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

by Alan Furst, Daniel Gerroll (Reader)

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7416312,575 (3.69)68
Member:wstarmer
Title:Mission to Paris
Authors:Alan Furst
Other authors:Daniel Gerroll (Reader)
Info:Simon & Schuster Audio (2012), Edition: Unabridged, Audio CD
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Fiction, Historical Fiction, Espionage

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Mission to Paris by Alan Furst (2012)

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I'm addicted to Alan Furst's Europe-in-World War II novels.They're all connected, even if the protagonists and other main characters are different, and this book has many references to characters and incidents in other of his novels. The setting, as it often is in his books, is Paris in 1938-39, on the brink of war. An American movie star, but European by birth, is in Paris to film a movie, where he becomes a subject of interest to influential members of a group advocating for peace and cooperation with Germany, aka appeasement. If they can get the American actor, Fredric Stahl, to appear to be a friend of Germany and an advocate for peace, it will be quite a coup for the Nazi propaganda machine. And those attempts bring Stahl to the American embassy in Paris, where he becomes an informal spy, one of many, being run out of the embassy to spy on Germans. Stahl's role is mostly as a courier, but it is a dangerous one.

At so many points in this novel, it felt like more than the usual work of historical fiction. It felt like a primer for today, especially when a journalist explains to him how the Nazis are trying to use him and how they manipulate the media, behind the scenes, to shape the public's perceptions and influence their opinions. How smear campaigns were used to destroy anyone trying to warn France of the Nazi danger and the need to re-arm France for war. So much of what Hitler's minions and wealthy and influential French people did echoes what is going on today. Control the media, control the message, and you can control enough of the population. And as we now know, it mostly worked for Germany, because when they did invade France, they met with weak military resistance. Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it, but the invasion these days doesn't necessarily come from without, but from within to slowly erode democracy.

I read a lot of historical fiction and a lot of science fiction and I realized they have one thing in common: They both point out human behavior, with lessons for us to learn, lessons too many people never learn, and so, we keep making the same mistakes. This book is one of Furst's best, a good blend of intrigue, suspense, characters to root for, and a history lesson that shouldn't be ignored. ( )
  ShellyS | Jun 23, 2017 |
Europe on the brink of war and an American movie star travels to Paris to make a french movie. He gets caught up in The German Reich Foreign ministry web as someone to help in publicity for their cause. They want Paris to surrender to Germany before war comes. Fredric Stahl is one of many interesting characters in this novel filled with German bad guys and french aristocrats and emigres.
The plot is okay but lacks great plot twists or surprises. What I enjoyed very much was the time in Paris, the heart and soul of Europe in this novel. It's restaurants and cafes, hotels, and streets scapes arebrought to life at this dark time in history. ( )
  Smits | Apr 12, 2017 |


(as I read it, the Fredric Stahl character reminded me of the english actor Ronald Colman)

Furst has long been on my TBR.

As this was my first Alan Furst novel that I’ve read, the first thing that came to mind me was how it kind of kept reminding me of John le Carre’s works in a sense of the dark atmosphere, the smooth way in which the espionage business was carried out.

Besides that, there wasn't much in it. There was an awesome book lost somewhere in "Mission to Paris", but Furst did not find it. The end concludes too quickly, and characters are introduced and dropped. On top of that Paris as a setting was woefully wasted.

Also hard to stand and understand was the way Furst tended to caricature most of the German characters. I'm not sure whether Furst stays on the right side of the line cliche-wise. The difference between a lazy cliche and a comfortingly familiar type can be pretty fine in fiction." ( )
  antao | Dec 10, 2016 |
In 1938, Fredric Stahl, a daringly handsome actor from Hollywood heads to Paris to shoot his new movie, a war drama called After the War. He has a good history with the City of Love, and hopes to not only make a great film but enjoy the city that he belongs in. Yet, life is never that simple, is it? With war from Nazi Germany knocking firmly on France's thin fragile door, Paris is in a constant wave of ups and downs of morale. On the outside France seems to be run calmly by the French, but the Nazis are slowly creeping their influence into French politicians by the way of bribery and fear.

While just trying to make a movie and maybe meet a nice lady, Stahl gets caught up in the political game of the Germans, a party invite here, a favor there, seems innocent right? Or is it all a part of a scheme to use Stahl. As you read Stahl meets an array of characters to which seem to be friends, but in a country where the balance between war and peace can be tipped over by the most tiniest of pushes, one can never be so sure. You end up questioning the motives of everybody Stahl meets even up to the very end of the book.

I enjoyed this book a lot, I honestly didn't think I would just because spy novels are not really my cup of tea but when I won this in a Goodreads giveaway I figured it couldn't hurt to try it at least. I'm pleasantly surprised how much I liked it, characters were likable and each has their own interesting tale to tell, story was fast paced and never dragged on, and the ending was very satisfying. The only problem that I had was the first 15 pages, though important, weren't fun to read, they felt like I was just reading a list of titles, names, and places. It wasn't until you start following Stahl that the story drastically improves. Alan Furst created a wonderful story and I am definitely going to read some more of novels.

Just to throw one little personal quarrel, the copy I received from the giveaway, which I assume is a review copy, is literally covered in reviews of the book and the author. There are reviews on the cover, the back cover, two full pages within the book, and even on the spine. So just as a suggestion, please don't send copies like that to giveaway winners, it feels like a cheap way to manipulate you into giving it a good review. Let the book stand on it's own merits, but then again this is a personal irritation. ( )
  Wushogun | Nov 30, 2016 |
Alan Furst never disappoints me.
This time the hero is Frederic Stahl an Austrian born Hollywood movie star who is in
Paris in 1938 to star in movie called Après la Guerre. The city is crawling with Nazis and he is covertly approached by several who want to have him work on their side. Stahl wants nothing to do with them and finds refuge with the American attaché, Wilkinson who connects him with a Russian actress and spy Olga Orlova who has deep contacts with Hitler's henchmen.
Lots of intrigue, filming in Paris, Morocco and Hungary and a daring escape from Hungary. Good spy novel. ( )
  MaggieFlo | Nov 6, 2016 |
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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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