Rising '44: 'The Battle For Warsaw' by Norman Davies - review by Richard Overy

Richard Overy

A City Up In Arms

Rising '44: 'The Battle For Warsaw'


(Macmillan 752pp £25) order from our bookshop

A FEW WEEKS ago I made my first visit to Warsaw. It looks much like any other Central European city: an inner town of old squares, palaces and cobbled marketplaces , and an outer ring of modern high-rise blocks and advertising hoardings, with the Palace of Culture, the one obtrusive piece of Stalin Gothic to remind visitors that Warsaw was a 'people's democracy' in the Soviet bloc for forty-five years after the end of the Second World War.

The unwary traveller would take it all at face value, yet the whole inner city, lined with sombre, dark streets, narrow alleyways and courtyards, is a fraud. In 1944, the city was razed to the ground as comprehensively as any in the path of Dark Age barbarians or the Golden

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