Books and Periodicals Received

The New Military in Russia: Ten Myths that Shape the Image, by Richard F. Staar. Annapolis, Md. U.S. Naval Institute [2062 Generals Hwy, Annapolis, MD 21401]. 1996. 240 pages. Maps, Charts, Tables, Appendices, Notes, Bibliography, Index. $16.95.

Drawing on foreign and American sources, this authoritative study of the military establishment in Russia refutes the claim that Russia's military is under civilian control. The August 1991 coup, the October 1993 mutiny, and the pacification of Chechnya after December 1994 demonstrate that the opposite is the case. The author further contends that the new military doctrine proclaiming the absence of enemies is contradicted by the document itself, which includes a list of perceived threats to Russian interests.

The author maintains that military reform has not taken place, as shown by the Russian inability to form new mobile forces, continued production of chemical and biological weapons, and the November 1995 violation of the convential arms reduction treaty. The need for hard currency has forced Russia to sell many of its most advanced weapons abroad. Russia still maintains an advanced R & D capability, demonstrated by the recent test launches of a new ICBM named Topol-M that is to replace obsolescent strategic weapons.

Arguing that a Russian national security concept does not yet exist, the author presents possible scenarios for the future that include a civil war between the regular armed forces and the presidentÕs elite troops resulting in a military dictatorship.

The appendices provide biographical sketches of 82 generals and admirals who have held command positions, as well as information on the Russian newspapers and journals cited in the text.

Jak rozbic rosyjskie imperium? Idee polskiej polityki wschodniej, 1733-1921. [Decolonization and the Russian empire: Polish Political Thought on the Eastern Question, 1733-1921], by Andrzej Nowak.Warsaw. Warszawska Oficyna Wydawnicza Gryf [ul. Jana Pawla II 68/53. Warszawa]. 1995. 280 pages. Index of names. ISBN 83-85209-45-X. Paper. In Polish.

The book begins with a description of Sir Halford Mackinder's memorable remark that whoever controls Eastern Europe controls the Eurasian heartland; whoever controls the Eurasian heartland controls entire Eurasia, and whoever controls Eurasia controls the world. Nowak wrestles with the key problems of modern strategy that have been discussed by, among others, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Henry Kissinger. After surveying Polish-Russian exchanges in the eighteenth-century, he analyzes the thought of Adam Czartoryski, Zygmunt Krasinski, Henryk Kamienski, and Jozef Pilsudski, thus demonstrating that the problem which Mackinder articulated a century ago was known to Polish thinkers ever since the German and Russian empires came into direct contact over the politically weak Poland.

The Forgotten Few: The Polish Air Force in the Second World War,by Adam Zamoyski. New York. Hippocrene Books [171 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016]. 1995. xi + 239 pages. Index. Bibliography. Maps and photographs. Hardcover. $24.95.

The legendary Squadron #303 is well known in Poland, and Poles justly take pride in it. Yet it operated exclusively in Great Britain. It was one of the 14 squadrons of the Polish Air Force reconstituted in the West after the Nazi-Soviet ganging up on Poland in September 1939, when the country was divided between the two totalitarian powers. In 1941, the Polish Air Force was larger than the combined air forces of the French, Dutch, Belgians and other European Allies operating from Britain. Some 17,000 men and women passed through its ranks in Britain alone. They played a crucial role in the Battle of Britain in 1940, and later contributed significantly to the Allied war effort.

The Polish Air force shot down 745 enemy aircraft, with another 175 unconfirmed, destroyed a further 25 on the ground and damaged 259. They flew a total of 102,486 sorties, at the cost of 1,973 killed and 1,388 wounded. They won 342 British gallantry awards and 15 American ones. Yet the Poles were excluded from the Victory Parade held in London on 6 June 1946 and they were called "Polish fascists" by Clement Atlee government, anxious to establish harmonious relations with Stalin. A 1946 Gallup poll revealed that 56% of Britons favored deporting the Poles to Soviet-occupied territories. So much for British gratitude (havenÕt the Poles learned a lesson from Sobieski's exploits at Vienna in 1683?) The contribution of the Polish Air Force to victory in World War II was never rewarded by the Allied Powers, other than with words and decorations.

A well written book, recommended for history and culture courses. A longer review to follow.

The Lesser Terror: Soviet State Security 1939-1953, by Michael Parrish. Westport, CT. Praeger Publishers [38 Post Road, Westport, CT 06881]. 1995. Hardcover. $66.00.

Basted on glasnost revelations and recently released archival materials, the study covers the operations of Soviet state security from Beriia's appointment in 1938 until StalinÕs death. The book pays particular attention to the career of V.S. Abakumov, head of SMERSH counterintelligence during World War II and minister in charge of the MGB (the predecessor of the KGB) from 1946 until his removal and arrest in July 1951.

