Adam LeBor

Not All it Seems

The Polish House: An Intimate History of Poland

By Radek Sikorski

Weidenfeld & Nicolson 304pp £20 order from our bookshop

I began reading this book with a sense of trepidation, expecting a triumphalist tome churned out by another right-wing émigré, crowing over the collapse of the Soviet Union and its former satellite states. The prologue, set in Kabul and Angola, confirmed my fears. Radek Sikorski, Polish-born, Oxford-educated, journalist and war-groupie of such outfits as the Afghan mujahideen and Jonas Savimbi’s UNITA guerrillas in Angola, stamps his politics clearly on the very first page. ‘Giant transport planes approached to land in a tight corkscrew, spreading decoy flares like sparklers, terrified of our missiles,’ he writes of the Soviet withdrawal from Kabul.

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