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Posted July 25, 2009
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An example of history that needs to be told and remembered
There are many examples of human courage and people fighting for their freedom that have come out of World War II. There are many examples yet to be told or perhaps will never be told. I am glad this story is being told.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
It is true that most of the Allies and the Germans would not enjoy the story. The Germans obviously do not want to be reminded of the atrocities they committed upon the Polish people during World War II. The Russians likewise don't want the story told of the atrocities they committed upon the Polish people during World War II and after. But America and England also must be uncomfortable for their lack of support for their ally Poland. It is true that America and England were not in the best position to rescue Warsaw. They did make efforts to help but the efforts could have been greater. After all Poland was a truer ally than Russia was. It is therefore sadder still that our efforts to help Warsaw were reduced by our desire to not upset Russia. A classic example of what happens when you make a pact with the devil (Stalin).
So, although many people other than the Poles are uncomfortable by this story being told, the story deserves to be told. The Polish people have earned the right to have their story be know. They fought the good fight and were left to fight alone. I for one, as an American, offer them my sincere apology for America not living up to its principle of fighting for every nation's right to be free. America helped a lot of people in World War II but we certainly fell short in helping Poland.
I recommend this book as it does its best to get the story told.
Posted July 28, 2005
Good sourcing, but a bit too biased
Rising '44 is a magnum opus, describing the reasons for, the details of, and the aftermath of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. Though an engaging read, it's by no means perfect. What got me is its sappy, over-sentimental tone, unbefitting of a history book. Repeatedly referring to Poland as the 'First Ally' is just one example, but I think this goes deeper, affecting Davies's view of the events he describes. Another annoying bit is the use of phoneticized, translated and abbreviated Polish names, on the grounds that in their original form they would discourage Western readers. The result is deplorable -- the plethora of 'John E.'s', 'Peter M.'s' and 'Professor H.'s' is far harder to follow than even the most tongue-twisting names. Once you get over that, however, this book is an englightening view of one of WWII's greatest tragedies.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 14, 2005
Struggle For Polish Freedom Finally Rewarded
I was born and raised in Poland and I love that country. It's really hard to decide now, that we're in this time period, but I think that most likely I would've fought for our freedom in the 1944 Uprising. The Warsaw Uprising itself shows the outstanding courage of those people and their eager will to gain freedom. I am very glad that this knowledge isn't just being kept inside of our country, but it's spreading everywhere to set an example for millions of citizens around the world still struggling for their independence and rights.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 8, 2004
Lwow - Ancient Polish City
Russian: Lvov; Polish: Lwow; German/Yiddish: Lemberg. Just few facts to clarify after reading confusing Vitaly's post: Prince Danylo of Galicia founded Lviv in the 13th century. One hundred years later the Polish Kings took control of Lwow. Lwow was a very important city in the Polish-Lithuanian alliance. The Polish built beautiful buildings and churches, including the Dominican, Carmelite, Jesuit, Benedictine, and Bernadine. In 1773 Lwow was ruled by Austria under the first partition of Poland until the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918. In the 19th century the Poles owned most of the land, and the Jews owned most of the shops and Inns. With the collapse of the Hapsburg Empire at the end of Word War I, Lwow was proclaimed capital of the independent Republic of West Ukraine. But the troops of the re-emergent Poland seized the city, and Lwow finally returned to Poland. Lwow has always been a center of Polish Intelligentsia and it was often called a Cultural Capitol of Poland just next to Krakow. In September 17, 1939 Red Army invades Poland and Lwow is under Soviet occupation. It is then when NKVD (Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti, English Committee for State Security) arrests Polish professors of Lwow University, priests, Polish officers and other Polish citizens of Lwow, and sends them to Katyn forest to be executed (1940). From 1941 to 1944 Lwow was occupied by Germany. The Nazis and collaborating with them Ukrainian nationalists murdered almost entire Jewish population in concentration camps. Ukrainians were often employed as camp guards and executioners in Poland. Most of the major death camps had contingents of Ukrainian guards. (Christopher Browning: 'Ordinary Men: Police Battalion 101' and 'the Final Solution in Poland'). In 1944, Lwow again went under Soviet rule. On August 24, 1991 Lwow began a new era as the Supreme Council of Ukraine adopted a declaration of independence. Davies book 'Rising'44' is probably the best if not only book that describes the forgotten holocaust of Polish martyrs. Thanks to Norman Davies¿ book let¿s hope that no one will ever confuse 1943 Ghetto Uprising with 1944 Warsaw Uprising.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 24, 2004
Lacking real knowledge and details
The passion of the author for the Polish people is admirable. However the book is more a compilation from different sources with vivid but shallow analysis than a real scientific work. This book would have gained a lot if it had been reviewed by professional historians from different countries. A few examples. The claim that '...Tsarists authorities absolutely refused to acknowledge the distinction between Russians and Ruthenians' is difficult to comprehend since Ruthenia is just the Latin word, whereas Russia is the English equivalent. (see also wikipedia, which says 'The difference between the two terms would be like the difference between, for example, 'Germany' and 'German Land' or 'Land of Germans'.) Author also gives an impression that he hasn¿t heard anything about Kievan Rus altogether and that Kiev is just an ancient Polish city. The author also shows absolute lack of understanding of the Soviet system of executive power. For instance he describes NKVD (not trying to explain what the acronym means) and includes into it the Ministry of Interior as one of the parts. However NKVD which was Peoples Commissariat of Internal Affairs was simply a predecessor of the Ministry and all of the Commissariats were later renamed into Ministries. The idea of the author that Polish names are so weird for the English speaking reader that only the initials or nicknames could be used should be an insult to the Poles, and adopting Yiddish Lvuv (another ancient Polish city in the author¿s view) instead of a common English form Lwow or present Ukrainian Lviv is also strange taking into account the contempt with which the author describes Jewish participation in the Rising. And the name of the city is not ¿City of Lions¿ as the author writes but rather ¿Leo¿s City¿. Leo (Lev) was a son of the Prince Danilo, the founder of the city who was a Ruthenian prince of the Rurik dynasty.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 21, 2004
The best book ever about Poland
I believe I am the first person, who reviews this book. This book is not only about Rising of 1944, but about people, who participated in this tragic event. It shows courage of the Home Army soldiers and their fight for freedom and dignity. It also shows the communist terror to Home Army. This book is breathtaking, and emotional encounter with history of my country, Poland. Thanks to Norman Davies, Rising of 1944 was recognized as one of the most important events of the Second World War.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.