Day: October 20, 2008

Warsaw 1920, a quality read

Eoin Purcell

European Wars
I’ve just finished Warsaw 1920 by Adam Zamoyski (responsible for an interesting recent history on the 1814 Congress of Vienna (and several others) in Vienna) a really great fast read.

Zamoyski makes a case for the importance of Poland’s victory in the campaign (for a brief overview of the Battle of Warsaw read this wikipedia article) and it is a rather convincing one. One of the strong points in the narrative is that Zamoyski draws out the personalities of the main players pretty well (which is impressive given the short nature of the book).

The somewhat chaotic nature of the Russian commands come through very clearly and the relative inexperience of both states is also fairly obvious. By far the most impressive feat that Zamoyski achieves however is to paint through the book the possibilities and potentials that a Russian victory, or even a slightly different Russian defeat, might have opened up.

I read the book with a degree of anticipation despite knowing the outcome and despite knowing the future of many of the participants. To my mind, that alone makes the book worth reading.

Finishing Tom Holland’s Millenium. Here is a negative-ish review from someone else, more when done.