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Warsaw 1944: The Fateful Uprising Hardcover – 24 Oct 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 752 pages
  • Publisher: William Collins (24 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007180411
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007180417
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 5 x 23.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 161,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


‘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‘Richie's detailed and sympathetic history … draws heavily on private archives and recounts many unpublished stories.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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Neutral VINE VOICE on 10 Dec. 2013
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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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 his book based on the Dirlewanger gang of criminals, but this tops the lot. One cannot fail to be moved at the atrocities that litter the book throughout, as the Germans slaughter and rape their way through Warsaw. The author, understandably, lets her emotions through on occasions, but this lends the book a more personal flavour as the average reader would share her indignation at the events she describes in detail. I liked the way that she put the uprising in its correct context, by devoting a sizeable chunk of the book to cover Operation Bagration and the German resistance to the Russians. Of course, Stalin was perfectly happy for the Germans to destroy the AK army before the Russians 'liberated' the Poles and the author clearly shows how the Russians contributed to the ultimate failure of the rising. She also covers events after the rising, be they the taking of the city by the Russians, or the cynical way in which the German leaders cheated the gallows after the war - especially the odious von dem Bach-Zelewski. Anybody interested in the subject would also love the series Days of Honor / Czas honoru --- Season 2 (BOX 4 DVD) as it depicts the Polish resistance to the Germans throughout the war. Series 7 of this outstanding series will deal with the Uprising and should be essential viewing.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Warsaw Uprising began on 1st August 1944 and lasted for 63 days as the Polish Home Army [Armia Krajowa] fought to liberate Warsaw from Nazi occupation. Betrayed by Stalin, whose nearby forces refused to help the Poles for political reasons, and let down by the allies, the AK were finally forced to surrender on 2nd October 1944. By then, tens of thousands of people had lost their lives and the city was in ruins. However, as Alexandra Richie points out in her introduction to this well-researched and detailed account of the events of 1944, despite the destruction of Warsaw being one of the greatest tragedies of WWII, "after 1945, the Polish capital's terrible ordeal virtually disappeared from history". This, she believes, was because the Warsaw Uprising was essentially the first battle of the Cold War and, once the Second World War was over, it was not in the interests of either the Soviets or the Allies to dwell on what had happened to the Polish capital in 1944.

The book is based primarily on an archive given to the author by her father-in-law, Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, who had participated in the Warsaw Uprising as a young man and went on to become the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs after the end of communism. Over a period of eight years Richie used the authoritative contents of the archive to weave together this comprehensive account of the Warsaw Uprising and the subsequent destruction of the city at the hands of the notorious SS Dirlewanger and
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