100 books like The Fall of Paris

By Herbert R. Lottman,

Here are 100 books that The Fall of Paris fans have personally recommended if you like The Fall of Paris. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Suite Française

David Snell Author Of Sing to Silent Stones: Part One

From my list on wartime books about families torn apart by the conflict in WW1 and WW2.

Who am I?

My reading is almost entirely influenced by my own family’s extraordinary history. My mother and father-in-law were both illegitimate. Both suffered for the fact and my father-in-law was 11 years old when he first found out and was reunited with his mother, albeit on a second-class basis compared to his half siblings. My mother trained bomb aimers. My father flew Lancaster bombers and was just 19 years old in the skies above wartime Berlin. My own books combine history, my personal experiences, and my family’s past to weave wartime stories exploring the strains that those conflicts imposed on friendships.

David's book list on wartime books about families torn apart by the conflict in WW1 and WW2

David Snell Why did David love this book?

An abiding theme within my own book is that love and friendship can supplant racial and cultural differences, and this book, set in a village in France during the 2nd World War, highlights a growing and reluctant friendship between an occupier and the occupied.

The hatred that invasion induces causes any fraternisation to be labelled ‘collaboration.’ Sometimes it is. Sometimes, it is just people caught out of context seeking comfort and normality.

It is easy for those whose countries have never been occupied to scoff at the behaviour of those who had to live in the atmosphere and the reality of a hostile invasion. Let’s hope we never have to find out firsthand.

By Irene Nemirovsky,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Suite Française as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1941, Irene Nemirovsky sat down to write a book that would convey the magnitude of what she was living through, not in terms of battles and politicians, but by evoking the domestic lives and personal trials of the ordinary citizens of France. She did not live to see her ambition fulfilled, or to know that sixty-five years later, "Suite Francaise" would be published for the first time, and hailed as a masterpiece. Set during a year that begins with France's fall to the Nazis in June 1940 and ends with Germany turning its attention to Russia, "Suite Francaise" falls…


Book cover of Fleeing Hitler: France 1940

Austin Denis Johnston Author Of 33 Days: A Memoir

From my list on the refugee crisis in Western Europe in WW2.

Who am I?

Twenty years ago I nearly married a French woman and emigrated. I prepared vigorously to become an honorary Frenchman, cramming French history, language, and culture. Ultimately, I neither married nor emigrated, but the passion for that cultural acquisition project never left me, meaning many years of trips, reading, and language study. For the last decade, I've supplemented that interest by looking for historically significant French texts to translate (primarily contemporaneous texts about the World Wars and the interwar period). I have degrees in history and international affairs, plus professional experience in military affairs (including the Office of Secretary of Defense) and editing magazines (for Time, Inc.).

Austin's book list on the refugee crisis in Western Europe in WW2

Austin Denis Johnston Why did Austin love this book?

The first book to read on this subject. An accessible, expert synthesis of refugee experiences based on many accounts, including interviews, but focused on eight that contain extensive, significant detail (all by Paris residents, Léon Werth among them). Diamond concludes that Philippe Pétain leveraged refugees' suffering to propagandize for military capitulation and the legitimacy of his regime.

By Hanna Diamond,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fleeing Hitler as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Wednesday 12th June 1940. The Times reported 'thousands upon thousands of Parisians leaving the capital by every possible means, preferring to abandon home and property rather than risk even temporary Nazi domination'.

As Hitler's victorious armies approached Paris, the French government abandoned the city and its people, leaving behind them an atmosphere of panic. Roads heading south filled with ordinary people fleeing for their lives with whatever personal possessions they could carry, often with no particular destination in mind. During the long, hard journey, this mass exodus of predominantly women, children, and the elderly, would face constant bombings, machine gun…


Book cover of France Under Fire: German Invasion, Civilian Flight and Family Survival During World War II

Austin Denis Johnston Author Of 33 Days: A Memoir

From my list on the refugee crisis in Western Europe in WW2.

Who am I?

Twenty years ago I nearly married a French woman and emigrated. I prepared vigorously to become an honorary Frenchman, cramming French history, language, and culture. Ultimately, I neither married nor emigrated, but the passion for that cultural acquisition project never left me, meaning many years of trips, reading, and language study. For the last decade, I've supplemented that interest by looking for historically significant French texts to translate (primarily contemporaneous texts about the World Wars and the interwar period). I have degrees in history and international affairs, plus professional experience in military affairs (including the Office of Secretary of Defense) and editing magazines (for Time, Inc.).

