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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 December 2011
Why is this wonderful book not still in print? The story of what happened to Janina Bauman and her family after World War II, it paints a vivid picture of live in Communist Poland, and is fascinating both as an account of a turbulent period of history and as the story of a very interesting woman, and her husband (sociologist Zygmunt Bauman). Like a lot of Jews, Janina Bauman developed Zionist leanings after World War II and planned to move to Israel. But after meeting the man who was to become her husband, a committed Communist, she changed her mind and threw herself into the rebuilding of Poland. Before long, she'd found a job working as a script editor in Polish film, while her husband became a university lecturer. They had three children, and, though money was always tight, managed to build up a decent quality of life, while staying committed to the Communist party. But as the corruption within the Party grew, and as Russia (basically controlling Poland) became more hostile, life grew harder. Soon the Baumans were facing persecution because they refused to toe petty Party lines, and by the early 1960s anti-Semitism began to raise its ugly head again. Eventually the family left Poland for good. Janina Bauman's account of life in post war Poland is interspersed with her accounts of settling in England and finding a new 'way of belonging'. A beautifully written and constantly interesting book, and a wonderful expose of the horrors of Communist Poland (but also the bravery of many of the poor people working there), with some interesting insights into English life too, a moving love story and ultimately a very hopeful book, ending with the conclusion that what it really means to belong is to be loved. Perhaps Virago might consider a reprint in honour of Janina Bauman, recently deceased?
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on 4 April 2010
If you love WW2 history then you will like this book. Very informative about what it was like to stuggle and survive in Poland at the time.
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