The Paris Herald
By James Oliver Goldsborough
The Paris Herald, narrative historical fiction, tells the story of the world’s most famous newspaper, focusing on the key years of the 1960s when the fates of the newspaper and of the regime of Charles de Gaulle became curiously intertwined.
The story centers on intrigue and rivalry among the New York Herald Tribune, New York Times, and Washington Post. When the Herald Tribune ceased operations in New York in 1966, the Times, which had started its own European Edition in 1960, expected the Paris Herald to close, too, giving the Times victory in Paris as well as New York. But Herald Tribuneowner Jock Whitney wouldn’t sell to the Times, preferring to join with Katharine Graham, who’d taken charge at the Post after her husband’s death.
Within months, the Times came, hat-in-hand, offering to close its European edition and asking to buy into the new Herald/Post partnership. The Times neither forgave nor forgot its humiliation.
The Paris Herald is the story of many people: of Frank Draper, who fought in the Lincoln Brigade; Byron Hallsberg, who joined the Hungarian uprising; Dennis Klein, researching the Nazi occupation of Paris; Suzy de Granville, searching for family roots; Wayne Murray, escaping homophobia; of Steve and Molly Fleming, living the high life; Sonny Stein and Al Lodge and Connie Marshall and Ben Swart and Eddie Jones, paperboy, all finding themselves at the Paris Herald for their own reasons and ending up in the fight to keep the newspaper alive.
The 1960s was a tumultuous decade. The conflict in America over race and the Vietnam War spread to Europe, setting off terrorism, riots, and revolt across the continent and threatening already shaky regimes. Nowhere was the risk of collapse greater than in France, where the revolt of 1968 nearly toppled the government and led to the resignation of President Charles de Gaulle the following year. Throughout those difficult times, the Paris Herald was at the center of events
Since being founded in 1887 by James Gordon Bennett, Jr., the Paris Herald has been essential to American expatriate life in Europe. In France, many Americans put down roots, married into French families, and became permanent expatriates, in some cases exiles, like Bennett himself. The tense events of the 1960s touched the lives of every American in Paris, including many well-known artistic exiles: James Baldwin, Art Buchwald, William Saroyan, James Jones, Bud Powell, Dexter Gordon, Kenny Clarke, Joe Turner, and Memphis Slim.
As the crisis deepened, one shadowy man became the link between de Gaulle and the troika of newspaper owners, Whitney, Graham, and Arthur Ochs Sulzberger. This man, Henri de Saint-Gaudens, a high French official in the Elysée Palace, understood the Herald’s historical importance to Paris.
The Paris Herald, a novel, is a riveting historical drama, as relevant today as yesterday. It is a story never before told.