The Eagle Unbowed

By Halik Kochanski,

Book cover of The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War

Book description

The Second World War gripped Poland as it did no other country in Europe. Invaded by both Germany and the Soviet Union, it remained under occupation by foreign armies from the first day of the war to the last. The conflict was brutal, as Polish armies battled the enemy on…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Eagle Unbowed as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This book is, I think, the cornerstone of understanding Polish history during WWII. Indeed, it is my ‘go-to' book before I even think about writing anything! It gives such a comprehensive view of all Poles – those forced into the Wehrmacht, those sent to camps, those sent out of their own country, and much, much more. When you have read this fact-based book, it gives you a greater understanding when you come to read historical fiction.

This is surely the best book ever written—or will probably ever be written—on the magnificent bravery of Polish troops facing the overwhelming might of the German army and especially of its bombers. Starting at dawn on September 1, 1939, and uncannily anticipating what Vladimir Putin is now doing to Ukraine, Hitler’s forces indiscriminately bombed every target they could find with no mercy for civilians, including of course women and children. Unlike Volodomir Zelensky, who now embodies the heroic resistance of Ukraine, the leaders of Poland fled soon after it was attacked. But Kochanski explains how many of its soldiers fought…

From James' list on the origin of World War II.

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