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The Peasant Prince: Thaddeus Kosciuszko and the Age of Revolution

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  218 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
Thaddeus Kosciuszko, a Polish-Lithuanian born in 1746, was one of the most important figures of the modern world. Fleeing his homeland after a death sentence was placed on his head (when he dared court a woman above his station), he came to America one month after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, literally showing up on Benjamin Franklin's doorstep in Philad ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published August 3rd 2010 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2009)
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James Shearer
Jul 29, 2009 James Shearer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Well written and easy to follow - almost like reading a novel. Bio of Thaddeus Koscuuszko, a Polish citizen who came to America and was one of the top aides to the revolution, returned to Poland and tried to free the serfs, told Jefferson to free the slaves. A bright spot to the and a reminder that not all white people believed in slavery.
Feb 14, 2010 CathyD rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was worth the read. The first half was better than the second but that may have had to do with putting it down for three weeks and then picking it up again. I guess I lost continuity. I may not be the fault of the book. Anyway, great cross-cultural read for people that love the 18th century. This book successfuly overlaps 18th century Europe with the dawning of the United States. It brings all the beauty of Eurpean History and overlays it upon the colonies by following the life of a ma ...more
Minelle Paloff
Oct 10, 2009 Minelle Paloff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extremely interesting information about Thaddeus Kosciuszko of whom I was sadly unaware until reading this book. What a marvelous man! I wish that I could have known him. The author, Alex Storozynski, has researched the life of this man thoroughly. I admire Kosciuszko's love of liberty for all peoples and his kindness towards the poor. I also admire his never failing hope for a free Poland and the important work he did in our American Revolution. I dislike very much the aspect of Jefferson's lac ...more
Joseph Serwach
Dec 16, 2009 Joseph Serwach rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book on Thaddeus Kosciuszko, the Polish Patriot who was a hero of the American Revolution as well as Poland's efforts to establish the first constitution in Europe in the 1700s. A true revolutionary far ahead of his time and a dear friend of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and a who's who of world history. He predicted accurately in the 1790s that if Poland became a true democracy, it would wind up spreading to Russia and most neighboring nations. This would, in fact, happen in 1989 so he ...more
Mar 25, 2011 Derek rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit slow at the start, but a really interesting book about a forgotten hero of our revolution. Truly a man ahead of his time, it's a shame how America has repaid his valor and ideals by disregarding his wishes and sweeping him under the rug. The look at Polish history of the time between the Renaissance and the French Revolution was also appreciated.
Storozynski's "The Peasant Prince: Thaddeus Kosciuszko and the Age of Revolution" is excellent both as a biography of the remarkable Polish statesman, military engineer, revolutionary and general Tadeusz Kościuszko, and as a brief history of the enlightenment and age of revolution in Europe and America.

The book examines both Kościuszko's service in the American war of independence and later struggle for the liberation of his homeland from foreign powers in detail, often drawing on extensive prim
Carol C
Jul 25, 2012 Carol C rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a marvelous book! I had never heard of Kosciuszko prior to the author's NPR interview but determined to buy the book immediately. I have since noticed Kosciuszko, Tx near San Antonio, where I live and found references in other places as well. That he came to fight in the US revolution on purely ideolgical grounds is really impressive, to say nothing of his contributions to Westpoint (where there is a statue of him). His friendship and frustration with Thomas Jefferson is illustrative and Je ...more
Nov 04, 2012 Dsolove rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This is a well researched book and was fairly easy to read. The author is clearly a Kosciuszko fan, but given Kosciuszko's life of idealistic consistency, I am too. My education must have been deficient because i don't remember learning about him in school. His determination to use his money to carry out his anti-slavery agenda was sadly undermined by Thomas Jefferson's cowardice. I was so disappointed to learn that Kosciuszko's wishes regarding his American assets were never followed. I highly ...more
Joe Augustyn
Dec 18, 2014 Joe Augustyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mainstream presentations of American history (including all the movies and all the shows I've seen so far on various cable history channels, as well as most of the books on the subject) continue to rehash the stories of beatified (and sometimes dubious) superstars like Benedict Arnold while ignoring the contributions of some of the most amazing and important heroes of that war. That includes not only foreigners like Kosciuszko, whose contribution to the "turning point" victory at Saratoga was es ...more
Aug 14, 2012 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent, clear, and lucid explanation of the complex political situation in Poland, especially relations between Poland and Russia. Also does a good job of putting the Constitution of 3 May into the context of the American and French Revolutions. Also gives great insight into some of the neglected theaters of the American Revolutionary War, as Kosciuszko did not spend much time with Washington. All in all, an excellent biography of a fascinating man.
Jul 24, 2009 Joanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you enjoy the stories of history, pick up this book. An extremely good man gave all he could to help win the American Revolution. With that won, and denied his pay, he went back to his native Poland to try to win the freedom of the serfs there. He continued ties to the US and tried to buy the freedom of Jefferson's slaves. How would history be different if he had succeeded? And why didn't it work? Not what you would think.
Lauren Albert
Marvellous story about a marvelous man who too few know about. One of the only notable revolutionaries of his time to stand up for the rights of all the oppressed-serfs, slaves, Jews, Native Americans. He left Thomas Jefferson In charge of his estate, should he die, with the understanding that he would use the money to free and educate slaves. Storozynski makes Poland's tragedy and Kosciuszko's ours.
Sep 06, 2011 Jendy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an interesting and relatively unknown figure from the American Revolution. He was also so progressive in his attitudes about society, worker's rights (peasants, in his case), slavery, etc. He lectyred Jefferson about freeing his slaves! Jefferson promised to use K's money after he died to pay for J's slaves' freedom, but J broke his promise.
Jun 14, 2012 Stephen rated it it was amazing
Let's see, - American revolutionary war hero, tortured by Catherine the great, betrayed by Napolean Bon aparte - hero to the serfs and somewhat unlucky in love. Sounds like a full and complete life. Well done biography but even more well done life. What a pleasure to read.
An excellent biography of the Revolutionary War engineer Thaddeus Kosciusko. It detail his early life in Poland and how he came to America to fight in the revolution. It details his service in the Revolution and his 2 major accomplishments the picking of the ground for the Battle of Saratoga and the design and construction of the fortress on the Hudson West Point, along with his service with Nathaniel Greene in the Southern Campaign. It then describes his return to Poland and his fight for their ...more
Gregory Trzebiatowski
Very well written!!! Particularly strong on the relationship between Kosciuszko and Jefferson.
Feb 13, 2010 Karin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
loved all the American Revolution history in this book.
Czarny Pies
Apr 19, 2015 Czarny Pies rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: european-history
Good books on the history of Poland are as rare as hen's teeth. The Peasant Prince then then is a treasure for anyone wishing to learn more about Poland's political and cultural history. Although a journalist Storozyinski writes and researches like an academic producing a very solid book. As a New Yorker, Storozynski knows what aspects of Polish life in the eighteenth century need to be explained to make Kosciuszko's life comprehensible to the North American reader of the 21st century.