The author argues that terror remained the central feature of Stalin's rule even after the "Great Terror," and he provides examples of how Stalin micromanaged the repression. The book catalogs the major crimes committed by the security organs and the leading perpertrators, and provides evidence that the crimes were similar to those for which the Nazi leaders were punished after the war. Subjects covered include Katyn and its aftermath, the arrest and execution of senior military officers, the killing of political prisoners near Orel in September 1941, and the deportations of various nationalities during the war. The post-war period saw the "Aviator" and "Leningrad" affairs as well as the "anti-cosmpopolitan" campaign whose target was mainly Jewish intellectuals. Later chapters cover Abakumov's downfall, the hatching of the "Mingrelian" and DoctorsÕ plots and the events that followed Stalin's death. Finally there are chapters on the fate of those who ran StalinÕs machinery of terror in the last 13 years of his rule. These and other topics will be of concern to all students and scholars of Soviet history and those interested in secret police and intelligence operations

Russia: Continuation or Turning Point? Edited by Wlodzimierz Bonusiak and Kazimierz Z. Sowa. Trans. by Igor Burchanow and Ewa Gawron. Rzeszow. Wydawnictwo Wyzszej Szkoly Pedagogicznej [35310 Rzeszow, ul. Rejtana 16B, skr. poczt. 155]. 1955. 228 pages. Paper. ISBN 83-86246-91-X. $6.00.

A collection of seven essays on various aspects of Russian economy, politics and history written by Polish and British scholars. The cautious consensus seems to be that Russia is inevitably marching toward disintegration, what with the increasing ethnic awareness in the republics, increased economic independence of same, and electronic communications enabling citizens to by-pass Moscow in their contacts with each other and the outside world

"Jan Matejko's Sobieski at Vienna," by Danuta Batorska. Monumenti Musei e Gallerie Pontificie: Bollettino. Vol. XV (1995), 285-316.

A detailed and scholarly description of the genesis and artistic process which led to the creation of one of Matejko's greatest paintings, now at the Vatican Galleries. Probably the definitive work on this painting for years to come.

Undue Influence: The Epic Battle for the Johnson & Johnson Fortune, by David Margolick. New York. William Morrow & Co. 1993. 624 pages. Index. Hardcover. $23.00.

In addition to detailing the struggle between Barbara Piasecki Johnson, Seward Johnson's second wife, and his children from the first marriage, this massive volume unselfconsciously displays all the signs of anti-Polish discrimination in the American media. While the Johnson family is given the benefit of full biographies including childhood pictures (they tend to predispose the reader favorably to the persons in question, as well as letting them speak in their own voices), Ms. Piasecki Johnson is made to stand alone, without the benefit of an articulate family, circle of friends, a charming childhood, or first-hand information about the experiences of her youth. If the author cared for parity, he would have taken the trouble to research Ms. Piasecki JohnsonÕs early years. Instead, they are mockingly summarized in a couple of pages. But a trip to Poland to gather fair evidence, an effort to learn the language or to hire a reliable translator, are not what the author in pursuit of a scandalous topic was willing to do. Thus the volume, while pretending to be objective, is by the very nature of evidence presented tilted against Ms. Piasecki Johnson.

With this book as evidence, a prima facie case could be made about the belittling and patronizing attitude which the publishing establishment in this country has toward Poles and Poland. If Ms. Piasecki Johnson were a black woman, writers would not dare treat her with the condescension demonstrated in the book under review. If she were a politically correct feminist, a case would have been made on the pages of the NYT or some other such publication about the author's patronizing of women. The trivialization of the Piasecki family saga under Nazi and Soviet occupation is particularly disgusting. The belittling of Our Lady of Czestochowa in the authorÕs Preface contributes to the impression of bias and prejudice. This tome was written by one of those apparently publicity-greedy journalists who prey on people surpassing them in fame and fortune.

Other Books Received

For Whom There Is No Room: Scenes from the Refugee World, by Eileen Egan. New York - Mahwah, NJ. Paulist Press [997 Macarthur Boulevard, Mahwah, NJ 07430]. 1995. v + 375 pages. Hardcover. $19.95.

The tales of refugee misery all over the world, with some attention paid to East Central Europe. A powerful book, guaranteed to further sensitize people who are open to the needs of others.

Frywolny Prometeusz: szkice i felietony [A Frivolous Prometheus: sketches and columns], by Ryszard Legutko. Krakow. Wydawnictwo Arcana. 1995. 136 pages. Paper. In Polish.

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