The Eagle Unbowed : Poland and the Poles in the Second World War

The Eagle Unbowed : Poland and the Poles in the Second World War

Book - 2012
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Harvard University Press

The Second World War gripped Poland as it did no other country in Europe. Invaded by both Germany and the Soviet Union, it remained under occupation by foreign armies from the first day of the war to the last. The conflict was brutal, as Polish armies battled the enemy on four different fronts. It was on Polish soil that the architects of the Final Solution assembled their most elaborate network of extermination camps, culminating in the deliberate destruction of millions of lives, including three million Polish Jews. In The Eagle Unbowed, Halik Kochanski tells, for the first time, the story of Poland's war in its entirety, a story that captures both the diversity and the depth of the lives of those who endured its horrors.

Most histories of the European war focus on the Allies' determination to liberate the continent from the fascist onslaught. Yet the "good war" looks quite different when viewed from Lodz or Krakow than from London or Washington, D.C. Poland emerged from the war trapped behind the Iron Curtain, and it would be nearly a half-century until Poland gained the freedom that its partners had secured with the defeat of Hitler. Rescuing the stories of those who died and those who vanished, those who fought and those who escaped, Kochanski deftly reconstructs the world of wartime Poland in all its complexity-from collaboration to resistance, from expulsion to exile, from Warsaw to Treblinka. The Eagle Unbowed provides in a single volume the first truly comprehensive account of one of the most harrowing periods in modern history.

World War II gripped Poland as it did no other country. Invaded by Germany and the USSR, it was occupied from the first day of war to the last, and then endured 44 years behind the Iron Curtain while its wartime partners celebrated their freedom. The Eagle Unbowed tells, for the first time, the story of Poland’s war in its entirety and complexity.

Baker & Taylor
An all-encompassing account of Poland's experiences during and after World War II profiles the brutal conditions suffered by the country when it was invaded and occupied by two foreign enemies on multiple fronts, exploring how Polish citizens were trapped behind the Iron Curtain after the war for more than four decades.

Publisher: Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press, 2012
Edition: First Harvard University Press edition
ISBN: 9780674068148
Branch Call Number: 940.5343 KOCHA
Characteristics: xxxi, 733 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Notes: "First published in the United Kingdom by Penguin Books ... 2012"--Title page verso


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AbigailCurious Jan 13, 2016

I found this book immensely helpful for a research paper, although I don't know if it will be of general interest.

7Liberty7 Feb 12, 2014

What a comprehensive book on my lovely country and her people during WWII! One of few books dealing with the WWII period that I found interesting. After reading this book, you will walk away with the true fact that you CANNOT stereotype groups and people and associate particular actions with them--never, ever. Quite a few Poles, Russians, Germans, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Jews, Christians, atheists, etc. collaborated with the Nazis and Communists to betray and murder other Poles, Russians, Germans, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Jews, Christians, atheists, etc. Meanwhile, some Nazis and Soviets (as well as the average German and Russian) were, on the pain of death, alleviating the pains and suffering of the occupied, the exiles and the camp inmates. If we are to study history truly and honestly, we must be sure to see the actions of individuals--good and bad--as their own and not that of the group to which they belong. Not all the Nazis and Soviets were bad, and not all the Poles, Jews, Russians, Ukrainians, etc. were innocent (as is so commonly thought). This book clearly shows this.

Jun 15, 2013

The book takes as its subject the fortunes of all people who were living on Polish territory at the start of the Second World War, be they ethnic Poles, Jews, Eastern Slavs or Germans. Although herself a British woman of Polish descent, she is remarkably objective in telling the story of Polish citizens in the war.

People like myself who have read a lot of Russian and Ukrainian history but nothing directly about Poland will be especially fascinated by the chapters on the Poles held captive in the Gulag, and on what amounted to a civil war in the Polish territ ories east of the Curzon line.

I was quite unaware before I read this book of the vital Polish contribution to breaking the Nazi military codes, without which the Second World War might well have been lost. Ms Kochanski also clears up the story everyone has heard about Polish cavalary assaulting German tanks at the beginning of the war. (It didn't happen that way, and the Germans had their own cavalry at the start of the war, which also tussled with Polish horsemen.)

The events described are sometimes inspring, sometimes disgusting, but the author always arranges her material to inform and not, as another might have done, simply to shock. For such a grim period of history, it is also occasionally a funny book, as Ms. Kochanski has a knack for finding the telling anecdote, whether humorous or not


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7Liberty7 Feb 12, 2014

7Liberty7 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


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7Liberty7 Feb 12, 2014

An objective book dealing with the trouble, triumph, and fate of Poland and those living on Polish territory shortly before, during, and a bit after the Second World War.


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7Liberty7 Feb 20, 2014

"Poland has not yet died while we still live..."


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