ISAAC'S ARMY by Matthew Brzezinski
Kirkus Star

ISAAC'S ARMY

The Jewish Resistance in Occupied Poland

KIRKUS REVIEW

The history of Polish Jews who fought Nazi brutality, retold in the stories of some truly remarkable young men and women.

Journalist Brzezinski (Sputnik and the Hidden Rivalries that Ignited the Space Age, 2007, etc.) presents a meticulous, harrowing account of resistance, humanized with personal tales of individual combatants. As he writes, from the day the Germans set foot in the Polish capital, the brutality mounted. The Jewish quarter was walled off, and the inhumanely crowded ghetto was established. Naked bodies were soon found throughout the quarter, which was infected with typhus as well as blackmailers and profiteers. But there were partisans, too. As deportation to death camps increased, there was frantic organizing and smuggling. Travel to the “Aryan” side was forbidden yet accomplished through disguised tunnels. Finally, in the spring of 1943, after 400,000 Jews were dead, the uprising exploded. In the lead-up to the Uprising, the resistance had established lines of communication and financing for a few guns, and leaders stepped up to organize the logistics and tactics. Escape, through fetid sewers or inhospitable forests, was rare. Aided by anti-Semites, the Wehrmacht and the particularly brutal SS were powerful and efficient. However, as recalled by survivors, there was support by some righteous gentiles. In his valuable text, Brzezinski impartially describes the political interplay of factions of resistance fighters, even when the city of Warsaw was utterly destroyed on orders from Berlin. The struggle continued as survivors fought their way to Israel. “In Poland,” writes the author, “Jews now had only a past. The future had been erased.”

A well-told, direct story of endurance and courage in the face of death and destruction on an apocalyptic scale, as moving and powerful as any novel.

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-553-80727-1
Page count: 496pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2012




NEW & NOTABLE NONFICTION: OCTOBER 2012:

Nonfiction A FREE MAN by Aman Sethi
by Aman Sethi
Nonfiction EMPIRES, NATIONS, AND FAMILIES by Anne F. Hyde
by Anne F. Hyde
Nonfiction FORMER PEOPLE by Douglas Smith
by Douglas Smith
Nonfiction HELL-BENT by Benjamin Lorr
by Benjamin Lorr

MORE BY MATTHEW BRZEZINSKI

NonfictionRED MOON RISING by Matthew Brzezinski
by Matthew Brzezinski
NonfictionFORTRESS AMERICA by Matthew Brzezinski
by Matthew Brzezinski
NonfictionCASINO MOSCOW by Matthew Brzezinski
by Matthew Brzezinski

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionMEMOIRS OF A WARSAW GHETTO FIGHTER by Simha Rotem
by Simha Rotem
NonfictionA SURPLUS OF MEMORY by Yitzhak Zuckerman
by Yitzhak Zuckerman
NonfictionDEFIANCE by Nechama Tec
by Nechama Tec