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Mission to Paris by Alan Furst

Mission to Paris (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Alan Furst

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5045120,248 (3.69)51
Title:Mission to Paris
Authors:Alan Furst
Info:New York : Random House, c2012
Collections:Your library
Tags:France, Paris

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Mission to Paris by Alan Furst (2012)

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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 |
I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway and reviewed it here. Bottom line: it's a good, fast-paced read.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/961898591 ( )
  Jonri | Jun 16, 2014 |
Why, in late 1938, when tens of thousands of people are fleeing from Europe, is Frederic Stahl headed to Paris? For a film star like Stahl, working for Warner Brothers Studios, all it that matters is that Jack Warner wants him in France for a movie. What Jack Warner wants, Jack Warner gets. In the face of threats and bullying from Germany's Hitler, France and all of Europe is in turmoil. Many Parisians think it would be better to just give in and unify under Germany rather than fight another devastating war. Others would rather fight to the death than submit to the atrocities they already see spreading under Hitler's regime. Corruption and outside influence are quickly dividing an already shaky French government. Stahl, born in Austria and educated in Europe before finding his new name in American films, has always had a love for Paris. He looks forward to returning, but while the streets and sites are the same, the people and the political atmosphere have changed. Stahl is quickly swooped up by the provocateurs infesting Paris. He is pressured by German aristocrats and diplomats living in Paris, who see him as a possible sympathizer or perhaps a pawn to be used in this most dangerous game. The French also put pressure on him to join on one side or the other of the chasm dividing Paris. Stahl has to do his best to complete his movie while trying to decide whether to stay neutral like his new homeland America, or take sides, as his once beloved Paris changes around him. This flows like a well made early 1940's espionage film. You can just see picture it on a screen in black and white with a cast of international stars from one of the major film studio's list of contract players. It would be great to film it as an homage to the magnificent movies Hollywood used to make. ( )
  Ronrose1 | Feb 13, 2014 |
Mission to Paris is so evocative of that city in 1938 that readers will feel as if they've time-travelled to that significant time in the history of both Paris and the world. Alan Furst's descriptions of the intrigue that hung over the city like a dense fog of mingled fear and obliviousness paint a bittersweet portrait of a time where every action needed to be scrutinized for double meaning. Only Irene Nemirovsky's Suite Francaise, written about Paris as the Nazis entered in 1940, can compare in so richly portraying the atmosphere of dread overtaking even the smallest moments. That Furst's protagonist, Fredric Stahl, is an actor swept up by chance into espionage makes it clear how no one could escape the growing threat of Nazi Germany. ( )
  rosegrower | Jan 28, 2014 |
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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.
First words
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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