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No Greater Ally: The Untold Story of Poland's Forces in World War II
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No Greater Ally: The Untold Story of Poland's Forces in World War II

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  178 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
There is a chapter of World War II history that remains largely untold, the story of the fourth largest allied military of the war, the only nation to have fought in the battles of Leningrad, Arnhem, Tobruk and Normandy. The story of millions of young men and women who gave everything for freedom and in the final victory lost all. In a cruel twist of history the monumental ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 23rd 2009 by Osprey Publishing
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Dj
Nov 13, 2016 Dj rated it it was amazing
A book that brings much needed light to the Polish effort in WWII. While maybe not quite as unknown as the author suggests, in general the contribution of the Poles is not something that is looked at in a whole picture. The author breaks the book down into sections and looks at how the Poles did and what they did in their efforts to return their home to freedom. Mostly this book starts after the fall of Poland. It then, again mostly, follows the paths of various individuals that you are introduc ...more
Kathryn
Jan 04, 2010 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: world-war
The title of this book says everything: the U.S., Britain, and France had no greater ally than Poland during WWII and yet the story of the Poles’ fierce loyalty to the Allied cause during that war has been, up till now, almost completely untold.

Why is that? Why do history books always paint a pathetic picture of Poland’s mounted cavalry defense against the blitzkrieg, inferring by that image that the invasion was over in a matter of days because the Polish defense was apparently laughable? Why d
...more
Wanda
May 05, 2010 Wanda rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people of Polish descent, history buffs
No Greater Ally by Kenneth Koskodan is a work that presents brand new information about the WW2-era Poland. My father was in General Anders second armored division, as well as in the special forces (Cichociemni) and the AK. He did not tell me much about his exploits, but he did tell me that the history of WW II was significantly skewed and the Polish contribution diminished. I did not believe him and thought he was exaggerating – until the past few years. This book is yet another confirmation th ...more
Charles
Apr 04, 2013 Charles rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: once-owned

No Greater Ally was no doubt a great read, and an excellent choice by the World War Two Readers group for the Poland theme-read month.


For me, the book allowed me to learn about a number of areas in the war that had hitherto been a little underexplained, or perhaps even undersold in common history to me - namely the opening stages of the Second World War and the Polish military and political rationale for the country's actions, as well as the attitudes of some neighbouring states in letting refug

...more
Andrew Brozyna
Nov 27, 2012 Andrew Brozyna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wwii
You may be surprised to learn that it was an all-Polish squadron that scoured the most enemy kills and fewest lost planes during the Battle of Britain. These Polish pilots reported enemy kills only when doubly-confirmed. This careful reporting was meant to accurately display their value to the doubting British military and public. Author Kenneth Koskodan accomplishes a similar goal with the same means. Based on first-person interviews, official military documents, and other published works his w ...more
Sweetwilliam
Jan 27, 2014 Sweetwilliam rated it it was amazing
No Greater Ally, The Untold Story of Poland’s Forces in World War II by Kennth K. Koskodan.

My brother insisted that I read this book. Our family is of Polish descent and my brother thought that all family members that are students of history should read this book. I had other books on my TDL but I agreed to read this book first and I’m glad I did. As a result, I am convinced that this book should be required reading for any student of European history. The Polish contribution to the War effort w
...more
A.L. Sowards
I have a huge admiration for the Poles and the sacrifices they made during WWII, and a huge amount of sympathy for all the horrible things that happened to them during the war and the forty (plus) years of Communist rule they endured after such a heroic struggle. This book added significantly to my knowledge of their efforts and it’s a good place to start for someone interested in learning more about Poland during WWII. I felt most of the chapters covered topics that would make for interesting r ...more
Ben
Mar 28, 2014 Ben rated it it was amazing
Congratulations, Kenneth Koskodan. 70 years after World War II, you have managed to find a new and largely untapped angle to the war, an untold story that everybody should hear.

