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Rising '44: The Battle for Warsaw Hardcover – May 2004

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Books; 1st American Edition edition (May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670032840
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670032846
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 6.1 x 23.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,544,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

[Daviesa] knowledge and his passion are displayed in this notable book. His research among Polish and Soviet sources is exhaustive... (Max Hastings, "Sunday Telegraph" (London)) Praise for Norman Daviesas Europe: A History: aDavies reveals a comprehensive design, tremendous narrative power, a remarkable gift for compression, and a shrewd sense of overall balance.a ("The New York Review of Books") --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

The story of the Warsaw Rising from the the leading British authority on the history of Poland. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By BlackCat on 13 Feb. 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book has finally and definitively placed the Warsaw Rising of 1944 on the map of World War II. Norman Davies shows how the Rising, far too long overlooked, confused with the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, or downright forgotten, marked the start of the War's endgame, contributed to the shaping of post-War Poland and the division of Europe, anticipated the disintegration of the wartime Alliance and the fall of the Iron Curtain.
Norman Davis approaches the Rising from many angles: political and military, national and international, collective and individual. The author presents many a detail unknown or vaguely realized even by Poles, and explains how the Rising spawned persistent myths, both negative and heroic.
He does it all in an immensly readable style and innovative form, known from his previous work, inserting "asides" into the exhaustively researched and coherent narrative, free-standing testimonies by individual participants from all sides to illustrate their personal experience of the Rising and its aftermath, which he extends up to our own times.
Perhaps it may be too much to expect that Rising '44 should become a world bestseller, illuminating the subject for all and once for all, although the book certainly deserves it. But at least from now on there will be no excuse for those who pronounce on the subject, in or outside Poland, to misconstrue the facts and perpetuate ideologically-based misconceptions.
It would be petty to point out insignificant and inconsequential errors and omissions (very few and far between). However, one might question the stylistic device of weeding out and translating ALL but a handful of Polish personal and place-names.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Jay Orbik on 10 May 2004
Format: Hardcover
The only other work dedicated to the uprising that I could find available in English was T. Komorowski's "The Secret Army." This new book goes much deeper into the political dealings surrounding the decisions made and provides a much more comprehensive look at the subject using the latest and best sources currently available. I really liked this book. I have been a big fan of Norman Davies’ work for some time and I like some of the techniques he uses in the book, including the vignettes. But I absolutely hated his use of Anglicized names for the Polish proper names and place names. I found it completely distracting to have to refer to the appendices to find who or where he was talking about. I think it would have done a greater service to readers interested in Polish history to keep the names in Polish and cross reference them to English in the Appendix and not the other way around. A cross reference of the key players and their positions in the organizations would have been helpful as well. All in all I found the book to be an excellent read and I highly recommend it.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By bobm on 30 Jan. 2007
Format: Hardcover
A soul stirring book. A nation with along tradition of rebellion, the Poles were always going to rise..it was just a matter of when. The Germans seem to have known this and therefore meted out special treatment during their occupation.

All the various aspects of politics, planning, communication and intelligence are covered without any great emphasis on military technicalities.

The only real issue I have with the narrative is the use of "The resistance" to cover the AK. They were the "home army", a fully military force with "proper" ranks and organisation and fought in uniform. I feel "resistance" gives the general reader the impression of civilians with a gun.

When you read this and pick up on how Poles were fighting alongside their "allies" in Italy, Western Europe, with the Red Army (The polish paras were dropped into Arnhem whilst the rising was on...guess where they wanted to go! Read Poles Apart for their story) and yet so little positive help was extended towards Warsaw you feel humbled.

This book may just make you ask the next old chap you meet with a Polish surname "how did you get here?" and you may feel grateful to him for his sacrifice rather than maybe expect him to be grateful for being allowed to live here.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Feiraco on 10 July 2005
Format: Paperback
Davies is right in pointing to the fact that in the West there hardly has been recognizing for all what happened in the East during the Second World War. At least not during the Cold War. Of course the Allied governments never took responsibility for their failures concerning the `First Ally' (as Davies keeps referring to Poland in this way). But at least the destruction of Warsaw and the slaughter of tens of thousands of Polish citizens should have its place in history. Luckily, Davies has given it.
Whether or not the Polish should have risen in 1944, it once again showed their bravery. The Polish already made name during the Battle of Britain and were unfairly blamed by Montgommery for their Arnhem 1944 participation, despite their heroic effort near the Bridge. During the Battle of Warsaw they were outnumbered in quality and quantity against special German forces, but nevertheless kept them busy for two whole months! They could have been relieved by the Russians, or been helped more by the Allies, but that wasn't to be. The rising was smashed and Poland entered 45 years of communist terror.
And this latter subject is relevant, as Davies points out. The war hadn't a happy end for Poland in 1945: the horror simply continued. One third of the book is dedicated to the years after the final shot was heard, but I think it's relevant. It only describes better how tragic this Rising ended. Another third Davies dedicates to the build-up, but it completes the whole picture he wants to give. So, readers only interested in the actual fighting can find their satisfaction in two hundred pages. The remainder of the book only adds more drama to the story.
Finally, I share criticism about Davies handling the names of the Polish involved. He uses their `nicknames' to make them easier to remember, but I think he's wrong here. Let's hope a reprint will see this changed.
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