“Every single member of the Allied community [holds] a share of the responsibility” for the betrayal, Davies insists. And...




A thorough recounting of what the author considers to be “one of the greatest tragedies of the twentieth century”—and surely one of the most shameful betrayals in the world annals.

By Davies’s (History/London Univ.; The Isles, 2000, etc.) account, the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 has been all but buried in Western and Russian history books as a source of deep embarrassment. It is not to be confused, he hastens to add, with the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of the previous year, an attempt by Jewish partisans to break the Nazi stranglehold on the city. This uprising, equally heroic, involved elements of the underground Polish Home Army, working in collaboration with resistance units and commandos. They aimed to open a great battle within the Polish capital of Warsaw in support of the advancing Red Army, which by August of 1944 was nearing the banks of the Vistula River. They did so: 40,000 Polish fighters went up against a vastly larger German force. The occupiers were not exactly prepared for the uprising, though, as Davies notes, “Capital cities awaiting liberation were dangerous places. Everyone knew that something could erupt at any moment.” Astonishingly, the Red Army halted its advance, allowing the Germans to regroup and stop the uprising. Davies charts the course of that great betrayal, which he considers a deliberate effort on the part of the Soviets to crush the non-Communist Polish resistance—which had been highly effective against the Nazi enemy, responsible for the assassination of “a whole grisly gallery of SS and Gestapo men” as well as the deaths of hundreds of ordinary German soldiers. But he also implicates the other Allies; even though Churchill had proposed sending Stalin a message saying, “Our sympathies are aroused for these almost unarmed people whose special faith has led them to attack German tanks, guns, and planes,” in the end the West did nothing to save the Home Army.

“Every single member of the Allied community [holds] a share of the responsibility” for the betrayal, Davies insists. And here he issues a resounding indictment.

Pub Date: May 10, 2004

ISBN: 0-670-03284-0

Page Count: 784

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2004

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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