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Mission to Paris by Alan Furst
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Mission to Paris (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Alan Furst

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5325218,946 (3.68)55
Member:danhammang
Title:Mission to Paris
Authors:Alan Furst
Info:New York : Random House, c2012
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:France, Paris

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Mission to Paris by Alan Furst (2012)

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Sounds like an interesting plot – It is 1938 when a Hollywood movie star travels to Paris to make a film and the Nazis want to use him for their own propaganda. Although a very descriptive Paris of that time but it becomes tedious as does the characters and the filmmaking. It just didn’t seem to flow, nor entice me to know or feel for the characters. It was an okay read from an author who has done better. ( )
  grumpydan | Sep 13, 2014 |
Mission to Paris is an atmospheric and intriguing look into World War II Paris. We follow our hero, actor Frederick Stahl through a troubled film shoot, unofficial spy craft, romances, and not-so-subtle enemy influence. Furst gives the reader a noir filled adventure that will linger on in your memories.

Free review copy. ( )
  mrmapcase | Jul 22, 2014 |
Set in 1938, Hitler has just invaded Czechoslovakia, is on the verge of doing the same to Poland, and has his eye on France. Into this cauldron comes Fredrich Stahl, a Hollywood actor of Austrian origins, who arrives in Paris on an invitation to make a movie ironically titled 'Apres La Guerre', which, in his opinion, highlights the futility of war.

The German secret service are aware of his arrival and seek to make use of his fame for their own cause, first attempting to woo and trick him into making a statement to the journalist recommending the French keep peace with Germany instead of arming themselves for war with them, and then to cajole and finally threaten him into attending a Berlin film festival.

Unbeknownst to them, his personal opinion of Nazi Germany is far from flattering, but his attempts to stay out of politics is futile and eventually he has no choice but to get involved ... as an untrained spy for his contact at the American Embassy, putting his own life in danger on multiple occasions.

As far as spy thrillers go, this is a rather gently written one. The tension mounts gradually, escalating only in the last chapter of the book. There are 2 gems in this book, in my opinion. The first is the character development of Fredrich Stahl. His character is given a multi-layered coat and as each layer is peeled off, he discards his shallow exterior to expose a brave and determined man of integrity and honor. The second gem is the manner in which the author paints a picture of cities of Berlin, Paris, Morocco and Hungary, putting a spotlight on the contrasts between the people and the atmosphere in each of these cities at the time. ( )
  cameling | Jul 21, 2014 |
Alan Furst may be my favorite author these days. I love history and his books delve into one of my favorite eras; the inter-war period of 1920's and 1930's Europe. Readers who have read other Furst masterpieces will find this one just another gem in a series. For those who have not, what you get with a Furst novel is a lovingly crafted description of a place, in this case Paris, back in the day. The ambiance of the place and period are superbly described. The characters are also invariably interesting and many repeat time and again in each novel. The main character in this novel may be a minor but significant character in the next. All in all, as many other critics say, Alan Furst is the foremost author creating "film noir" in books. You will finish the book in day or two; it's that good. ( )
  chip.wagar | Jul 17, 2014 |
I won this book via a GoodReads giveaway.

This is the first book I've read by Alan Furst and it certainly won't be the last. His writing is smooth as silk and readily conveys the lurking menace of pre-WW2 France and Germany as the Nazis enlist a subversive PR campaign dedicated to undermining French resistance to German expansion.

Mission to Paris follows Fredric Stahl, a mid-level Hollywood actor of Austrian origins, as he makes a movie in Paris, France and brief shoots in Morocco and Hungary. This allows Furst to explore popular culture in 1938 France and illustrate the political complexities that developed before World War 2. Using a in-demand handsome actor as the focus allows Furst to explore different levels of society as well as giving romantic overtones to the novel. Furst's deft hand resounds throughout the book and brings a very personal touch to WW2 era Europe. The feeling of danger and intrigue is overwhelming at times. ( )
  dketelsen | Jun 30, 2014 |
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Epigraph
In the 1930s, the Nazi government of Germany, bitterly
resentful at having lost the 1914 war, determined to
destroy its traditional enemy, France. Force of arms lay
in the future, but a small bureau in the Reich Foreign
Ministry undertook operations to weaken French morale
and degrade France's will to defend herself. This strategy,
using ancient and well-proven methods, was know as
political warfare.
Dedication
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In Paris, the evenings of September are sometimes warm, excessively gentle, and, in the magic particular to that city, irresistibly seductive.
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From Amazon.com: It's the late summer of 1938, Europe is about to explode, and the Hollywood film star Fredric Stahl is on his way to Paris to make a movie for Paramount France. The Nazis know he’s coming -- a secret bureau within the Reich Foreign Ministry has for years been waging political warfare against France, using bribery, intimidation, and corrupt newspapers to weaken French morale and degrade France’s will to defend herself.

For their purposes, Fredric Stahl is a perfect agent of influence, and they attack him. What they don’t know is that Stahl, horrified by the Nazi war on Jews and intellectuals, has become part of an informal spy service being run out of the American embassy in Paris.

From Alan Furst, the bestselling author, often praised as the best spy novelist ever, comes a novel that’s truly hard to put down. Mission to Paris includes beautifully drawn scenes of romance and intimacy, and the novel is alive with extraordinary characters: the German Baroness von Reschke, a famous hostess deeply involved in Nazi clandestine operations; the assassins Herbert and Lothar; the Russian film actress and spy Olga Orlova; the Hungarian diplomat and spy, Count Janos Polanyi; along with the French cast of Stahl’s movie, German film producers, and the magnetic women in Stahl’s life, the socialite Kiki de Saint-Ange and the émigré Renate Steiner.

But always at the center of the novel is the city of Paris, the heart and soul of Europe -- its alleys and bistros, hotels grand and anonymous, and the Parisians, living every night as though it was their last.
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Autumn 1939. In Paris American motion picture producer Frederic Stahl is drawn into a clandestine world of foreign correspondents, exiled Spanish republicans, and spies of every sort. As a celebrity from neutral America -- who can travel across the continent freely -- Stahl could be very useful indeed.… (more)

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