Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press


by Nechama Tec
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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195376852
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 12/03/2008
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 220,231
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Nechama Tec is Professor of Sociology at the University of Connecticut, Stamford. She is the author of six books, including In the Lion's Den: The Life of Oswald Rufeisen, the winner of the 1990 Christopher Award, When Light Pierced the Darkness, and Dry Tears, a memoir of her experiences during the years of the Nazi occupation of Poland.

Table of Contents

1.Before the War3
2.The Russian Occupation14
3.The German Invasion24
4.The Beginning of the Bielski Otriad41
5.Escapes from the Ghetto50
6.The Partisan Network63
7.Rescue or Resistance80
8.Eluding the Enemy94
9.The "Big Hunt,"108
10.Building a Forest Community126
11.The Emergence of New Social Arrangements138
12.The Fate of Women154
13.Keeping Order170
14.The End of the Otriad186
15.From Self-Preservation to Rescue204
Biographical Appendix257
Organization of the Bielski Otriad267

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Defiance 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a history teacher, I was intrigued by the story. I went and saw the movie and was so curious I had to buy the book. I am an avid reader of histories which can at times be slow reading because they bog you down with the details. However, while reading this book, I could not put it down. It is very readable and draws you into the story...the way any good story should. The last few chapters are bit repetitive, but they show further evidence of the story of the Bielski Partisans. I was so impressed with this book, I made my teaching partner read it. We have since requested classroom sets so that we can have our students read it and incorporate it into our classes. This is a story so rarely told.
enigmaticblue More than 1 year ago
Although the writing style of the book is sometimes unwieldy, it provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of WWII that is seldom explored. Prior to seeing the movie (also very good), I had never heard of the Bielski brothers, and I have done a lot of reading about WWII and the Holocaust. I found Tuvya Bielski particularly interesting--imperfect, and yet heroic as he was. I would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn a little bit more about this period of history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From a historical standpoint, this book gives a different insight into the Holocaust from a Russian Jew standpoint. It does bog down in many areas but also shows how even heroes have human sides and numerous faults. Not an enjoyable read from a novel viewpoint but excellent from a research or historical view.
cbl_tn on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Nechama Tec's Defiance was on my shortlist for my Belarus book for the Europe Endless Challenge. After watching an episode of NBC's Who Do You Think You Are? a couple of of weeks ago that featured actress Lisa Kudrow's family, I was eager to get hold of and read this book. Ms. Kudrow's great-grandmother was one of thousands of Jews executed by the Nazis in what is now Belarus. Defiance is the story of a group of more than 1,200 Jews who survived the Nazi terror in the forests of Belarus.Tuvia Bielski was the second son of a large Jewish family from a village in what is now Belarus. When the Germans began forcing Jews into ghettos in the larger cities, Tuvia and two of his younger brothers, Asael and Zus, were determined to stay out of the ghettos. They tried to persuade family members to join them. Soon their group enlarged to include family friends and their relatives. As the group grew, it formally became one of many partisan groups under Soviet direction. As the oldest brother in the group, Tuvia became its leader.Most of the Soviet partisan groups accepted only able-bodied men with weapons who were able to fight. In contrast, the Bielski group accepted all Jews, including unarmed men, women, older people, and children. Everyone who reached the Bielski group was assured of food and protection. Tuvia's main goal was to save Jewish lives rather than to fight the Germans. He sent scouts into the ghettos and the forests to invite all Jews who were willing to come. Although other Soviet partisan groups thought the Bielski group was too large and consumed too much hard-to-get food, Tuvia was able to overcome objections to the group's existence by providing some fighters for joint partisan missions, and especially by supplying support to other partisan groups in the form of goods and supplies. Among the Bielski group there were people with skills to repair weapons, to tan leather for shoes, to repair and make clothing, and to provide medical care for the sick and wounded.The Bielski partisans were not saints. They were survivors who did what they had to do to survive. This included making armed raids on inhabitants of the surrounding countryside. The food parties tried to take food only from those they believed had food to spare. They mostly took items that were considered necessities and mostly avoided taking luxury items. Many women chose to improve their situations by becoming the mistress of a valuable member of the group, such as a fighter or someone in a position of authority. Interestingly, many of these relationships survived not just during the war years, but for decades afterward.There are other books available on the Bielski group and the Jews who survived in the forests. I chose this one because of the publisher's reputation, and I am pleased with my choice. The book shows evidence of careful and thorough research, including the use of archival sources and the author's own interviews of surviving members of the Bielski group. The author notes that her interviews were recorded, and both the original recordings and the transcriptions are available to other researchers. Where recollections or opinions differ, the author attempts to reconcile these differences and notes the reasons for her interpretation in the end notes. The accompanying material includes eight pages of black and white photographs, a map of the settlement the group built in the Nalibocka Forest, a biographical appendix listing individuals who appear frequently in the book with a brief summary of their lives after the war, an organizational list of officers and heads of workshops, a short glossary, and 56 pages of end notes. Although many sources are listed in the end notes, I would have liked a separate bibliography or selected reading list.This book is highly recommended to readers interested in the Holocaust, World War II in Eastern Europe, and the Soviet-German conflict. Readers with an interest in leadership studies might find use
charlie68 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Not quite as exciting as the movie, but still it fleshes out what happened in the years the camps of the Bielskis set up. Amazing really that you could have a camp in the middle of Nazi occupation, that was for the saving of Jews.
meggyweg on LibraryThing 8 months ago
There are two books about the Bielski partisan group that I know of; the other is Peter Duffy's The Bielski Brothers. Both books were good but I found Tec's to be the better of the two. Her writing gave a better sense of what daily life was like in the Bielski camp, possibly because she herself was a "hidden child" Holocaust survivor. Tec was also able to interview Zus and Tuvia Bielski before their deaths, whereas Duffy didn't start writing his book until the brothers (excepting Aron, the youngest, who was only a child during World War II) were all dead.The story is a fascinating one which deserves to be better known. The Bielski brothers are the closest thing to real-life Robin Hoods that I know of, and there ought to be a movie about them. Both books are worth reading but if you can only get one, get Defiance.
olgalijo on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Very good for those who want to know more about what happened to Jews during WWII, but don't like the stereotypes that have been showered on them for decades. This is the true story of a group of Jews who managed to save themselves from the Nazi killings, and then dedicated themselves to saving other Jews. You won't find perfect heros or perfect villains, just real people facing extreme circumstances.
countrylife on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This is a non-fiction book which sets down in chronological order, the events of WWII which impacted Polish Jews living in the area of Stankiewicze, Poland. From that town and that time was raised up heroes ¿ the Bielski brothers. Fleeing to the forest for their lives, they came to the decision to save their fellow Jews, whatever the cost. This is the story of how they accomplished that goal, to the saving of over 1,200 Jews. Told in a straightforward way, and backed up with numerous personal interviews and historical documents, this was a horrifying look behind the scenes of hell in the forests of Poland. Thank God for such men. And for such who bring their stories to light.
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I personally enjoyed reading this book, but I found it a slight let-down after watching the movie. I know some would say this is not a credible review, but before I read it, I expected it to have a storyline, like the film, however, it did not. It was a book of information; great if someone is researching the subject of the Bielski Otriad.
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sakash More than 1 year ago
Book was very informative, well written, and very well researched.
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Very good book