Austin's book list on the refugee crisis in Western Europe in WW2

Austin Denis Johnston Why did Austin love this book?

A more specialized account focused on the role of women, who made up the vast majority of refugees, in petitioning government for civilian protection and assistance before and after the crisis, and their unique experiences on the road. Dombrowski Risser finds that women initiated an expansion of universal human rights in wartime to include refugees' rights. Her insightful and masterfully informed analysis of primary source materials—women's letters to government officials—brings them to life, adding illuminating, and heartrending, substance and texture.

By Nicole Dombrowski Risser,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked France Under Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'We request an immediate favour of you, to build a shelter for us women and small children, because we have absolutely no place to take refuge and we are terrified!' This French mother's petition sent to her mayor on the eve of Germany's 1940 invasion of France reveals civilians' security concerns unleashed by the Blitzkrieg fighting tactics of World War II. Unprepared for air warfare's assault on civilian psyches, French planners were among the first in history to respond to civilian security challenges posed by aerial bombardment. France under Fire offers a social, political and military examination of the origins…


Book cover of The Fall of France: The Nazi Invasion of 1940

Austin Denis Johnston Author Of 33 Days: A Memoir

From my list on the refugee crisis in Western Europe in WW2.

Who am I?

Twenty years ago I nearly married a French woman and emigrated. I prepared vigorously to become an honorary Frenchman, cramming French history, language, and culture. Ultimately, I neither married nor emigrated, but the passion for that cultural acquisition project never left me, meaning many years of trips, reading, and language study. For the last decade, I've supplemented that interest by looking for historically significant French texts to translate (primarily contemporaneous texts about the World Wars and the interwar period). I have degrees in history and international affairs, plus professional experience in military affairs (including the Office of Secretary of Defense) and editing magazines (for Time, Inc.).

Austin's book list on the refugee crisis in Western Europe in WW2

Austin Denis Johnston Why did Austin love this book?

Also for historical context, this is a more traditionally constructed history—though also a masterful synthesis of sources—and among those that view the refugee crisis as having a role in France's defeat. Clear, concise and comprehensive; if you read one book about the fall of France, read this.

By Julian Jackson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fall of France as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On 16 May 1940 an emergency meeting of the French High Command was called at the Quai d'Orsay in Paris. The German army had broken through the French lines on the River Meuse at Sedan and elsewhere, only five days after launching their attack. Churchill, who had been telephoned by Prime Minister Reynaud the previous evening to be told that the French were beaten, rushed to Paris to meet the French leaders. The mood in the meeting was one of panic and despair; there
was talk of evacuating Paris. Churchill asked Gamelin, the French Commander in Chief, 'Where is the…


Book cover of The Blood of Free Men: The Liberation of Paris, 1944

Steven H. Jaffe Author Of New York at War: Four Centuries of Combat, Fear, and Intrigue in Gotham

From my list on cities at war.

Who am I?

I am a historian, curator, and writer born and raised in New York City, a place whose history intrigued me from an early age. With a mother who moved from small-town New Jersey to Greenwich Village in the 1950s, and a father who had childhood memories of World War I in the Bronx, I think my interest was sort of preordained. I remain fascinated by cities as engines of change, as flashpoints for conflict, and as places that are simultaneously powerful and vulnerable. 

Steven's book list on cities at war

Steven H. Jaffe Why did Steven love this book?

Written with crystal clarity and a flair for the telling anecdote, this book unfolds the multi-dimensional chess game that culminated in the liberation of Paris after four long years of Nazi occupation. Neiberg shows how diverse actorsleftist resistance fighters bent on liberating the city from within, Allied officials fearing just such a “red” takeover, a willful Charles de Gaulle determined to dominate the victory, anxious collaborationists, and German officersfueled a volatile crisis that changed from moment to moment in the city’s streets.

