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

Alexandra Richie
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
Price: £10.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

28 Aug 2014

The traumatic story of one of the last major battles of World War II, in which the Poles fought off German troops and police, street by street, for sixty-three days.

The Warsaw Uprising of August 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 decided to return to Warsaw bent on murder, deportation, and destruction.

This was the only time in history that a European capital has ever been emptied of its entire population and destroyed entirely. Hundreds were thrown from windows, burned alive, trampled to death. The murder of 40,000 innocents on 5th August was the largest battlefield massacre of the war.

But the Poles did not give in. Organized and popular, the Uprising, which had been expected to last under a week, fought off German troops including Himmler’s most notorious SS battalions street by street, for sixty-three days.

Using first-hand accounts, Richie charts the atrocities and the breakdown of SS morale, but she also goes on to examine the long-term implications of Stalin’s refusal to help and how the Uprising affected negotiations over the fate of post-war Europe, sowing the seeds of the Cold War. 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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Product details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: William Collins (28 Aug 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007180438
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007180431
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 4.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Product Description

Review

‘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 … Richie brings it magnificently alive’ Rodric Braithwaite, author of ‘Afgansty’

‘Beautifully written and judicious, this is by far the best account of the Warsaw Uprising to date' Christopher Szpilman

‘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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Racial War 10 Dec 2013
By Neutral VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars missing from history 13 Jan 2014
By Matthew H VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
An account of the polish uprising in Warsaw in 1944. Covers all bases from those involved on both sides to it's impact on the outcome of the war (none). This is history that is missed from general WW2 texts but it is a history that deserves to be told. Tens of thousands of people were killed and one of Europe's greatest capital cities completely destroyed.
The account is well researched (indeed, the author is related to people who were involved in the uprising and several other survivors make contributions) and well written although some parts are difficult to read. This is not a criticism; simply, some of the events are harrowing. At the end of the book's 600 or so pages I felt fairly exhausted but pleased I'd been able to add this history to my knowledge of World War 2.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Class History 27 Dec 2013
By Marham VINE VOICE
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent account 23 Jan 2014
By Michael Jenkins VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As my title suggests, this book is in my opinion the best account about the Warsaw uprising that I have yet read. This book can still be a difficult and harrowing read and does go into meticulous detail about some of the atrocities committed by the nazi regime, especially the Wola massacre were forty thousand men, women and children were slaughtered. The irony being that the Nazi's had already lost the war and used scant resources to go back and raze Warsaw to the ground, but were unprepared for the uprising from the Poles, who inflicted heavy casualties before succumbing to unbelievable weight of numbers and barbarities inflicted upon them.

There are some specks of humanity to be found, but they are few and far between. Sadly in my opinion we learn very little from war, any war.

The allies and the Soviet Union should have hung their collective heads in shame for their refusal to help, especially Stalin who refused to allow air drops from allied planes to aid the Poles.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent addition to the history of WWII 24 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Often overlooked this well researched and very well written book describes the appalling fate of the city and citizens of Poland's capital in 1944. No nation suffered as much as Poland during and after the war, lying as it did between two of the most brutal regimes in history. Britain went to war over Poland yet the Poles were not allowed to participate in the victory celebrations in London, so as not to offend Stalin. The numbers of people killed in combat and murdered in cold blood during the war are numbing: how can we in the cosy and peaceful 21st century in Europe have any concept of the deliberate killing of 300,000 people ? Yet millions of Poles lost their lives fighting to preserve their identity. The book describes in often harrowing detail the depravity to which humans will descend, while also describing the bravery, nobility and self-sacrifice to which others will rise. A fine document, well worth it's place in the pantheon of military history.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 3 months ago by Michael Robins
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 4 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 5 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 8 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 8 months ago by The Penguin
4.0 out of 5 stars The definitive book on the subject.
I have read many a book on the Warsaw uprising, ranging from Norman Davies Rising '44: The Battle for Warsaw through to the pulp fiction of Will Berthold Death's Head Brigade in... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Bobby Smith
1.0 out of 5 stars A Communist Perspective of the Warsaw Uprising?
If I had little knowledge of the Warsaw Uprising, I would have concluded after reading Alexandra Richie’s book that her account was superbly written, well researched and an... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Andrew Bilski
4.0 out of 5 stars Untold History
You may or may not have heard of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, if you had a modicum of history taught to you, you may be familiar with something about it. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Donald Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars An incomparable piece of research and writing.
One of the most amazing history books I've ever read. Brilliantly written, superbly researched, it puts you on the streets of Warsaw as the battle rages. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Stevie-Boy
5.0 out of 5 stars Warsaw Uprising in detail.
This is an excellent story of the Warsaw Uprising of August 1944. The author is a well respected historian and fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Stevetrumpet
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