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Warsaw 1944: Hitler, Himmler and the Crushing of a City [Kindle Edition]

Alexandra Richie
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Book Description

As Antony Beevor cast new light on the Battle of Stalingrad, Alexandra Richie here unearths the traumatic story of one of the last major battles of World War II, in which the Poles fought off German troops, street by street, for sixty-three days.

The Warsaw Uprising of 1944 was a shocking event in a hideous war. This is the first account to recall the tragedy from both German and Polish perspectives and asks why, when the war was nearly lost, Hitler and Himmler returned to Warsaw bent on murder, deportation, and destruction.

For the only time in European history a capital was entirely razed. Hundreds were thrown from windows, burned alive, shot and trampled to death. 40,000 were murdered on 5th August – the largest battlefield massacre of the war.

Using the vast archive of her combatant father-in-law Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, Alexandra Richie interweaves testimonies from all sides. Charting the crimes of the SS and then their final break-down of morale, ‘Warsaw 1944’ reveals how the Nazis had hoped that Allied divisions over Warsaw would lead to a Third World War, while Stalin’s refusal to help changed the fate of post-war Europe. But above all else ‘Warsaw 1944’ is the story of a city’s unbreakable spirit, in the face of unspeakable barbarism.

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‘Unusually well-placed to research and rehearse the story of that terrible event … [Richie] offers a comprehensive narrative of the Polish experience’ Max Hastings, Sunday Times

‘Richie's detailed and sympathetic history … draws heavily on private archives and recounts many unpublished stories. Such survivors' testimony make it the definitive study of the uprising’ Economist

‘Chronicled with astonishing precision by historian and Warsaw resident … this grim and chilling book delivers exhaustive and unforgettable details of this gruesome chapter of World War II’ Publishers Weekly

‘A detailed, if harrowing, narrative history of the rising. Richie has mastered an immense range of material in both German and Polish … There are powerful first person accounts … impressively accomplished in terms of research and narrative … Readers … will gain an understanding of an extraordinary event’ BBC History Magazine

‘Fast-paced narrative history’ Observer

‘Most impressive. She explodes many myths, and is more balanced and judicious than some previous writers in her dissection of the difficult moral and military problems faced by the Poles, by their British allies, and even by the Russians who brought both liberation and a new subjection … Richie brings it magnificently alive’ Rodric Braithwaite, author of ‘Afgansty’

‘Must be the most detailed and harrowing account of the uprising staged by the Polish Home Army … ever published, and is likely to be of lasting value to scholars and general readers alike … this extraordinarily detailed account of a two-month bloodbath creates a vast monument to an often neglected event’ TLS

‘A sympathetic portrait of the struggle waged by Polish insurgents and the civilians caught up in it … As a detailed narrative of the brutal crushing of the uprising as seen through civilian eyes … ‘Warsaw 1944’ is an important contribution to a tragic literature’ Wall Street Journal

About the Author

Alexandra Richie is the author of the critically acclaimed ‘Faust’s Metropolis: A History of Berlin’. Dr Richie received her DPhil at St. Antony's College, Oxford, and was later a Fellow of Wolfson College. She has lectured on international politics and history across the world, from Warsaw University to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. She lives in Warsaw with her husband and two children.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3652 KB
  • Print Length: 753 pages
  • Publisher: William Collins (24 Oct. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00C4IQN1Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #140,723 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Alexandra Richie is the author of the critically acclaimed Faust's Metropolis: A History of Berlin. Dr Richie received her DPhil at St. Antony's College, Oxford, and was later a Fellow of Wolfson College. She has lectured on international politics and history across the world, from Warsaw University to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. She lives in Warsaw with her husband and two children.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Racial War 10 Dec. 2013
Hitler's foreign policy in Eastern Europe was designed to create Lebensraum (living space) for Germans to live and produce resources, primarily from agriculture, to support the expanded German nation. There were already 800,000 Germans living in Poland at the outbreak of war although these were small in number compared to the number of Ukrainians, Jews and Belorussians. Very few of the ethnic communities had loyalty to the Polish state created after the First World War at Versailles and in military conflicts with the Soviet Union and Lithuania. Internally, democracy collapsed in 1926 when Marshal Pilsudsky led a left wing coup and was the effective ruler for the next nine years. Immediately before his death in 1935 the April constitution was passed, increasing presidential powers, including the right to name a successor in the event of war. As such it served as the constitutional framework for the Polish government-in-exile which did not dissolve itself until the election of Lech Walesa in 1990.

