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Publisher's Summary

After a brief revival following World War I, during which it successfully defeated a Soviet attempt to invade in an effort to carry "international revolution" into Germany and Central Europe, Poland once again fell victim to its neighbors in 1939. Adolf Hitler's Third Reich and Josef Stalin's USSR collaborated in the conquest and then split Poland between them.
The Germans instituted oppressive rule in their portion of Poland, executing some 7,000 people on political grounds and imprisoning thousands of others. One and a half million Poles became forced laborers in Germany, and though seldom noted, the Soviets applied equally brutal methods in their sector, executing 22,000 Polish officers at the Katyn Forest Massacre. NKVD death squads murdered 40,000 civilians and deported 1.4 million people to Siberia and other remote areas, from which a sizable percentage never returned alive.
As the Soviets began to push the Germans back west, the Red Army plunged headlong into Poland in late June 1944, on the heels of German Army Group Center's retreating forces. The British urged the AK to cooperate with the Soviets, but the Russians wanted Poland and treated the Resistance as enemy partisans. The NKVD arrested AK members by the thousands, executing their leaders out of hand.
By late July the Polish government in exile thought it was time to order the AK to lead an uprising in Warsaw. The sight of German units retreating and Soviet tanks seen on July 31 very close to the city prompted the order to openly retake Poland's capital for the nation. Unfortunately it was a decision also predicated on a naively optimistic faith in Anglo-American support.
As a result the Poles fought bravely but futilely in August and September against the Nazis, and the Nazis, as they so often did, mercilessly destroyed the city causing the trouble. Heinrich Himmler, the head of the notorious SS, told his men, "The city must completely disappear from the surface of the earth and serve only as a transport station for the Wehrmacht. No stone can remain standing. Every building must be razed to its foundation." In fact the Germans had intended to destroy Warsaw from the beginning of the war, and they were terribly successful. One Allied pilot recalled, "There was no difficulty in finding Warsaw. It was visible from 100 kilometers away. The city was in flames, but with so many huge fires burning it was almost impossible to pick up the target marker flares." It's estimated that up to 200,000 Poles were killed in the process, and to top it all off, the Soviets arrested and executed countless more after the Nazis were finally gone.
©2016 Charles River Editors (P)2016 Charles River Editors
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 10-21-17

don't bother

If you cannot even learn to provide the proper pronunciation of elements of the book, then you really have no business writing on the subject.

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1 out of 5 stars
By R. Klein on 09-18-17

Very badly produced

Despite the fact that this book is filled with facts and the story of the Warsaw Uprising, I was so disappointed because of the terrible production/editing quality.

The problem really is the editing. Every breath has been edited out. Every pause between sentences has been removed. Except for the very brief pauses between chapters, this is one, long, droning read. I am not referring to hearing the reader take a breath between sentences. There is no pause at all between sentences. You can hear how it was spliced, and you will also catch several repeated sentences - another sign of bad editing.

I didn't mind that the reader mispronounced a number of words. However, listening, even for just a couple of hours, to a continuous string of words is difficult. I found myself constantly having to go back and listen to passages because I simply couldn't keep up with deciphering the words from the drone it created.

The droning is not dissimilar - at least for me - from being inside a MRI unit, listening to the continuing, droning banging that just plays continuously and starts to create it's own sing-song effect within your head.

The content of the book covers some background describing the various vicissitudes suffered by Poland at the hands of it's neighbors, its re-emrgence as a democratic state after WW I, and how the Germans invaded in 1939. It delves deeply into the military aspects of the taking of Poland with details such as the military commanders, the troop movements, military strategies, the materiel of war - models of tanks, guns, and aircraft used by all sides in the war. It covers, as well, atrocities committed, and the way the German Nazis and Soviet Commumists both tried to destroy the country.

I was surprised that the book did not include or discuss the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

If you're interested in the details of the battles, the kinds of equipment employed in the battles, and how the Poles were hung out to dry by the Allies, you may enjoy reading this book. I can't imagine you'd enjoy listening to it.

Otherwise, I think the book The Pianist, or the film by the same name, the true life story of Władysław Szpilman, or The Zookeeper's Wife, another true story of the siege of Warsaw. would provide a much better sense of the period, and the terrors inflicted on Warsaw and the Poles during WW II.

Despite this book having some important content, I'm afraid I can't recommend it.

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