All I knew about Poland's involvement in WWII was that the German invasion triggered the war... that, and a vague story about Polish cavalry charging German tanks and getting mowed down. That's consistent with the Polish stereotype over the years - Poles are dumb, ineffective, naive. Indeed, in the 2004 presidential deba
...more
Pierre Lauzon
Dec 18, 2013 Pierre Lauzon rated it really liked it
The subtitle begins "The Untold Story . . ." and the book was certainly an untold story to me until I read it.

My recollection from youthful reading was that Poland was overrun quickly by the Nazis and were enslaved and killed through the duration of the war.

I learned from this book that Poland had the fourth largest Allied army before being overrun. I also learned that many soldiers and airmen escaped the Nazis and participated in the Battle of Britain, the conquering of Italy, service in North
...more
Jason
Worthy topic—& I sympathize with the author’s pro-Poland perspective—but inexpertly done. Lots of sweeping, conclusory statements lacking support. Clichéd writing.
Marc
Apr 23, 2013 Marc rated it liked it
This book was worth reading because it provides an account of the history of Polish forces that is not very well known. I was absolutely amazed at some of the stories in there and shocked at others. However I couldn't help but feel like the authors perspective was very biased toward Poland and that if there were any blemishes they would not have been mentioned anyway, perhaps I will need to do some research of my own into the history. The book also suffers at times from just listing events as t ...more
Michael Jak
Dec 20, 2015 Michael Jak rated it it was amazing
This was well written and illuminating for providing little known facts about WWII. Poland indeed suffered greatly and was betrayed by the Allies, offered up to the Soviet Union. Its remarkable at the horrors inflicted on this country first by the Nazis, then by the Soviets. Even more remarkable and inspiring was how many millions of Poles never gave up hope - or gave up fighting! This book tells the story of how so many Polish men and women continued to resist their brutal occupiers, both Germa ...more
Joshua Letchford
Jul 01, 2012 Joshua Letchford rated it really liked it
Very good. It explores all parts of the war, from the German invasion of Poland, to the Battle of Britain, to Polish prisoners fighting in the Red Army, to the Desert War to Normandy and the desperate resistance movement in Poland itself.

I did not know what a large part Poland played in World War Two, as pilots in the RAF, as resistance fighters and as motivated members of the Allied armies. The story of the Warsaw rising was especially interesting, and very new to me.

It was moving to realise
...more
Amanda Jaczkowski
Oct 24, 2015 Amanda Jaczkowski rated it it was amazing
The author did something interesting - he broke down the chapters by military grouping instead of purely chronological order. This made the book seem much more fast paced and less dry in comparison to other historical narratives.

There was some repetition in the chapters, and even within some paragraphs, which made it seem like the author may have been struggling to meet a minimum length requirement. Other than that, the entire book was well-written. It was fact laden, but stayed interesting.

Ove
...more
Ellen
Dec 03, 2013 Ellen rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, wwii
Super detailed work written on the subject of the Polish spirit to fight back in the face of adversary during WWII. From the first days before the German advance in 1939 through the determination of the Poles to fight back throughout the war either as a pilot in the Battle of Britain, infantrymen at Monte Cassino, or for the AK underground resistance throughout the war at home and the Warsaw Rebellion, Koskodan shows us time and again how the Polish fighters were driven to work tirelessly and ex ...more
DJ
Dec 21, 2009 DJ rated it it was amazing
This is an outstanding book about the largely ignored contributions of the Poles to the success of World War II. Young Americans of Polish descent especially should read this to get a grasp on what their people went through to survive the war and to make it to other parts of the world, like the US. The people mentioned in the book are not only peers of my own father, a couple of the men (who have since passed away) were his friends and members of his P.L.A.V. group.

