Having been brought up in the Polish community in Birmingham amongst brave Polish men and women who survived the attrocities of WWII I have always been a little concerned by the fact that their courage and strength, and the plight of the Poles under occupation in general never seems to receive any coverage. As a result, this book was something of a gem of a find. Dr Lukas tackles the subject matter in a thorough yet sympathetic manner, redressing some common misconceptions without preaching or laying any blame.
The book deals with the tragedy that befell the Polish nation during the war - an umbrella term which covers, as it should, not only ethnic Poles, but the Jews, Gypsies, and other ethnic minorities which made up the fabric of the country at the time. By not focusing on any one group in particular, as previous works have done, Dr Lukas offers a far broader picture of the state of the country at the time. He gves a rare insight into the interaction of the persecuted ethnic groups and gives credit where credit is due to the bravery of various people at the time, regardless of race.
The way Dr Lukas deals with the political issues is thorough, yet succinct enough for someone like myself, who is not that politically minded to be able to follow and understand without getting bogged down. He remains impartial and objective throughout, which is important as it lends a far greater sense of credibility to the work. This is reflected in the extensive bibliography which shows the amount of research that went into this book.
For someone with prior knowledge of the subject, this book will serve to clarify and enlighten even further. For the reader who thinks that the Holocaust was a purely Jewish phenomenon, or that the Poles during wartime were an anti- Semitic race, this book will be an eye opener. A must read for anyone with any interest in the subject.