Recommended by Michael Szporer
According to the documents from secret archives examined by Richard Pipes in The Unknown Lenin, the invasion of ethnic Poland by the Soviets was in the works, and Polish invasion of Soviet Ukraine in April 1920 only gave the Soviets a pretext. Galicia was to become a springboard for the invasion of England and Germany by the Red Army in support of an expected proletarian revolution. Seen in this light, Pipes argues, Jozef Pilsudski's counteroffensive launched in August 16, 1920 and the Miracle on the Vistula were "indeed one of the decisive battles of world history." Interesting and highly recommended reading.
Recommended by Ted Mirecki
A popular, not academic, history of a fascinating and relatively little-known time in Poland's history, the 20-year period of independence between the two World Wars. The major characters in the narrative (and it is more narrative than historical treatise) are the stuff of legend: US President Woodrow Wilson; the celebrated musician and politician Ignacy Jan Paderewski; Pilsudksi, the towering figure who dominated the period as the architect of this part of Polish history; his political arch-rival Roman Dmowski; Britain's Lloyd George and Chamberlain; France's Clemenceau; and of course, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and their henchmen. The author's sympathies obviously lie with Poland, and he expresses his admiration at the emergence of this vibrant state in the face of opposition from almost all the European powers. The one drawback is that Watt's research is based mostly on material from the Pilsudski Institute of the Polish Government in Exile in London, so that some of the stories of the political maneuverings are excessively on-sided. Still, a highly worthwhile account available nowhere else in English.
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