Connaissant un peu les écrits de Norman Davies et ayant entendu beaucoup de bonnes opinions sur "Rising '44", je m'attendais à beaucoup mieux.
En effet, mis à part les chapitres introductifs qui offrent un bel aperçu et des informations intéressantes sur la Pologne d'avant-guerre (notamment sur le sujet des relations entre Polonais et Juifs) et sur le rôle des Polonais durant la Seconde guerre mondiale, on y apprend que très peu de choses sur l'Insurrection de Varsovie elle-même. Une personne avec un soupçon de connaissances sur l'histoire de la Pologne trouvera ces informations d'une valeure minime car la masse de détails fait que l'on a du mal à les retenir et une personne qui ne s'y connait pas n'y comprendra rien.
D'autant plus que le livre est écrit dans un style monotone qui rend sa lecture je dirais très... ennuyante. L'idée d'angliciser les prénoms et noms polonais et même les pseudonymes des résistants ne fait qu'ajouter à la confusion.
En bref, je déconseille ce livre; si vous n'êtes pas exceptionnellement motivés pour aller au bout de ces quelques centaines de pages, il est peu probable que vous finissiez ce livre.
Je pense que ce livre n'est susceptible de plaire qu'aux étudiants ou aux historiens spécialisés dans la seconde guerre mondiale en Europe centrale.
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52 internautes sur 53 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Warsaw Rising in full historical context28 juillet 2004
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There are a number of reasons why I rated this newest book by Norman Davies with all 5 stars. Not necessarily in this order:
1. "Rising '44" is an excellent read, thrilling, captivating, entertaining at times, surprising and emotionally engaging. It's the style, typical of Norman Davies that keeps the reader in suspense at all times, in need to hear and learn more and more.
2. The subject of this book, the rising against the Nazis in Warsaw in late summer 1944 is a relatively little known, or forgotten (outside of Poland), yet one of the most tragic, episode in the entire history of World War II. Just like the whole world must know about the extermination of the Jews, a part of which was the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943, the entire world, too, should know about another part of Holocaust, the immense suffering, and injustice, inflicted on Polish people.
3. Norman Davies did an extensive research, both in the West (Great Britain, USA) and in the East (Russia), not to mention Poland itself, to reach previously unknown documents that might shed some new light on the whole context of the event. Several theories or, rather, suspicions were well established for years but... no conclusive proof. By his own admission Davies did not quite succeed in his effort; neither in Great Britain nor in Russia were all archives made available even this many years after the end of the War. Still, the broad political perspective surrounding the uprising, all those dealings behind the closed doors, that he was able to portray, are extremely enlightening.
4. And morally disturbing. Poland was the first country to oppose Hitler. Great Britain and France declared war on Germany to defend Poland and its sovereignty. Or, so they claimed. If the terrible defeat Poland suffered in 1939 were not enough, not only from the hands of the Germans, at the end of the day Poland was traded for Stalin's continued participation in the war. The moral standards invoked in September 1939 vanished by 1944, another quarter million people lost their lives, and Poland did not regain its independence... while the rest of the world celebrated victory over Nazism.
The story of Warsaw Rising 1944, as told by Norman Davies, is a persuasive one and unsettling. The perception of the whole "big politics" picture, long-standing stereotypes about high moral ground subscribed to by the Allies' leaders, most notably Roosevelt himself, during the war will be very likely altered. And more truth about the real nature of the Stalin's regime will be acknowledged.
There is one drawback with this book, already pointed out by others. Indeed, I find Davies' use of his own phonetic versions of names rather than actual Polish an odd one, silly and confusing. The reader from Toronto was quite right pointing out as baffling for Davies to believe "that his English-speaking readers, all of whom have an interest in Poland and Polish history (otherwise they would not be reading Rising '44), are incapable of dealing with the Polish language." This notwithstanding I would not go so far as to label this decision "an appalling piece of Anglo arrogance" (for this arrogance was directed at the "Anglos" themselves). For some peculiar reason Norman Davies simply "goofed up".
But other critical remarks, quite limited in number, are squarely off the mark. One reader complained about not writing on the subject of the more famous Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943. He must have missed few sections of the book for Davies gave a synopsis of the Nazi policy of extermination of the Jews and wrote about the Ghetto uprising itself; quite at length as a matter of fact.
