A Question of Honor: The Kosciuszko Squadron: Forgotten Heroes of World War II

A Question of Honor: The Kosciuszko Squadron: Forgotten Heroes of World War II

by Lynne Olson, Stanley Cloud
4.1 11

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Overview

A Question of Honor: The Kosciuszko Squadron: Forgotten Heroes of World War II by Lynne Olson, Stanley Cloud

A Question of Honor is the gripping, little-known story of the refugee Polish pilots who joined the RAF and played an essential role in saving Britain from the Nazis, only to be betrayed by the Allies after the war.

After Poland fell to the Nazis, thousands of Polish pilots, soldiers, and sailors escaped to England. Devoted to liberating their homeland, some would form the RAF's 303 squadron, known as the Kosciuszko Squadron, after the elite unit in which many had flown back home. Their thrilling exploits and fearless flying made them celebrities in Britain, where they were "adopted" by socialites and seduced by countless women, even as they yearned for news from home. During the Battle of Britain, they downed more German aircraft than any other squadron, but in a stunning twist at the war's end, the Allies rewarded their valor by abandoning Poland to Joseph Stalin. This moving, fascinating book uncovers a crucial forgotten chapter in World War II-and Polish-history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375411977
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/16/2003
Pages: 512
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.90(d)

About the Author

Lynne Olson and Stanley Cloud are coauthors of The Murrow Boys, a biography of the correspondents whom Edward R. Murrow hired before and during World War II to create CBS News. Olson is the author of Freedom’s Daughters: The Unsung Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement from 1830 to 1970. Cloud, a former Washington bureau chief for Time, was also a national political correspondent, White House correspondent, Saigon bureau chief, and Moscow correspondent for Time. Olson was a Moscow correspondent for the Associated Press and White House correspondent for the Baltimore Sun. She and Cloud are married and live in Washington, D.C.

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Question of Honor: The Kosciuszko Squadron: Forgotten Heroes of World War II 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
For aviation buffs, the history of the Polish airmen in WW2 is very interesting. However, the authors fill about 2/3 of the book with non-aviation material, much of which is very demeaning of the contributions of the U.S. and Britain. It really gets tiring to read this type of whining from former allies.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Poles who flew during WWII became some of the best and are most often over looked. This books sheds great light not just on war stories, but political events taking place at the time and its cosequenses for both Poland and Europe.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While the title is just a bit misleading, this book provides an extraordinary and readable history of the Polish participation during WWII. In addition, it reveals the arrogance and duplicity of our Allied leaders. Their noble posturing through the Atlantic Charter, was, in fact, ignored when the decision was made to accomodate Stalin. Using none of the advantages the Allies had to bring the megalomania of Stalin under control, they broke their pledge to the only country to stand firm against Hitler and then fought side by side (with the fourth largest allied army in Europe) with the British, American and Russians to liberate Europe from the Germans. It provides us with a clear picture of our desertion of a deserving ally while subsequently rebuilding their enemy and ours. It truly deserves the title 'A Question of Honor'. My thanks to the authors for good read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a well written book. It is read with ease and easily understood.Explains a lot of why the Poles were a mistreated people in this last century and how easily history can be distorted for political gain.These pilots truelly were heroes. Once I started reading this book I couldn't put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book is very informative and easy to read. The poles probably had it the worst during world war 2 with the holocaust german invasion, russian invasion/and control. But they fought bravely alongside their allies and received virtually no credit for it. At the end of the war they didnt get any glory but each one of them were heroes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I usually find history books dull, but this one is well written and surprisingly readable. The title implies that this book is about the Kosciuszko Squadron, but it also covers Polish history from World War I until their freedom from Soviet rule. Kosciuszko Squadron was 303 Squadron of the British Royal Air Force during the Battle of Britain, which with 126 kills was the highest scoring squadron of the battle. After the fall of Poland, many of its soldiers, sailors, and airmen made it to Britain where they begged to get into the fight. At first the Polish fliers were shown little regard, but when the British were in trouble, they finally let the Poles fly. 303 Squadron (and 302) in Hurricane fighters accounted for over 150 German planes shot down. The Poles also filled out squadrons of RAF Bomber Command, and along with their fellow fighter pilots, fought with distinction and high casualties until the end of the war. Poland also fielded an airborne brigade that fought in Holland, and armored division that fought in France, and several infantry divisions that fought in Italy. Poland fought a little known war with the Soviet Union in 1919-1920 in which they embarrassed the Soviets and in particular Stalin, who would later get his revenge. When the Germans invaded Poland in 1939, Nazi propaganda portrayed them as easy prey, using cavalry against tanks and running from battle. To some extent, this vision of the Poles still is believed to this day. This book goes a long way to dispel that misinformation. Although greatly out-gunned, the Poles put up a valiant fight with antiquated equipment, killing over 16,000 German soldiers, destroying 1/4 of their tanks, and shooting down 1/5 of their planes. The Poles were still fighting hard when Stalin stabbed them in the back when he signed a pact with Hitler and invaded Eastern Poland. The Russians murdered thousands of Polish officers and soldiers in one of the most despicable acts of World War II that they never admitted until long after the war. Throughout their occupation during the war, the Poles had a large underground army (which the Allies did little to help) that continued to defy the Germans and were prepared to fight when the allies came to liberate Poland. The Poles actually helped the Soviet cause by subtle sabotage of the rail systems that impeded German troop and supply movements to the Russian front. Unfortunately, the only Allied army to arrive was the Soviet Army, and we all know what followed for decades. Even under the Soviet thumb, the Poles refused to give up their religion and national pride and shunned Marxism. Today, Poland is again a free country thanks to the Solidarity Movement and the collapse of the Soviet Union. I was outraged to learn the details of the disgraceful treatment of the Polish Nation by Roosevelt and Churchill. We sold them out at Yalta along with millions of refugees to please Stalin. After fighting and dying to preserve freedom, they had no free home to return to. Some returned to Poland where they were not well received by the Soviet's puppet government and others scattered around the world. The final insult after the war was the British victory parade in London. Not a single Pole was allowed to march for fear of offending Stalin. When the Poles arrived in Britain, they started out as distrusted, then they became heroes due to their air exploits, and finally they sank to outcast status. They deserved better treatment than they received, certainly more than our illustrious French allies.