Monday, May 20, 2019

My Washington Times Review Of 'Dateline - Liberated Paris'

The Washington Times published my review of Ronald Weber's Dateline – Liberated Paris

It was if Ben Hecht and Charles McArthur’s hard-bitten, cynical and profane crime-beat reporter characters from the 1928 play “The Front Page” were all assigned to cover liberated Paris in World War II.

In Ronald Weber’s “Dateline Liberated Paris: The Hotel Scribe and the Invasion of the Press,” an army of war correspondents converged on Paris after the Nazi Germans left the “City of Light” toward the end of the war.

As Mr. Weber explains, in the European combat zones of World War II, press camps were an integral part of Allied operations. Accredited war correspondents attached to combat units dressed in the uniforms of their countries and wore insignia that identified them as correspondents. They were treated as captains, although they wore no insignia of rank.

The correspondents were housed in buildings or tents and they were fed, briefed on war news, and given jeeps with military drivers for transportation by military public-relations officers. The correspondents’ copy, photos, radio broadcasts, field art and personal letters were reviewed by military censors before they were sent out by cable, teletype, mobile radio, or by land and air courier to the international media centers. The press camps followed the combat units as they moved on to new positions.

“The Hotel Scribe was one of several Allied press camps on the march from Normandy to Germany. It was also one of a kind,” Mr. Weber tells us. “Among other distinctive features, it was located in central Paris in a storied hotel that before the war was favored by foreign journalists and during the occupation became the Nazi headquarters for information and propaganda. It had a lounge bar and dining room, an experienced French staff, chambermaids, phone service, running water, electricity, and enough coal for some heat and warm baths in limited hours. It could accommodate as many as five hundred correspondents, as against the fifty or fewer of other press camps.”

The Scribe quickly took on an aura of journalistic legend and folklore, as a good number of correspondents chronicled the hotel as well as the war in their dispatches. The Scribe was also featured in several novels and nonfiction books by the correspondent residents and customers after the war.

You can read the rest of the review via the below link:

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