By Michael Neiberg,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Blood of Free Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the Allies struggled inland from Normandy in August of 1944, the fate of Paris hung in the balance. Other jewels of Europe,sites like Warsaw, Antwerp, and Monte Cassino,were, or would soon be, reduced to rubble during attempts to liberate them. But Paris endured, thanks to a fractious cast of characters, from Resistance cells to Free French operatives to an unlikely assortment of diplomats, Allied generals, and governmental officials. Their efforts, and those of the German forces fighting to maintain control of the city, would shape the course of the battle for Europe and colour popular memory of the conflict…


Book cover of Journal à quatre mains

Robert Gildea Author Of Marianne in Chains: Daily Life in the Heart of France During the German Occupation

From my list on France in the Second World War.

Who am I?

I am a historian of France, seduced since I did an exchange with a French family aged fourteen and was a student in Paris in my gap year, aged eighteen, in the aftermath of 1968. Since then I have been fascinated by the tension between la France profonde and revolutionary France. France in the Second World War is a wonderful place to study both, shattered by defeat, foreign occupation and division, and generating huge amounts of literature and film, myth-making, historical research and controversy.

Robert's book list on France in the Second World War

Robert Gildea Why did Robert love this book?

A funny and moving account of life in occupied Paris by two young sisters, one sensible and studious, the other fun-loving. Written in diary form by each sister in turn, hence the ‘four hands’. Some signs of touching up with hindsight before publication in 1962. There is an English translation, ‘Diary in duo’ (1965) but currently out of print.

By Benoîte Groult, Flora Groult,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Journal à quatre mains as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nouvelle édition en 2002


Book cover of No Place to Lay One's Head

Clare Harvey Author Of The Escape

From my list on WW2 memoirs by brave and remarkable women.

Who am I?

I’m endlessly fascinated by the stories of young women from the WW2 era, who came of age at the moment the world was torn apart. As an author of wartime historical fiction with strong female characters, it’s vital for me to understand the experience of ordinary women who grew up in such extraordinary times, so I’m always on the hunt for real voices from the era. I’d love to think that in similar circumstances I’d face my challenges with the same humour, resourcefulness, bravery, and humanity as my favourite five female memoirists selected for you here.

Clare's book list on WW2 memoirs by brave and remarkable women

Clare Harvey Why did Clare love this book?

This incredible memoir reads like a thriller. Polish-born Francoise ran a Berlin bookshop until she was forced to flee from Nazi persecution, first to Paris, then to Southern France. The term ‘unputdownable’ is a terrible cliché, but was literally the case for me with this breathtaking story of escape and survival. Clear your diary before you open the covers of this compelling book.

By Francoise Frenkel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Place to Lay One's Head as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1921, Francoise Frenkel - a Jewish woman from Poland - opens her first bookshop in Berlin. It is a dream come true. The dream lasts nearly two decades. Then suddenly, it ends.

It ends after police confiscations and the Night of Broken Glass, as Jewish shops and businesses are smashed to pieces. It ends when no one protests. So Francoise flees to France, just weeks before war breaks out.

In Paris, on the wireless and in the newspapers, horror has made itself at home. When the city is bombed, Francoise seeks refuge in Avignon, then Nice. She fears she…


Book cover of April in Paris

Lisbeth Eng Author Of In the Arms of the Enemy

From my list on World War II with unexpected love stories.

Who am I?

I’ve long been enthralled by tales, real and fictional, that transcend the obvious and clichéd. My interest in World War II was piqued years ago while studying in Italy, when our professor regaled us with accounts of the Italian Resistance. Depictions of the “enemy” in fiction are often brutalized, and he is portrayed as less than human, compared with those on the righteous side of the battle. As a romance writer, crafting characters as living, breathing human beings, amidst the abyss of war, became my passion. Conflict is essential to a captivating plot, and what could be more intriguing than pitting heroine against hero in mortal struggle.

Lisbeth's book list on World War II with unexpected love stories

Lisbeth Eng Why did Lisbeth love this book?

April in Paris presents a perspective not often seen in World War II fiction: the first-person account of a German soldier.

Fluent in French, Corporal Roth is assigned to interpret prisoner interrogations in Nazi-occupied Paris. Disturbed by the torture he witnesses, Roth escapes his repugnant duties by posing as a Frenchman when off-duty, attempting to shed his identity as “occupier” by blending in with the populace.

He encounters the beautiful Chantal and ardently pursues her, unaware that she is part of the Resistance. Love ripens between Roth and Chantal, but the outcome spins out of their control, as both are hurled toward the perilous consequences of their affair.

