THE LIBERATION OF ONE by Romuald Spasowski

THE LIBERATION OF ONE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

On December 19, 1981, the Polish Ambassador to the US faced the TV cameras and announced that he had become a defector because martial law had been imposed on his native land. Spasowski has now written his life story: the spiritual and intellectual journey of a boy who grew up to become a dedicated communist, who rose high in the ranks of the party and who eventually came to believe that the creed to which he had dedicated his life had turned Poland into a ""colony"" of Soviet Russia. It was his father, a professor and political theorist (The Liberation of Man), who imparted to Spasowski a profound belief in Soviet-type socialism. In a last letter before taking poison during the grim, chaotic days of the Nazi occupation, the older Spasowski charged his son to remain ""true to our ideology--one whose goal is the complete liberation and unification of all working humanity."" But, even as he achieved greater and greater eminence in postwar Poland, Spasowski became increasingly convinced that Soviet-style communism was enslaving rather than liberating the Poles and that the creaking political system was essentially unworkable. His tales of bureaucratic bungling, obtuseness and hubris smack of the tragicomedy of Polish jokes. His wife, Wanda, a devout Catholic, hated the system and his role in it; his 15-year-old son--unable to resolve conflicts between his own idealism and his father's hypocrisy--committed suicide. In the 60 years before his defection, Spasowski had led a remarkably full life. His youth during WW II has some of the horror of Holocaust! As an army lieutenant, he served with the Polish military mission during the Nuremberg Trials, was ambassador to Argentina, India and (twice) the US. Before his final posting, he became Deputy Foreign Minister--one of Poland's highest offices. He knew Gomulka, Gromyko, Castro, Kennedy, Indira Ghandi and Juan Peron. He tells his life story with passion and conviction, but with a wicked eye for the ridiculous. At times, he sounds like Pasternak, at times, Dostoevsky. In sum: a compelling, chilling, illuminating story.

Pub Date: March 31st, 1986
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich