LECH WALESA AND HIS POLAND by Mary Craig

LECH WALESA AND HIS POLAND

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Here, Craig (Man From a Far Country, Blessings) delivers a substantial history of Poland and of Lech Walesa, the leader of Poland's ""moral revolution."" First published in 1986 in London, this American edition is updated with a postscript detailing the latest Polish political and economic developments, from the flourishing of localized ""alternative societies"" to the impact of Chernobyl. Craig points out that Walesa's name means ""to wander about,"" unlike most Polish names that refer to one's birthplace or vocation. Despite the name and the uncertainties of his life, however, Walesa is shown as a man securely anchored in his country's history and religion, enabling survival for himself and the movement. Craig offers a thorough grounding in the unique political, geographical, and religious aspects of Poland, and an intimate familiarity with Walesa, his family, and peers. This is not a simple black-and-white portrait. The complex interactions of East and West are told in sufficient measure, and differences and divisions within the Polish government, as well as within Solidarity, are recounted. Craig conveys an uneasy tension through her chronicling of Solidarity's pursuit of political goals via moral means, the only channel of change open to the Polish people. Craig's association with Poland extends back 20 years. Thus, her uncritical approach to Walesa is understandable, and offset by the at times critical peer judgments she reports; but in the end, Walesa remains as much an enigma as the future of his Poland. (The text is accompanied by 12 pages of photographs, ranging from Walesa's birth certificate to tanks in the street.)

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 1987
Publisher: Continuum