45 internautes sur 48 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
My Mom was waiting 60 years for this book!8 août 2004
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I lost six family members during Warsaw Uprising in 1944. One of them was my grandfather. My Mom was only 7 when he was brought home dead from the streets of Wola district. The horror of this event is still vivid in my Mom's memory, now 67. The Warsaw Uprising was forgotten not because was unimportant or of small value but because it needed to be forgotten by those that were ashamed of not coming to the rescue. The helplessness of the Western allies was as painful as the betrayal of the Soviet Army. The 60-year "silence" was finally broken with Norman Davies book. 'Rising'44' is probably the best if not only book that describes the forgotten holocaust of Polish martyrs. Thanks to Norman Davies' book let's hope that no one will ever confuse 1943 Ghetto Uprising with 1944 Warsaw Uprising.
35 internautes sur 37 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
The best book on one of WW2's greatest tragedies26 juillet 2004
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Britain went to war in 1939 in order to defend Poland and we, the Western Allies, ended up betraying the Poles first to Nazi rule and then for the next 44 years to that of the USSR. How that terrible tragedy and betrayal happened is brilliantly portrayed in this superb, easy to read and wonderfully well researched book. Christopher Catherwood, author of CHURCHILL'S FOLLY: HOW WINSTON CHURCHILL CREATED MODERN IRAQ (Carroll and Graf 2004)
51 internautes sur 58 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
The second Warsaw Uprising4 juillet 2004
Frank J. Konopka
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The author of this work is very correct: most people think that the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 was the one and only in that city. Of course, the rising in 1944 was of much more consequence to the history of Eastern Europe, even if both were tragedies. This extremely well-written book outlines the history both before, during and after the '44 rising, and the great detail shows that there was a deliberate ignoring of the plight of the Polish patriots by their Western allies, with a stalling on the part of the Soviets until the rising was crushed by the Nazis. There were many political reasons for why both East and West acted as they did in relation to Poland, but knowing that does not excuse what was done to a brave little country that had the guts to stand up to the Germans, when all about them were caving in to pressure. The Western betrayal is the same as we read in the other recent book about Polish fighters in the war "A Question of Honor", and the harsh glow of history shines on what was not done, and what might have been done. There are vignettes inserted into the book which go into more intimate detail of the many aspects of the rising, from the point of view of participants on all sides. My one quibble was that the author used nicknames and such, rather than the real Polish names of the participants. I can understand why he did that, because Polish names are not the easiest to read or pronounce, but having grown up and gone to school with my fellow second and third generation Polish friends, I can surely pronounce them, and would have liked to see them set out in full. That, of course, does not detract from the impact of this work, and the genuine admiration the author shows for Poland and its people. I am proud to be of 100% Polish descent, and books such as this only reinforce that pride!
77 internautes sur 90 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Sick to death2 août 2004
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I am sick to death of comments on the Warsaw Uprising by individuals who do not know the facts and suggest it was somehow motivated by foolish romanticism. The Underground army in Poland was controlled by the government-in-exile in London. The highest powers in Britain and the United States knew the Underground's actions and its goals. Since 1941, the Underground army had been resisting the Nazis, but its main purpose was to stage an uprising at the right time. Such an uprising would not succeed without help from outside the country. Unfortunately, the only realistic candidate for such assistance was the Soviet Union. While the exiled Polish government discussed whether the time was right for a general uprising, Soviet radio broadcasts promised support to the Underground Army, both in men and supplies, and encouraged them to stage the uprising. The Underground Army was never warned by either the Americans or the British that the Soviets would not comply. So the Soviet divisions sat by and watched the slaughter. The Allies themselves were surprised but still did not understand that this signaled the beginning of the Cold War. Incidentally, there was a prominent Polish figure that was against the Uprising at this time: General Wladyslaw Anders. His army was composed of Polish refugees from Siberian labor camps. He and his army witnessed the Soviet nightmare firsthand and he warned the West and the Underground not to trust the Soviets. But neither listened as they could not comprehend the depth of the nightmare. Finally, are Americans Americans anymore? Is not the state motto of New Hampshire: "Live free or die?"