Books and Periodicals Received

Churchill: the End of Glory, by John Charmley. London. Hodder and Staughton. 1992. 649 pages. Hardcover. Ca. $45.00.

The thesis of this book is that "Churchill's preoccupation with Adolf Hitler's unconditional surrender led him into an appeasement of Josef Stalin." (William E. Schmidt, The NYT) The end of World War II could have been negotiated earlier and Yalta could have been avoided, Charmley contends, had Churchill stood firm. He was subservient to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his understanding of Britain's interests was faulty. The book is of great importance for the understanding of eastern European interests and how they were totally disregarded by those who made peace with Stalin in Tehran and Yalta. In the long run, this served western European interests ill. The post-World War II arrangements necessitated the spending of hundreds of billions of dollars in the Cold War arms race. A most interesting revisionist book about World War II.

The Adventures of Mr. Nicholas Wisdom, by Ignacy Krasicki. Translated by Thomas H. Hoisington. Introduction by Helena Goscilo. Evanston, Illinois. Northwestern University Press. 1992. xxvii + 148 pages. Notes. Hardcover. $29.95.

The first English translation of Przypadki Mikolaja Dosw iadczynskiego (1775). It is a pearl of a translation, well deserving of a literary prize. It reads as smoothly as if it had been written in English. Krasicki's novel rehearses the utopian genre popular in the Age of Enlightenment. It is poles apart from Voltaire's Candide though it superficially resembles it. A lot can be said about the Adventures, in addition to introductory information about Krasicki as a major representative of the Polish Enlightenment deriving from Swift, Voltaire, and Fielding. Krasicki's attempt to change his nation's self-perception might be an interesting line of research to follow.

Niewidomy z Betsaidy [The Blind Man from Bethsaida], by the Rev. Janusz Artur Ihnatowicz. Warsaw-Leszno. Lumen [1 Warszawska Street, 05-084 Leszno k. Blonia]. 1991. 84 pages. Illustrations. Paper. In Polish.

The most recent volume of poetry by a Houston poet and a University of Saint Thomas professor. It is generally kept in the minor key. Quite a few poems deal with the problems of death and dying. The point of view is that of a mature person who "sees through" the wiles and empty promises of you know who. The title is taken from the last poem in the volume dedicated to Pope John Paul II (in his earlier literary incarnation of Andrzej Jawien) and it is an intensely personal meditation on Mark's story of the blind man from Betsaida (Mk. 8:22).

My First Survival, or My Life in Poland and in the USSR, by Jan S. Kowal. Ann Arbor, MI. Jan S. Kowal Publications (533 Burnwood Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48103-3933, tel. 313-769-6980). 1992. 293 pages + Appendices. $19.95 postpaid.

This self-published piece of oral history is highly recommended to historians and sociologists seeking authentic documents about the fate of Poles under Soviet occupation in 1939-1945. The author was 17 when the Soviets invaded. He describes his father's arrest (the father, a policeman, perished in Katyn), his deportation to Kazakhstan with his grandmother, while his mother and sister stayed in hiding. No less vivid than Dostoevsky's Dead House. We know of no better description of the life on a collective farm in Kazakhstan, what with the lice, cheating, brutality, amorality and the milk of human kindness that accompanied it. The author shuns commentary and presents some typical and some untypical ways in which he and those around him were treated. Unlike so many heavily coached and edited "oral histories," this one is written by a working class person who is totally innocent of the broader political implications of his predicament. In a typical Polish Catholic fashion, he blames his fellow sufferers and himself more than he blames the Soviets or whoever else is to blame for what happened to 1.5 million Polish deportees to the Soviet Union, one-third of whom died before 1945.

Z Pomoca: Kanadyjski kwartalnik Komitetu Pomocy Polskim Misjom. [Helping Others: A Canadian quarterly published by the Committee in Support of Polish Missions]. Edited by Jan Wasaznik, Zofia Zawidzka et al. Vol. XVII, No. 4 (66) (December 1992). 36 pages. In Polish. $10.00 per year surface mail, $17.00 per year air mail in North America. Make out checks to St. Hyacinth Mission Fund, P.O. Box 3672, Station C, Ottawa ON Canada K1Y 4J8. The periodical is sent free of charge to those who mail a $20.00 donation to the Mission Fund.

Gives ample proof that Poles are fast replacing the Irish as Catholic missionaries to the world. Since they are so much more numerous than the Irish, their presence and influence will probably grow. Such conclusions seem obvious after perusal of this periodical chock-full of letters from Polish missionaries of both sexes, religious and lay, in Angola, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Togo, Zaire, Zambia, Argentina, Paraguay, New Guinea, India, and even from Ukraine. Other materials are taken from the Polish language edition of L'Osservatore Romano and other publications. One of those cheerful little magazines which makes knowing the Polish language worthwhile.

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