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Rising '44: The Battle for Warsaw by [Davies, Norman]
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Rising '44: The Battle for Warsaw Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Review

"Davies reveals a comprehensive design, tremendous narrative power a remarkable gift for compression, and a shrewd sense of overall balance."

Should be compulsory reading... Rips away at many of our lazy assumptions about the outcome of the Second World War. ("The Guardian", London)

"Should be compulsory reading... Rips away at many of our lazy assumptions about the outcome of the Second World War." The Guardian, London

[Davies ] knowledge and his passion are displayed in this notable book. His research among Polish and Soviet sources is exhaustive... Max Hastings, Sunday Telegraph (London)"

John Crossland, Sunday Times, 2 November 2003

'Passionate and impressive'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5380 KB
  • Print Length: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Reprints edition (4 Sept. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003GUBIO8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #222,728 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book has finally and definitively placed the Warsaw Rising of 1944 on the map of World War II. Norman Davies shows how the Rising, far too long overlooked, confused with the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, or downright forgotten, marked the start of the War's endgame, contributed to the shaping of post-War Poland and the division of Europe, anticipated the disintegration of the wartime Alliance and the fall of the Iron Curtain.
Norman Davis approaches the Rising from many angles: political and military, national and international, collective and individual. The author presents many a detail unknown or vaguely realized even by Poles, and explains how the Rising spawned persistent myths, both negative and heroic.
He does it all in an immensly readable style and innovative form, known from his previous work, inserting "asides" into the exhaustively researched and coherent narrative, free-standing testimonies by individual participants from all sides to illustrate their personal experience of the Rising and its aftermath, which he extends up to our own times.
Perhaps it may be too much to expect that Rising '44 should become a world bestseller, illuminating the subject for all and once for all, although the book certainly deserves it. But at least from now on there will be no excuse for those who pronounce on the subject, in or outside Poland, to misconstrue the facts and perpetuate ideologically-based misconceptions.
It would be petty to point out insignificant and inconsequential errors and omissions (very few and far between). However, one might question the stylistic device of weeding out and translating ALL but a handful of Polish personal and place-names.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Curiosity made me pick up Rising 44. I was born after the war, but I remember my parents telling me that there was a rising in Warsaw in 1944 but that it failed because the rising was sold out by the Russians. Having read the book I can't escape the conclusion that Poland was screwed by everyone, the British, the Russians and the Americans.
In part one, Norman Davies does an in-depth study of the history leading up to the rising. He thoroughly discusses all the political factions and their various aims and political manoeuvrings. Following this network can be a bit confusing but Norman Davies manages to explain the complexity of the matter in readable style. His naming Poland as "The First Ally" in the first part of the book does become a bit tedious but I suppose he does it to remind his western audience of the fact.
The Rising is similarly accounted in detail. It was sold out by Russian opposition to the whole undertaking and American indifference. It would appear that the Rising and ultimately Poland was sacrificed over the larger picture of winning the war against Nazi Germany with the Allies cuddling the Russian bear, sometimes, to extremes.
Part three deals with the aftermath. Having opposed the Rising in the first place the Stalin-installed Polish Government went after the survivors of the Rising. To me personally this is the most tragic part of the book. Instead of receiving gratitude and honour for rising against the oppressor, there is only the torture chamber and prison. The people who staged the Rising have only really come into their own since communism fell in 1989.
I like Norman Davies' use of capsules. When you read the book you will do yourself a favour if you read the capsules as you progress through the book.
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Format: Hardcover
The only other work dedicated to the uprising that I could find available in English was T. Komorowski's "The Secret Army." This new book goes much deeper into the political dealings surrounding the decisions made and provides a much more comprehensive look at the subject using the latest and best sources currently available. I really liked this book. I have been a big fan of Norman Davies’ work for some time and I like some of the techniques he uses in the book, including the vignettes. But I absolutely hated his use of Anglicized names for the Polish proper names and place names. I found it completely distracting to have to refer to the appendices to find who or where he was talking about. I think it would have done a greater service to readers interested in Polish history to keep the names in Polish and cross reference them to English in the Appendix and not the other way around. A cross reference of the key players and their positions in the organizations would have been helpful as well. All in all I found the book to be an excellent read and I highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was born after the war, and have, I suppose, an average amount of knowledge/ignorance about it. I had some awareness of the Ghetto Uprising, but had never heard of the Warsaw Uprising until I visited Warsaw with my Polish son in law. He explained in simple terms what had happened in 1944 as we walked round the city centre and the restored 'old town'. I was returning to Poland this summer, shortly after the release of the paperback edition of this book, so could not resist taking it with me.

This is a mammoth book. Really it is more than one book. The Warsaw Uprising is at its centre, but it would also serve as a good general introduction to the Second World War in Europe as well as the Cold War that followed and the recent emergence of modern Poland. It is thoroughly reseached with a great variety of sources, and written in a very readable style.

Davies seems to have a mission to tell the world about Poland. He loves Poland and the Poles love him. (During my recent visit he starred on at least two current affairs TV programmes, speaking perfect Polish of course.) This, together with the passionate pro-Polish stance of the book, makes me wonder whether it is as balanced as it is possible to be, but never mind. Who wants a fence sitter, anyway?

The descriptions of the fighting, the backstage political machinations of all the allies, and the great variety of individual characters involved are gripping. The book is long but not tedious; I was left with the feeling of having read several books and of having learned a lot about a subject that is more interesting and more central to the story of modern Europe than I had ever imagined.

I had one or two beefs about the style and layout.
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