Later in the night, a dozen American airplanes fly across the English Channel toward France. Slowly, the airplanes drift toward their destination—a city that looks like “an unholy tooth” that they’re about to “pull out.”
Doerr is assuming some knowledge of World War II history here—the Americans are bombing a French town because it was occupied at the time by the Germans, the primary aggressors of the war. From the perspective of the airplanes, the city is just an object—a tooth—that needs to be secured (or pulled) for military purposes. But Doerr will spend the next 500 pages showing us why the individual lives of the people in this city (or any city) matter so much.