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The White Lake: Fighting for a Free Press, Justice and a Place to Call Home in the New Poland Paperback – 28 Feb 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Quartet Books (28 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0704373327
  • ISBN-13: 978-0704373327
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 1.9 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 526,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'An intriguing tale by a former foreign correspondent who followed his dream and built a hotel on a lake in a remote part of Poland. In the post-Communist era John Borrell found himself battling old style corruption and intimidation. As this elegantly written book shows, he eventually triumphed and continues to live the dream' --James MacManus, author of On the Broken Shore and Language of the Sea 'This is not simply another foreigner-makes-home-abroad story. Borrell was for many years a foreign correspondent for TIME and he writes with a reporter's keen eye for detail on his battle against corruption while building a lodge, and a new life, on a beautiful lake in northern Poland' --Alan Cowell, author of The Terminal Spy and New York Times Paris correspondent 'A deft weave of reporting, history and personal anecdotes, John Borrell's account of the travails, drama and misadventures of creating a luxury lodge in post-Communist Poland reads like a novel - one that could only have been lived, and written, by a consummate foreign correspondent' --Allen Pizzey, CBS News foreign correspondent

About the Author

British-born John Borrell grew up in New Zealand where he became a journalist, aged eighteen. He worked as a foreign correspondent for nearly three decades, covering wars in Africa, the Middle East and Central America for TIME and other newspapers and broadcasters. After reporting on the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, he gave up journalism in 1992 to build a new life on a lake in northern Poland. He and his Polish wife have run their award-winning lodge ever since. Borrell has also established three other businesses, including a local newspaper. He speaks Polish.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Read this after hearing of The White Lake during my visits to relatives in Poland. A great insight into the changes within Poland and the achievements of those who lived through them. The determined attitude to succeed is evident throughout, and the experiences relayed in a manner that shows the journalistic experience of the author.
If you have friends or relatives in Poland or you visit as a tourist, The White Lake helps to understand the changes, and appreciate the differences that remain.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
Poland revealed 25 April 2014
By JET - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
They say it takes an outsider to reveal the intricacies of a tight-knit community, and John Borrell's book strengthen's that axiom.
This is a compelling story of the emergence of inward-looking rural Poland from post-Communist torpor, told from the viewpoint of a skilled journalist seeking a new way of life by building a world-class country lodge on the shores of a beautiful lake.
His struggles against deeply conservative and corrupt local government seem extraordinary to those of us used to at least a measure of transparency in the way bureaucrats respond to entrepreneuriism.
Borrell's memories of his first chief reporter on a regional daily newspaper in New Zealand resonate with people like me who suffered similarly from the tyranny of newsroom practices in 1960s New Zealand. The lessons stay with us, and they are present in the clarity of his story-telling.
They boosted his chances of prolonged success as a foreign correspondent prior to settling in the remote Polish country-side not far from Gdansk, and underpinned a risky enterprise, starting a newspaper to reveal the venality of local politics. It was unheard of in a country resigned to corrupt relationships between officials and the media.
A terrific read.
Great reading. Quite uplifting to people beliving that democracy wins even in most rural places in Poland. 23 April 2014
By Roman rewald - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The White Lake is an excellent account of how some basic democratic freedoms were installed in a rural Poland after this country's transformation from a communist nightmare to a modern and a free market state, within the last 25 years. Most of the literature on the subject usually relates to Warsaw and other Polish big cities. John Borrell's book shows what it may take to bring some obvious civil rights and honesty in government relations to a small community, and how to reach out to the decency of local population with a simple free speech device. It also is a fascinating story told by a New Zealander investor (not a usual type in Poland) in a rough business environment of a budding market economy. Quite uplifting story, as John's impressive perseverance wins at the end. Some descriptions of Polish culture observations written in a succinct and witty language, are particularly precious to those who experienced similar impressions and now may verify them in John's writing. Highly recommended reading.
Four Stars 17 Sept. 2014
By yuko takizawa - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
v good entertaining n informative about the country
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