We just don't know or underst
...more
Ren
Nov 19, 2011 Ren rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, ww2
This book helps to straighten out the skewed perspective that developed after the war about Poland's tremendous contribution. It provides many interesting details and personal stories that make it all the more difficult to believe that an entire nation's efforts could be swept under the rug so easily. And more horrifyingly, that nation was then sold out and handed over post-war as some kind of bargain offering by the countries it had fought with and for. It's pretty unbelievable. The book seems ...more
Cario Lam
Mar 28, 2015 Cario Lam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
They say history is written by the victors and the account of the Polish government and military during World War II is no exception. If I were to believe the history books I read as a student in school, one would think that the Polish military was wiped out in one felt swoop by the Germans in September of 1939. What the history books in school failed to mention is that the Poles fought the Germans in that September of 1939 while waiting for aid from the French and English that never came. So n ...more
Drew Zagorski
May 25, 2016 Drew Zagorski rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, military
I've always been proud of my Polish heritage, but even more so after reading this book. I'm an avid reader of WWII history so had bits of many stories covered in Koskodan's book. But none have provided the detail and human side of the role that the Polish people played to the level that this book delivered. When you read this it reminds you of how absurd the politics were that resulted in the slicing up of Poland after the war. Yet despite that final blow the indomitable Polish spirit has contin ...more
Steve
Jan 14, 2013 Steve rated it it was amazing
A really great read. So little is taught and known in the US about the Polish who continued to fight during WWII. This book, the only one that I know of that covers the topic, really shows the true efforts of the Polish armed forces who fought in the beginning of WWII defending their own country, and then under other nations' flags, fighting for "our freedom and yours". Truly inspiring, and dispells pesky myths that won't go away.
Diane Depew
The story of Poland in WW II is tragic on so many fronts; along with the contributions of Poles towards the defeat of Germany. Unfortunately, I found the organization of this book have created a disjointed look of the Polish people in WW II, as it "jumped" from topic to topic. As well, there is minimal documentation of the facts (as in endnotes), and the issue of Stalin's treatment f the Poles was lacking.
D. Ennis
Nov 21, 2014 D. Ennis rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
It takes a lot for me to abandon a book - this one was tough because there was a lot of information that was new to me but the constant cheerleading from the author was to much and put into question the veracity of the book. I'll find another source on the subject as it does seem like an interesting topic.
Joe Ervin
Feb 13, 2014 Joe Ervin rated it really liked it
Very interesting account of the Polish contribution to WWII. The section on the Warsaw Uprising was especially good, and the descriptions of the Soviet attacks on the AK lead one to give more credibility to claims that the Soviets held back from assisting in the Warsaw Uprising in order to allow the Germans to take care of democratic elements in the city.
Kazimiera pendrey
Mar 17, 2013 Kazimiera pendrey rated it it was amazing
a really good read i had no idea of how many polish servicemen served in so many theatres of war i found this book heartbreaking in parts but it is well worth a read for anyone who has an interest in the second world war
James
Apr 21, 2013 James rated it did not like it
Finally drug my way through this - If you like more detail than you can imagine about Poland in WWII read it; if you're looking for entertaining reading look elsewhere. I usually enjoy reading WWII history but this is as dry as the Rommell's Sahara.
Anne
Jun 27, 2014 Anne rated it really liked it
Very informative.
Karen
Sep 19, 2014 Karen rated it liked it
Shelves: history, ww2
This book was obviously a labor of love concerning the contribution (and cost) of Poland's people in WW2. Koskodan's research is admirable but his rhetorical overreach is less so.
Jordan
Nov 01, 2014 Jordan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sobering

The fight for freedom never dies and the Polish nation is the example the world can look toward as the absolute champion in war and peace
Charles
Charles rated it it was amazing
Aug 22, 2012
Geoffrey Staysniak
Geoffrey Staysniak rated it liked it
Jan 25, 2017
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Ken Koskodan graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Communications. The emphasis of his degree was in Journalism, Advertising and Public Relations. Of Polish descent himself, he has researched Poland's participation in World War II for many years, and in the course of his research has interviewed many surviving veterans. "No Greater Ally" is his first book.
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“On August 31, 1939, SS men dressed in Polish uniforms took over a radio station inside Germany and broadcast messages urging Poles living in eastern Germany to rebel against the Nazis. The bodies of prison inmates were dressed in Polish uniforms and left on site as if they had perpetrated the act and had been killed by German police.8 The transparent ploy would be cited as a preemptive Polish hostile action by Germany. Despite this, British and French diplomats begged the Polish high command to retract the mobilization order. The next morning German troops stormed across the border and World War II in Europe began.” 0 likes
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