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The Peasant Prince: Thaddeus Kosciuszko and the Age of Revolution Paperback – 5 Sep 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Saint Martin's Press Inc. (5 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312625944
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312625948
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 775,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A sweeping, colorful, and absorbing biography that should restore Kosciuszko to his proper place in history. NEWSWEEK --Newsweek

The first comprehensive look at a man who once famously symbolized rebellion. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY --Publishers Weekly

About the Author

ALEX STOROZYNSKI is president and executive director of the Kosciuszko Foundation. Also a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, he was an editorial board member at the New York "Daily News"," " the founding editor of "amNew York"," " and a former city editor and contributing editor to the "The New York Sun." He lives in West Orange, New Jersey.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Josephine on 17 April 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you can deal with the vernacular style and an occasional minor mistake (Dubno and Dubinka transposed on one occasion), the book is a good biography. Unlike other books on Kosciuszko, which tend to focus more either on his American career or on his Polish career, this book balances both quite well. Kosciuszko's significant contribution to American War of Independence is well presented. An interesting aspect of the story is the contrast between the American War of Independence and the Polish wars of 1792-1794 explaining well why Poles failed where Americans succeeded: Americans were up against relatively small British armies (1500-7000 men) while Russia alone invaded Poland in 1794 with an army of 94,000.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard Berkeley-Dennis on 7 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This hard to put down scrupulously researched history of a fascinating time both in America and Poland is by far the most colourful and readable from the Polish perspective of any book I have read. Alex Storozynski is a master storyteller.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 79 reviews
64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
Awesome "historical action book", superb biography 15 May 2009
By Pawel Stefanski - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As the author, Alex Storozynski, points out in his tour speeches - this book is not about "Kosciuszko Bridge", "Kosciuszko Mustard", "Kosciuszko County", or any other of several dozens of "Kosciuszko" names, scattered throughout America. It's about the real guy, who lived in one of the most dynamic periods in the modern history - and (before the age of jet travel, mind you!) shuttled back and forth between Europe and America, managing to substantially contribute to the success of the American Revolution, organize his own (ultimately - failed) uprising in Poland, spend some time in jail in Russia, emigrate to America, then go back to Europe to continue his lifelong struggle for Poland's independence. Far ahead of his time in his efforts to free slaves in America, and end the serfdom in Europe, this champion of "liberty for all" died in Switzerland in 1817. While his body was buried in the Wawel's castle in Krakow a few months after his death, his heart was returned to Poland in 1919, only after the country regained its independence in 1918. At mere 280 pages, with 50+ pages of extensive references and bibliography, this extremely well-written book is a fast paced read, which brings to life and to well deserved spot-light one of the greatest, yet so little known, freedom fighters of all ages! See also YouTube video ([...]) of Mr. Storozynski, discussing this book at the Polish Embassy in May, 2009.
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
History comes alive and takes you by the hand... 13 Jun. 2009
By RPS - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I was amazed at the thorough research conducted by Alex Storozynski, and enjoyed reading the entire work. In the intro Storozynski mentioned that he wanted the true person of Kosciuszko to be portrayed, and not just a eulogized image, and that purpose was most definitely fulfilled. You meet a real a man with a real human nature, someone you can identify with, and also greatly admire because of his nobleness of purpose and his perseverance to his ideals of equality for all humanity, and the freedom he desired for his homeland, Poland. My only problem with the book, was there were a few times that I wanted to know `more' and I can easily see how the book could be twice its length! I don't know how long Storozynski spent conducting research and writing, but his depth of knowledge of Kosciuszko and Polish history is evident. I also really enjoyed Storozynski's `word-smithing' that was evident throughout the book, from the chapter titled `Napoleon comes up short' (gotta love that one!) to "It would be sixty years before the healing powers of the fountains of Lourdes would first mystify southern France, yet when Kosciuszko's ship docked nearby at the port of Bayonne on June 28, 1798, he cast aside his crutches and stood up on his own." Being much more than just a list of facts in chronological order, Storozynski's book brings you face to face with real people. He not only brought the person of Kosciuszko alive to me, but I also enjoyed meeting others... I didn't realize that Niemcewicz was such a blabber mouth and tried to ride Kosciuszko's coat tails. And Chief Little Turtle's advice on having an affair with Catherine was priceless. Jefferson came alive, as did others, like Ludwika his first love. I had no idea that Kosciuszko's will (the purpose of which was to free and educate African slaves in America) never materialized after his death. I also had not realized the Washington/Lafayette vs the Jefferson/Kosciuszko connection and found that thought-provoking as well.
And I really enjoyed reading about the last part of his life. In my own studies on Kosciuszko, I had not come across any more than `he spent the last years of his life in Switzerland with the Zeltner family.' I love the prayer that he wrote during his last years... there was just so much that I enjoyed reading and discovering about Kosciuszko that my own copy of Storoznski's book The Peasant Prince has many `dog-eared' pages so I could easily find this or that fact that fascinated me about this great man's life. This book will captivate anyone who wants to read the life story of a true hero; his trials, triumphs and temptations: and be inspired!
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
A beautiful insight into one of America's most underappreciated heroes... 19 May 2009
By Paul C. Martin - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A self-admittedly poor writer, Kosciuszko left this earth as perhaps the most accomplished free-thinker of the past three centuries to have done so without so much as leaving even a brief personal memoir. Had he been even an iota more prolific, it would be the ultimate "no-brainer" that Kosciuszko, the hero of Poland, would have stood the test of time in being held to equal esteem alongside the great heroes of the American Revolution (and not just a once-or-twice mentioned minor figure in our collective secondary school / collegiate US history classes). Thankfully, we have the author's painstaking research in putting together this volume to remind us all that true greatness, however buried under the sediments of history, is eternal.

