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The dramatic and little-known story of how, in the summer of 1920, Lenin came within a hair's breadth of shattering the painstakingly constructed Versailles peace settlement and spreading Bolshevism to western Europe. In 1920 the new Soviet state was a mess, following a brutal civil war, and the best way of ensuring its survival appeared to be to export the revolution to Germany, itself economically ruined by defeat in World War I and racked by internal political dissension.Between Russia and Germany lay Poland, a nation that had only just recovered its independence after more than a century of foreign oppression. But it was economically and militarily weak and its misguided offensive to liberate the Ukraine in the spring of 1920 laid it open to attack. Egged on by Trotsky, Lenin launched a massive westward advance under the flamboyant Marshal Tukhachevsky.All that Great Britain and France had fought for over four years now seemed at risk. By the middle of August the Russians were only a few kilometres from Warsaw, and Berlin was less than a week's march away. Then occurred the 'Miracle of the Vistula': the Polish army led by Jozef Pilsudski regrouped and achieved one of the most decisive victories in military history.As a result, the Versailles peace settlement survived, and Lenin was forced to settle for Communism in one country. The battle for Warsaw bought Europe nearly two decades of peace, and communism remained a mainly Russian phenomenon, subsuming many of the autocratic and Byzantine characteristics of Russia's tsarist tradition.
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About the Author

Adam Zamoyski was born in New York, was educated at Oxford, and lives in London. A full-time writer, he has written biographies of 'Chopin' (Collins 1979), 'Paderewski', and 'The Last King of Poland','1812: Napoleon's Fatal March on Moscow' and 'Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna'.

Reviews

`The book I have most enjoyed this year...has the quality and excitement of the very best historical novel...marvellous.' John Bayley, TLS (Book of the Year) `Zamoyski writes with thrilling immediacy and dramatic effect about a conflict of huge import that has been overlooked by almost everyone but the Poles themselves.' Andrew Holgate, Sunday Times (Book of the Year) 'The mark of a great military historian is not only to do the battlefield descriptions and explain the tactics, but to give the political context and bring the characters of the commanders to life. Zamoyski manages it all in this concise and thrilling account of a forgotten war.' Daily Telegraph 'Zamoyski shows himself to be a master...across the battlefields [he] proves to be a sure-footed guide with a rare capacity for casting light into dark corners, to pierce the fog of war and to make what at first seems incomprehensible easy to understand ...Zamoyski's battle pictures, indeed, are reminiscent of Tolstoy.' Spectator 'Elegant and fascinating ... the bulk of the book is given over to a deft and gripping battle narrative ..."Warsaw 1920" is battle history of the best kind.The international setting and the political context are gracefully sketched in, and Zamoyski integrates the voices of contemporaries to create a symphonic, three-dimensional chronicle.' Sunday Times 'A thorough, beautifully written account of one of the great turning-points in Europe's history ... Zamoyski ... writes with the dash of a Polish cavalry officer.' Independent

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