Wallner’s fast-paced novel is more thriller than romance, as human emotion collides with the brutality of war. 

By Michael Wallner, John Cullen (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked April in Paris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When people on Paris's bustling streets look at Michael Roth, they see little more than a Parisian student, a quietly spoken young man with a book under his arm, handsome but guarded. What they do not realize is that he is carrying a painful secret, one that he cannot even reveal to the woman he loves.

For Michael is no ordinary Frenchman but a German. He has been sent to Paris to assist the Nazis in dealing with Resistance fighters. Desperate to escape his daily life, he steals into the world of the oppressed Parisians, and into the path of…


Book cover of Silence of the Sea / Le Silence de la Mer

Christophe Corbin Author Of Revisiting the French Resistance in Cinema, Literature, Bande Dessinée, and Television (1942–2012)

From my list on the French Resistance.

Who am I?

My grandfather joined the French Resistance in his early twenties in 1942. He told me his story when I was a teenager, which has had a lasting effect on me. I have since taught college students about the French Resistance and published on the way it has been depicted in films, TV series, novels, and comics since 1942. My book Revisiting the French Resistance will appeal to those interested in the relationship between history and fiction, and/or who enjoy stories of ordinary, yet exemplary individuals who at some point of history have felt compelled to say “no” to a situation deemed unacceptable.  

Christophe's book list on the French Resistance

Christophe Corbin Why did Christophe love this book?

An iconic Resistance novel today, The Silence of the Sea was written at a time when the French Resistance was yet to be invented, and was published clandestinely in 1942. The first work of fiction ever written about the Resistance, and one of the most beautiful, without a doubt. The story of a forbidden love between a German officer and a French woman who was forced to house him, Vercors’ story was meant to entice his fellow citizens to refuse a situation deemed unacceptable. There is no sabotage, explosions, or as traditionally understood acts of heroism, only an invitation to save whatever could be saved. A story of honor and dignity, universal and timeless. 

By James W. Brown (editor), Lawrence D. Stokes (editor), Cyril Connelly (translator)

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Silence of the Sea / Le Silence de la Mer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This first bilingual edition of France's most enduring wartime novel introduces Vercors's famous tale to a generation without personal experience of World War II who may not be able to read it in its original language. Now available in paperback, readers are assisted with a historical and literary introduction, explanatory notes, a glossary of French terms and a select bibliography.


Book cover of Churchill's Secret Messenger

Susan J. Godwin Author Of Rain Dodging: A Scholar's Romp through Britain in Search of a Stuart Queen

From my list on women spies and ‘lost libraries’ of World War II.

Who am I?

Sadly, there is not one Jewish family in this world who does not have a connection to the Holocaust. I imagine that my pull towards World War II heroic women is become I am a Jewish woman. I have a passion for books and many of the characters in my choices share this passion. I also have a passion for Britain. France is not too shabby either; the Parisian setting in some of the books are descriptive and gripping.

Susan's book list on women spies and ‘lost libraries’ of World War II

Susan J. Godwin Why did Susan love this book?

This one I listened to. I normally read.

A story of one young woman drafted into Churchill’s overseas spy network, aiding the French Resistance behind enemy lines and working to liberate Nazi-occupied Paris. London, 1941: Due to Rose Teasdale’s fluency in French, she is recruited for the Special Operations Executive, a secret British organization that conducts espionage in Nazi-occupied Europe.

Rose parachutes into France with a new codename: Dragonfly. Posing as a cosmetics saleswoman in Paris, she ferries messages to and from the Resistance. (Of course, typically in fiction,) she falls for a French Resistance fighter who has also dedicated himself to the cause.

By Alan Hlad,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Churchill's Secret Messenger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A riveting story of World War II and the courage of one young woman as she is drafted into Churchill’s overseas spy network, aiding the French Resistance behind enemy lines and working to liberate Nazi-occupied Paris…

London, 1941: In a cramped bunker in Winston Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms, underneath Westminster’s Treasury building, civilian women huddle at desks, typing up confidential documents and reports. Since her parents were killed in a bombing raid, Rose Teasdale has spent more hours than usual in Room 60, working double shifts, growing accustomed to the burnt scent of the Prime Minister’s cigars permeating the stale…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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