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The Catalpa Rescue. Kokoda Updated Edition. The Gulag Archipelago The Histories Penguin Classics. Meditations Penguin Classics. The Republic Penguin Classics. Blitzed Drugs in Nazi Germany. A New History of the Irish in Australia. Natives Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire. Item Added: A Question of Honor. Not always comfortable reading, though the writers also inject moments of humor, of compassion, or small victories. It's important reading, lighting up a part of history that was hidden for half a century. It's only by understanding where we've been and learning from it that we can prevent it from happening again.
Feb 16, Donna rated it it was amazing. These brave, well-trained pilots first had to overcome British misgivings and condescending attitudes about their capabilities and prove their mettle, which they did quickly and decisively. For a while, they were feted throughout Britain but their celebrity was short-lived. The thousands of Polish military refugees who made it to Britain as well as the millions in the resistance within Poland had one goal - to free their homeland. They looked to their allies - first France, then Britain and eventually the United States to stand with them in this effort.
Another excellent history by Olson, this one co-written with her husband. Very highly recommended. The back cover says it best: " The authors not only write about the pilots involved in WWII, but give background history to place the events in context. I was angry and shamed by the attitudes of the The back cover says it best: " I was angry and shamed by the attitudes of the US and Britain toward Poland.
And impressed by the strength and dedication to freedom by the people of Poland. This was one of the most enlightening, educational, and valuable books I have read. Mar 26, Steven Z. It is a wonderful narrative that encompasses the plight of Poland that historically has been in the crosshairs of Germany and Russia resulting in its disappearance as a nation in , only to reappear after World War I.
The authors develop the poignant story of the Polish flyers in the context of Polish history. They tell the personal stories of these men and their role in saving the British during the Battle of Britain. There is really nothing new in terms of the duplicitous and disingenuous behavior of Franklin D. Roosevelt during the war as he tried to implement his vision of a postwar Europe by playing into the hands of Joseph Stalin.
All the familiar topics are discussed in detail including the murder of Polish officers by the Soviet Union at the Katyn forest, the failure to assist the Polish Home Army in its attempt to throw off the Nazi yoke in Warsaw in , and the failure of the British to honor and support those who had assisted them when they were in dire straits in The book is well researched and brings to its pages a story that during the war and well into the Cold War was buried for fear of upsetting the Soviet Union.
This is a story that needs to be told and the truth about the plight of Poland during and after the Second World War provides insights into the behavior of the major personalities who were responsible for events.
May 27, Pramodya rated it it was amazing. What an incredible wealth of information this book was One of the best books I've read. The tumultuous, horrendous, heroic and romantic history of Poland is not something that many people are aware in todays world, and what an eye-opening insight did I have while reading this book.. But it starts with the dawning of ww2 in when hitler and his ar What an incredible wealth of information this book was But it starts with the dawning of ww2 in when hitler and his armies invaded Poland, which gained their freedom as a free nation only after the conclusion of the ww1.
Armed with a long and tiring history of being occupied by either USSR or Germany for many of its existence, it was the first country to be run over by the powerful and unstoppable nazi reich. It was the first country to resist the german onslaught and is the country that suffered the most under the germans.
The records of loss of lives, infrastructure, land as well as the acts of heroism and resistance shown against the nazis by the Poland is unparalleled to any other occupied country during and after the ww2. Mondays he shoots Dutchmen. Wednesdays, French or Belgians stand against the wall. Thursdays, it's the Czechs who must suffer, and now there are Serbs and the Greeks to fill his repulsive bill of executions.
But always, all days, there are the poles. Hitler personally, was enraged by the sheer amount of resistance shown by the poles and reserved specific brutal methods to handle the poles and singled them out in the inhuman treatment of millions of polish citizens. Unable to fight in their own country, the polish soldiers of its air force, navy and army travelled thousands of miles around the world to other countries to fight in foreign soil against the germans.
Never did they fail to believe in their dream of getting their country back from the hands of the germans, while going to great lengths to help other allied countries in the hope of freeing their own. The records of achievement by the polish forces involved in the allied offences are unparalleled to any other country. While their own countryman and families were being burdened, murdered or tortured under the nazis,they gave their hearts,souls and their lives to the allied countries fight for freedom in the hope that they will be repaid back with the freedom of their own.
This was most boldly shown by the polish fighter pilots who defended the UK in the battle for Britain. These polish pilots were considered by many to have been the best and most skilled fighter group in the RAF. Poland also had the most largest and active resistance army out of all the occupies nations. Many, if not most, Poles met the resistance's expectations and then some.
The home resistance army also played a huge part in providing refuge and safe passage to the many jews in Poland and those who escaped the ghettos. Of the 40 countries whose citizens are cited as "the righteous among nations", Poland ranks FIRST, even though only in Poland were citizens immediately executed if caught helping jews. Poland, which was the first to rise against hitler and his armies, Poland whose soldiers gave their lives in foreign lands in the name of freedom to their motherland, Poland whose citizens suffered and lost the most, whose citizens rose against the germans time and time again, were abandoned by it's own allies- US and great Britain.
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They were merely handed in a platter by the allies to Stalin in order to apease him and his red army as the Soviet union was heavily involved in the allies fight against Germany at that point. Occupied Poland lived by faith in the Allies, in Churchill and Roosevelt' It would be long before they would be free again.
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View 2 comments. When my Polish friend insisted that I read this book, I responded with a bad joke. How do you stop a Polish tank? Shoot the man pushing it And I've always copied my dad's passionate argument about how the French and Polish rolled over to Hitler and the holocaust.
