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Warsaw 1944 Hitler, Himmler, and the Warsaw Uprising

Alexandra Richie

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

0374286558

9780374286552

Hardcover

752 Pages

$40.00

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In 1943, the Nazis liquidated Warsaw’s Jewish ghetto. A year later, they threatened to complete the city’s destruction by deporting its remaining residents. A sophisticated and cosmopolitan community a thousand years old was facing its final days—and then opportunity struck. As Soviet soldiers turned back the Nazi invasion of Russia and began pressing west, the underground Polish Home Army decided to act. Taking advantage of German disarray and seeking to forestall the absorption of their country into the Soviet empire, they chose to liberate the city of Warsaw for themselves. 

Warsaw 1944 tells the story of this brave, and errant, calculation. For more than sixty days, the Polish fighters took over large parts of the city and held off the SS’s most brutal forces. But in the end, their efforts were doomed. Scorned by Stalin and unable to win significant support from the Western Allies, the Polish Home Army was left to face the full fury of Hitler, Himmler, and the SS. The crackdown that followed was among the most brutal episodes of history’s most brutal war, and the celebrated historian Alexandra Richie depicts this tragedy in riveting detail. Using a rich trove of primary sources, Richie relates the terrible experiences of individuals who fought in the uprising and perished in it. Her clear-eyed narrative reveals the fraught choices and complex legacy of some of World War II’s most unsung heroes.

REVIEWS

Praise for Warsaw 1944

"Deeply moving . . . 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." —The Wall Street Journal

"I did not think that a new book on the Warsaw Uprising would be able to say much that was new. I was completely wrong. This will be the definitive work on the topic for many years to come."—Antony Polonsky, author of The Jews in Poland and Russia

"This beautifully written and judicious work is by far the best account of the Warsaw Uprising to date. Drawing upon a wealth of archives and interviews, Alexandra Richie meticulously traces the shocking details of the uprising from its planning stages to its sad end. The book vividly and in great detail describes the heroism and suffering of the people of Warsaw in their struggle against the Nazis without neglecting to address wider issues such as the causes of the uprising, Stalin's criminal refusal to assist it in any way, and the equally criminal Anglo-American unwillingness to put pressure on Stalin. This is required reading for anybody interested in the history of the twentieth century." Christopher W. A. Szpilman, Professor of Modern Japanese History at Kyushu Sangyo University, and son of Wladyslaw Szpilman, survivor of the Warsaw Uprising and author of The Pianist

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

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1
BYELORUSSIAN PRELUDE
 
 
Scipio finding no sort of discipline or order in the army, which Piso had habituated to idleness, avarice, and rapine, and a multitude of hucksters mingled with them, who followed the camp for the sake of booty, and accompanied the bolder ones when they made expeditions for plunder without permission. (Chapter XVII)
The Bandit Wars
‘Before battle,’ the Soviet journalist Ilya Ehrenburg wrote, ‘there is a period of great stillness – nowhere is there such a stillness as in war.’ In the spring of 1944 Germany waited,
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Alexandra Richie

  • Alexandra Richie is the author of Faust’s Metropolis, a comprehensive cultural and political history of Berlin that Publishers Weekly named one of the top ten books of 1999. She currently lives in Warsaw with her husband, Wladyslaw Bartoszewski.

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