Aug 01, 2013 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although I knew a few things about him already, this book really opened my eyes to the life of a man I would have to loved to sit down and just talk with. Thaddeus Kosciuszko (a name so difficult to spell that George Washington wrote it 11 different ways) dedicated his life to equality, liberty, and justice for all. When he travelled to America to help out during the Revolutionary War it was his defensive plans for West Point that Benedict Arnold tried to sell to the British. Although he never l ...more
Sherwood Smith
Eminently readable biography of a remarkable man who is too often overlooked in American Revolutionary history, surprising for just how much he did. Not only for the war effort, but he designed West Point, and its initial curriculum was established on his model.

Both Kosciusko and Lafayette later said that if they'd had any idea that they were helping found a nation that would propagate slavery they would have gone home. I wonder if that is why their contributions, Kosciusko's especially, are of
Jan 01, 2014 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While Thaddeus Kosciusczko is known in the Polish community, much of America has forgotten one of the heroes of the American Revolution. Kosciuszko's military engineering skills were not only key in major battles in the north and south during the Revolution, he was also the chief designer of the fort protecting the Hudson River Valley known as West Point. It was his plans that Arnold was caught trying to sell to the British.
Kosciuszko went on to try to free the surfs in his own country of Poland
Dec 20, 2013 Jay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memory
Absolutely brilliant book about a forgotten hero, Tadeusz Kosciuszko. I consider myself to be well read when it comes to US history, but had never heard of him until I noticed a plaque bearing his name while crossing his namesake bridge in Brooklyn, New York.

What an interesting life he led. Born in and trained in Poland, he left for America after the first partition of Poland shrank his homeland by a third. He came to America and fought for the Americans as an engineer during the Revolution wher
Bart Bart
Aug 20, 2015 Bart Bart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well researched book full of insightful historical facts in regards to birth of the modern western world. Great read for anyone interested in history.
May 02, 2016 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
An amazing and thorough biography of a fantastic man. In addition to all the details about Kosciuszko (the tiny things like his pet bird or his flower garden are what I love the most), the book provided a nice background of the events that he was a part of and over a hundred pages were devotes to references so I knew exactly where these things were coming from.
Margaret Sankey
Good on the Polish sources, and the aftermath of the American Revolution, but written in such a gushy style I am vaguely embarrassed for the author. Is it a measure of my non-Romanticism that after each failed revolution, I wish he had just taken the 500 acres, married a nice American and learned to love Ohio?
Aug 30, 2013 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
what a marvelous revolutionary story that is poorly known. the man who built /designed westpoint,was a confidante to george washington and attemtped to do the same for his country of poland. he is the 'polish lafayette'. an inspiring must read
Feb 21, 2010 Sunny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! I'm ashamed of all the Polish jokes I've ever laughed at. Unlike Americans living on the East Coast, it's times for us on the West Coast to take note of this important, but not widely known, crucial chapter of early American history.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Saw that this author was coming to my area to sign books and figured I'd pick this up from the library. The author seems to have made good use of primary sources, but it's not terribly gripping.
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
A brilliant biography of Thaddeus Kosciuszko concentrating a good deal on his career during the American War of Independence (but by no means neglecting the rest).
Aug 26, 2011 Virginia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazing life. Americans need to know more about him.
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Alex Storozynski is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, a former member of the New York Daily News editorial board, founding editor of amNewYork and former city editor of the New York Sun. He has also been published in the European edition of The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Post, Newsday and other publications.

His biography of Thaddeus Kosciuszko, The Peasant Prince: Th
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