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But Olson easily swats these common misconceptions aside. Poland was the only nation in WW2 that was defeated and occupied by Hitler--and still never surrendered or negotiated a German-approved government a la Vichy France.
Poland When my Polish friend insisted that I read this book, I responded with a bad joke. Poland was conquered in little over a month, but this is something that should elicit support and sympathy rather than disgust. Poland was one of the first nations invaded in WW2.
It had been an independent nation only since WWI, its military was terribly overmatched in the face of Hitler's massive, cutting edge military, and perhaps as Olson argues its Allies were more keen on appeasing or preventing war Hitler rather than coming to Poland's defense.
And despite Poland's defeat, thousands of Polish fighters continued fighting. Most escaped to England, and the most famous of the bunch were the Polish pilots of the Kosciuszko Squadron.
Polish pilots helped defend England in the crucial early months of the war the Kosciuszko Squadron had the most kills during these early months. Polish pilots helped the Allies win the Battle of Britain. When the English feared, and Hitler hoped, that an invasion of Britain was imminent, hundreds of Polish pilots helped prevent this.
The sad second half of this story is dedicated to explaining how Poland then became a Soviet satelite. How the cold, realistic realism i know that's redundant of the US and UK led them to in some ways sell-out their friendship and alliance with Poland. This was a very good book. I didn't think I'd really go for the personal-story part of the book that deals with the lives of the fighter pilots.
Books that deal with brotherly comraderie and chummy tales seem sort of lame on the surface. But there's a ton of depth, a ton of courage and a ton of sadness to these stories. People fighting for the idea of a nation through the help and facilitation of Britain. It's a story I didn't know much about, and I appreciated learning. As with most books I enjoy, it makes me want to read more. I'd like to read more books on World War 2.
A sad, dizzying time that is beyond my imagination. The daring and commitment of the Polish pilots in WWII makes all the more shameful degree to which the Allies sold-out Poland is laid bare in this book, and it is a good antidote to the usual WWII history hoakum claims that Poland should bear a great responsibility for her own fate claims which come at least in pa Very interesting book about not only the exploits of the Kosciuszko Squadron, but also an overview of the particulars of how Churchill and Roosevelt sold-out Poland to Stalin in WWII.
The daring and commitment of the Polish pilots in WWII makes all the more shameful degree to which the Allies sold-out Poland is laid bare in this book, and it is a good antidote to the usual WWII history hoakum claims that Poland should bear a great responsibility for her own fate claims which come at least in part from US and UK acceptance of Soviet propaganda in the name of "allied unity" during WWII. Even people who are not normally interested in WWII may find this easy to read, engaging book an interesting read.
Dec 14, Numidica rated it really liked it. That said, the contribution of the Polish pilots to the Brits winning the Battle of Britain was immense. It can reasonably be postulated that the Brits would have lost the battle without the contributions of the Poles, and this is not something generally taught in history class. Olson also points out that Poland was the only country This is the fourth of Lynne Olson's books I've read, and much of the information in this book about Polish fliers in the RAF was covered in Last Hope Island as well.
Olson also points out that Poland was the only country conquered by the Germans which never stopped fighting, and which never had a collaboration government like Vichy in France or Quisling in Norway. The Poles fought from start to finish, with almost no help from the Allies. Indeed, Churchill and Roosevelt sold out the Poles in order to appease Stalin, which was always a fool's game, but FDR was too naive to know it. Or maybe his judgment was impaired by poor health and approaching death.
Stalin viewed any appeasement as weakness, and it just made him more demanding. It was unlikely that a D-Day style landing could have been effected in Poland, but at least the Polish Airborne Brigade could have been parachuted in, and supplies could have been dropped to the Polish Home Army in the Warsaw uprising. Instead of doing that, the Allies wasted air force resources on raids of extremely questionable value while the Poles died in Warsaw in the uprising. By contrast, the bravery of the Poles in taking on the Germans is breathtaking and tragic, and it should be remembered better than it is in most histories.
After the Russians overran Poland, the US and UK shamelessly made haste to recognize Stalin's puppet Polish government and to throw overboard the legal government-in-exile of the Poles in London.
Of course, by then there was nothing the Americans or Brits could have done to affect the situation, even if they were so inclined. Even if it was doomed to failure, and it is not completely clear that it would have been, the Anglo-Americans should have made a real effort to support the Poles in , and even try to fight their way to their aid either through the Baltic Sea or via air drop.
The Poles deserved that much; to go down fighting with real support from their allies. The air drop aid that was provided was so little, so late that it was almost an insult. View all 5 comments. I always had a thing for Poland Now I know why. I consider myself quite well informed on the events of the Second World War, but this story--a story of a nation who would not die--really shred through any illusions I had. The story unfolds organically and reads like fiction, though through it all, you realize what you're reading is the truth the truth always feels different, doesn't it?
And then you s I always had a thing for Poland And then you sleep a restless, troubled sleep, full of dreams of Golden boys who burst with pride and romance and who desire one thing only and that is to free their most beloved home, and in this dream, you witness the boys epic courage and chivalry and watch as they fly side by side with France and England and join the ranks of the RAF and die and bleed for their ideals. And with hope and pride you hear the promises of Churchill and FDR and you sigh with relief, but then out of the corner of your eye, you see him coming, big bad Uncle Joe and his Red Army and you pray someone will remember his pledge to Poland and you toss and turn and watch with horror as everything is forgotten--sacrifices and gifts swept under the thick carpet of cowardice--and you witness the world leaders, the Big Three, as they meet in the desert and write history, write a map Write off Poland.
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