Halik Kochanski read Modern History at Balliol College, Oxford and then completed a PhD at King's College London. She has taught at both King's College London and University College London and presented papers to a number of military history conferences. She has written a number of articles and is the author of Sir Garnet Wolseley: Victorian Hero (1999). She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. She has been a member of the councils of the Army Records Society and Society for Army Historical Research and remains a member of both societies. She is also a member of the British Commission for Military History and the Institute for Historical Research. She is currently a judge for the Templer Medal book prize.
An extraordinary achievement ... a brilliant exercise in
historiography ... Kochanski neither debunks nor sensationalises.
She has no ideological axe to grind, and makes balanced use of
family experience and interview material as against the official
record and a handed-down sentimental consensus. The truth is far
more powerful than the legend. It's great history writing * Herald
A superb account of Poland during the second world war ... The Eagle Unbowed serves to illuminate the political sickness that caused a nation to vanish from the map of Europe ... The pain and loss ... is poignantly evoked by Kochanski ... The Eagle Unbowed, a model history, conveys with harrowing immediacy the plight of the Polish people in the conflict -- Ian Thomson * Spectator *
[A] remarkable book ... Kochanski succeeds in drawing together all the disparate strands of this terrible story into a coherent account of what happened to Poland and her citizens between 1939 and 1945. She brings to the subject not only an impressive grasp of the military and political context, but also a balance, neutrality and honesty few could manage, combined with the intelligence, imagination and empathy necessary to grasp the true depth of the experience she recounts ... This book is history at its best. It tells the whole story, and tells it well, with just the right mixture of detachment and empathy, in crisp, readable prose. But it also speaks to the imagination and makes the reader think - and not just about the subject in hand * Standpoint *
Until Halik Kochanski's "The Eagle Unbowed" nobody had written a comprehensive English-language history of Poland at war. A British-born historian whose own family's experiences dot her pages, she weaves together the political, military, diplomatic and human strands of the story ... Ms Kochanski gives admirably clear accounts of the battlefield. She unpicks other tangles too: the tense relationship between the impatient, ill-informed underground leadership in Poland and the divided, ill-led exiled government in London, sidelined and then dumped by the allies as the Soviet armies marched west. She has a keen eye for the striking quote ... She uncovers details that will surprise even history geeks ... Ms Kochanski marshals an impressive and comprehensive array of English and Polish material * Economist *
An informative, authoritative and wide-ranging account of the tragedy that befell Poland and its inhabitants, Gentiles and Jews, during the war and its aftermath. The less well-known story of the Poles deported to the Soviet Union is particularly vivid and moving. An engaging and important book -- Hubert Zawadzki (author of A Concise History of Poland)
Poland's war was so terrible as to almost defy summary ... this book is opinionated, fluid and forceful -- Oliver Bullough * New Statesman *
Kochanski, a British military historian, integrates concise, clear, and persuasive campaign analyses with an account of the brutality suffered by Poles under German and Soviet occupation during WWII. She also examines the complex internal politics of Poland's armed forces in exile, and Poland's international position. She incorporates the creation and performance of the 1st Polish Army on the Eastern Front into a narrative that in most Western accounts is too often dominated by action in Italy and Northwest Europe. Her treatment of the Polish Resistance and the 1944 uprising is excellent. She also establishes the complex mix of operations, logistics, and politics behind the Allies' limited support for the Home Army in Warsaw. Kochanski's sympathies clearly lie with Poland's exile government in London, but she neither conceals nor trivializes policies and decisions that often proved self-defeating. Kochanski also gives an account of the Holocaust and the thorny issue of Polish collaboration in it. Above all, this is a story of expedience: "the critical decisions that had to be taken, the terrible role of sheer chance, ...the simple desire to survive under the most difficult circumstances." And expedients, as Kochanski ably demonstrates, are not always wise. 32 b&w illus., 5 maps. Agent: Robert Dudley Agency (U.K.). (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.