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Mission to Paris by Alan Furst
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Mission to Paris (2012)

by Alan Furst

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8046516,404 (3.66)73

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Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
I really enjoy Alan Furst's novels. He has a unique take on historical fiction where he creates a character that is in Europe during the World War II era and takes us through their story. This book looks at an American movie star who was born in Vienna and travels to Paris (and beyond) to film a movie in the years leading up to the start of the War. He actions involve him a bit with both sides of the spy world, and I liked those experiences in this book.

The reason for three stars is that this particular story never really took off. I kept waiting for some real action or for one of the characters to fully commit to one side of the pending conflict or the other, but nothing like that ever really happened.

To close, not a bad read, but not as good as his previous books (that I have read). ( )
  msaucier818 | Apr 9, 2018 |
Awful. ( )
  ericlee | Jul 4, 2017 |
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 |
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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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(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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