The decision to remove 'Polish Warsaw' from the map was not new but was included in the Pabst Plan of 1939 which envisaged the obliteration of Warsaw and its replacement by a smaller town for the new German elite to live. Architects Gross and Nurnberger presented a full plan of the 'New German City of Warsaw' to Hans Frank in 1940. The Warsaw Uprising did not take place in a vacuum. The success of the Soviet Operation Bagration, the failed assassination attempt on Hitler's life and Model's counter-offensive provided the military and political background. Model stopped the Soviet advance in its tracks. Sadly, the AK's Warsaw commander misread what was happening and launched the AK into action prematurely.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Class History 27 Dec. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you have been to Warsaw you will have seen post cards showing the city before, during and after. This book is on similar lines. The "before" is the build up to the Uprising in Warsaw. Poland never surrendered and by 1944 the Home Army (AK) was 300,000 strong. There were very few collaborators with the Germans and unlike all other conquered countries there was no Polish SS. The AK was well organised but seriously lacking in weapons. This was the situation in the summer of 1944. "Warsaw 1944" builds up the situation brilliantly: you can see success was likely to be difficult. Poland was sandwiched between between two hellish regimes. As the Soviets advanced through East Poland they executed members of the LA. Thus the scene was set for the Uprising. The next stage in the book is the actual fighting in Warsaw and how the Germans dealt with this-by murder,rape, looting and arson. I found this part of the book almost too realistic as there are numerous descriptions at first hand . The fighting ceased after two months with a surrender negotiated between the LA and the Germans only to prove that the Germans were not to be trusted. This is a story of bravery, courage and honesty by the Poles let down by the Allies not only in their time of need but after the war. Alexandra Richie's prose is easy to read and the story flows faultlessly and logically in the time frame. The maps (so often a failing in historical works) are good. After reading this book I defy anyone not to admire the Polish people. A totally brilliant book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing account of the Warsaw uprising... 14 Jan. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It took me a while to read this, which is unusual for me. I was initially concerned that the objectivity of Richie may be compromised by her relationship to one of the protagonists, namely her father in law, whose archive is extensively used throughout the book. The more I read the more convinced I became that this was a skewed history of that time as large parts of the narrative simply ignored the motivation of all the protagonists to concentrate on the civilian experience and largely paint the home army as heroic. I add straight away to this observation that I feel that of all the peoples caught up in the Second World War the Polish people were probably the most hard done by in the European theatre and after reading several narratives about Poland at that time I have a huge admiration for their resilience and fortitude - Karski: How One Man Tried to Stop the Holocaust.

The Polish people were caught between a rock and a hard place in the Second World War. On the western marches you had Hitler and his fascist regime chomping at the bit wanting to get at the resources of the Soviets (Oil & Minerals), Danzig and the Baltic Ports and the 2nd Polish Republic was in the way, and to the east you had Stalin and the Soviet state that saw Poland as land up for grabs, if only as a buffer state; initially keeping Hitler at arm's length and then against the western allies once the war had run its course. In effect the Polish people and the 2nd Polish Republic were abandoned, to all intents and purposes, despite treaties and promises to the contrary. I know that Germany invading Poland took us formally into a state of war, but we effectively did nothing as they steamrollered east.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by Nicholas A.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Having been to Warsaw it was incredibly moving to read this detailed account of the uprising.
Published 4 months ago by Swifty
5.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a novel - a great insight into a forgotten past - but not...
What a great writer Alexandra is - she makes history flow just like a novel! If you ever feel down or trapped by life, then read this book. Read more
Published 4 months ago by D.Austin
5.0 out of 5 stars Betrayed, bombed and forgotten - not anymore!
I thought that I knew a lot about WW2. I KNOW A LOT MORE NOW!
This incredible story, of the Poles of Warsaw, during this war, begs to be read by ANYONE claiming an interest in... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent, would buy from again!!!
Published 5 months ago by Mrs J M Harris
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating page turner for anyone interested in the subject.
Well written, well researched, in depth and fascinating well worth it.
Published 12 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and Harriowing
Is this really what man can do to man? I am afaid that it is. Every politician should read it and digest its contents - there are better ways of settling disputers. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mr. John F. Marcham
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Written as Well as Informative.
I found this book very good read which for a history book can be surprising especially if the subject matter is of a serious nature as in this case. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Nicodemus
5.0 out of 5 stars You will be delighted you were not there
I have visited Warsaw twice recently on business. During the first visit I visited the military museum, then went to the rebuilt old town and walked from memorial to memorial. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Enquirer
3.0 out of 5 stars A food reader on the uprising but doesn't add much to the canon
This is an accessible and readable history of the uprising, which references its' sources well - and as such would be a useful start point for a new student of wartime Poland. Read more
Published 17 months ago by The Penguin
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