Though the volume is often uneven and is quite liberal with the time-line of events in the subjects life, it is, overall, one of the most entertaining, fascinating, and comprehensive nonfiction personal histories I have ever read. It reads as if it was made for the silver screen. Having read the all-too-brief chronicle in a single rainy day (sitting on a spot this great man may very well have trodden on over two centuries ago), I became increasingly skeptical an official biographer sitting across from the man for years could have put together a better picture of this most complex of men.

Of course, anyone who is interested in the singular cult of hero-worship of Kosciuszko and his involvement in the American and/or Polish Revolutions will love this book. For the casual reader, however...if you appreciate the best that a fallible human being can become, through uncompromising humility, thoughtfulness, work ethic, zest for knowledge, compassion, and dedication to his fellow man, you will enjoy the story of Thaddeus Kosciuszko...for it is the American story.
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
A Fascinating Man 22 Jun. 2009
By J. J. McCarthy - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I recently saw the author do a book reading on C-SPANs Book TV and was so impressed that I immediately went out and purchased the book. When I got home I realized that I had actually purchased a signed copy. How lucky can you get? I finished the book while on vacation in 4 days. I live in Troy, NY and have traveled many, many times over the Thaddeus Kosciuszko bridge. I knew very little of the man but one of the engineers who built the bridge was a friend of my father's so for most of my life it was Mr. White's bridge. The opportunity to find out about the man who had a bridge named for him intrigued me. I have read other books on the American Revolution but never learned so much as I did when I read this book. As the book closed on the American Revolution, I had to admit that I wasn't sure the rest of his story would hold my attention. I was wrong. Never before had the story of Poland and Europe been explained in such a way. My history teachers did a poor job of relating such interesting facts and people. I don't think the story of Thaddeus Kosciuszko was ever taught. How could he be left out of any story of the world's history at that time? What a noble and fascinating human being. I often wonder where our great thinkers and leaders are now. We seem overwhelmed with public figures who are all about greed and self promotion. Are our schools presenting history with the attention it should be given in the classroom? Are we presenting the facts and human drama that shaped the course of the world in a way that our young people can make the link between the past, the present and the future? I'm not so sure but I do my part by trying to educate myself and pass on what I learn. This book has done a lot to help me with my very minor effort to enlighten whoever will indulge me as I relate the stories I read. The story of Thaddeus Kosciuszko has given me a lot to talk about as I sit with my children and try to "turn the light on".
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
"The Peasant Prince: Thaddeus Kosciuszko and the Age of Revolution" 2 Jun. 2009
By Anna Bonney - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The biography of Kosciuszko called, "The Peasant Prince: Thaddeus Kosciuszko and the Age of Revolution" is a wonderful and very well written story of a Polish rebel who joined the Continental Army during the American Revolution and helped win the Battle of Saratoga.The author,Pulitzer Prize wining journalist,Alex Storozynski "painted" a great picture of a hero who fought for the rights of many people including black slaves,white peasants serfs,Jews,Native Americans, and women.This is also a well crafted and fact filled story in which reader can find out how Kosciuszko built West Point, which the traitor Benedict Arnold tried to hand over to the British,and how he left a last will with Thomas Jefferson which said that the money should be used to free slaves. This book is easy to read for anybody and definitely is a MUST READ literature.I am strongly recommending this fascinating story build on true,historical facts.
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