • Publisher: Dundurn (2 Aug. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #530,211 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not the conventional Anglo-Saxon view of 'ornery' de Gaulle 4 Aug. 2014
By Angus Cunningham - Published on
Superb scholarship! AND vivid history! I began reading this account of de Gaulle's career by accident, although what modern history buff can resist picking up a book with the inimitable photo it has on its cover? But after beginning I found myself enthralled by the book's

- evocation of de Gaule's awesomely heroic, principled, perceptive, humanitarian, and resourceful conduct in the first year of WWII
- stimulation of hitherto unlikely empathy in me, a British-schooled Colonel's son (alumnus of a private English boarding school and Cambridge), for the excruciatingly impossible dilemmas that France's pre-WWII leadership faced before the year following France's declaration of war in Nazi Germany was out
- illustration of some of the financial machinations that people found necessary to engage in to survive in the aftermath of a national military defeat
- awe at the ability of officer veterans worldwide to keep in touch and maintain one-tracked collective vision for the well-being of the country they serve while demonstrating tremendous courage and tactical ingenuity.

Ray Argyle describes many moments when de Gaulle acted to protect, at the cost of virtually all he had, the honour of Frenchmen caught in the titanic struggle between Nazi Germany and Anglo-Saxony. I particularly love his tale of a moment that takes place shortly after the British-American-Canadian landings in Normandy. De Gaulle is hoping -- by drawing on the credit he had won among people participating in La Resistance by his incredibly courageous and consistent behaviour in London after his objections to Vichy being established became impossible for him to maintain without setting up his "Free French" movement outside the country -- to defeat Roosevelt's plan to turn France into an allied protectorate after the expulsion of Nazi Germany from France. Here's Argyle's translation into English of the first speech de Gaulle makes, from a podium in La Place du Chateau de Bayeux, upon returning to French soil on June 7, 1944 (sorry, I don't have the original French):

"We are all moved to find ourselves together again in one of the first French towns to be liberated; but it is no moment to talk of emotion. What the country expects of you, here behind the front, is to continue the fight today as you have never ceased from fighting since the beginning of the war, and since June 1940. Our cry now, as always, is a war cry, because the path of war is also the road to liberty and honour. This is the voice of the Mother Country. I promise you that we shall continue to fight till sovereignty is re-established on every inch of our soil. No one shall prevent our doing that. We shall fight beside the Allies, with the Allies, as an ally. And the victory we shall win will be the victory of liberty and the victory of France."

Wow! I'm not sure we need any more violent wars. But we sure need lots more people to stand up for humanitarian principles with the dedication to minimizing loss of life and misery that Charles de Gaulle set for us all not just in WWII, but in Algeria too.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Paris Game -- required reading for World War II history 10 Sept. 2014
By Jerry Amernic - Published on
Most Canadians do not regard Charles de Gaulle with great affection as his place in our national psyche always focuses on his infamous ‘Vive le Quebec libre’ speech in Montreal back in 1967. Similarly, our American friends south of the border don’t hold him in particularly high regard either. However, as Ray Argyle so skilfully displays in his book ‘The Paris Game’, there is much more to Monsieur de Gaulle than meets the eye.

Argyle has woven a masterful historical fabric here, and a most readable record of what has traditionally been a gap in the public’s common perception of World War II history. What happened in France – and especially Paris – before, during and after the Nazi occupation often escapes the attention of North Americans. But de Gaulle played a major role in world affairs as he looked out for the interests of his country, and it certainly wasn’t easy with the other characters in the script – Churchill, FDR, Hitler – none of whom could be called pushovers.

Argyle has brought history to life in this book as he examines de Gaulle the man and what made him tick. His huge role in the French Resistance, his commitment to liberal democracy and freedom, and how he helped build and restore the French fact in the post-war world are all well-documented in this monumental effort that is nothing less than epic. Many books about the war are full of useful information, but are a slog to get through. Not so with The Paris Game. Reading this was a true delight, and it gives the reader a new perspective on Charles de Gaulle the man. For those who believe in the value of history and how we can learn from it, The Paris Game should be high on any book list that deals with the 20th-century world.

Jerry Amernic
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Refreshing Change from Academic Histories 4 Sept. 2014
By Barry Francis - Published on
Ray Argyle has an uncanny knack of making history interesting to general audiences. In his latest book, "The Paris Game," he has outdone himself. The book chronicles the out-sized life of Charles de Gaulle and how it was interwoven with the history of France in the twentieth century.

Legend has it that de Gaulle, in one of his more revealing moments, said to British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax "I am France," which recalled Louis XIV's famous comment "l'Etat c'est moi." If true, it was a reflection of the irrepressible ego that was key to his success.

In The Paris Game, Argyle recounts how de Gaulle skillfully navigated the conflicting motivations of allied leaders during WWII. For example, Churchill's sole objective was to win the war. Roosevelt's goals included post war reconstruction, democratic self determination and the end of colonialism. De Gaulle, on the other, hand entirely different goals - winning recognition for France, security for his country and himself, and a full measure of influence in the post war world. Most importantly, he wanted to ensure that Germany would never again pose a threat to France. That he succeeded on all counts, largely by force of personality, was truly remarkable.

Having pulled together the Fighting French forces and elements of the resistance, de Gaulle triumphantly leads the liberation of Paris by French and American forces on August 25, 1944. At the conclusion of the war de Gaulle oversees the transition of France from an occupied state to a self-ruling state in a period of less than three months. In the process, de Gaulle overcomes Roosevelt's plan to establish a US Military Government in France and negotiates a French sector in occupied Germany. He goes on to cement his place as one of the great leaders of the twentieth century through his enlightened post war leadership.

Most significantly, Argyle's compelling narrative makes clear how De Gaulle set in motion "the national myth that enabled France to regain its self respect" after what was a humiliating defeat at the hands of Germany, while effectively overcoming the stench of collaboration by the Vichy Government.

The book is exhaustively researched and a delight to read. In the foreward, Maurice Vasse describes the book as "a refreshing change from academic histories." I couldn't agree more.

Barry Francis
5.0 out of 5 stars Argyle has a good eye for detail and a talent for storytelling that ... 5 Sept. 2014
By S. LAUTENS - Published on
Ray Argyle’s book “The Paris Game” fills in an elusive gap in most people’s knowledge of WWII. The internal struggles within both the French Resistance and De Gaulle’s leadership in exile of the Free French are vividly brought to life by the author, who shows how De Gaulle artfully maintained his grip on the leadership of France during the war through sheer force of will and bare knuckle politicking. De Gaulle's back and forth struggles with both Churchill and Roosevelt are skillfully explored.

The book is that rare combination of being both scholarly and highly readable, with detailed and insightful personality profiles of Allied leaders, both famous and not as well known. Argyle has a good eye for detail and a talent for storytelling that leaves you wanting more.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 2 Jan. 2015
By KC - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great history
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