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The Battle for Warsaw, 1939–1945 (Paperback)

Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives

WWII Photographic Books WWII Photographic Books Military

By Anthony Tucker-Jones
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 119
Illustrations: 160
ISBN: 9781526741509
Published: 10th February 2020


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During the Second World War five brutal battles were fought in and around Warsaw. Each proved to be dramatic, decisive and bloody, and in this volume of the Images of War series Anthony Tucker-Jones records them all in graphic detail.

The first occurred in 1939 when the Polish army was defeated by the German invaders, and five years of occupation followed. The second was sparked by the Jewish Ghetto Uprising in 1943 which was ruthlessly suppressed by 1,200 SS troops and led to the deaths of 13,000 people. In the third the Red Army’s advance was beaten back at the gates of the city in the summer of 1944 and the fourth was fought at the same time when the Nazis crushed the rising of the Polish Home Army and sought to destroy the city in an act of revenge. The failure of the rising consigned the country to decades of communist rule.

The photographs and the detailed narrative give the reader a powerful impression of the experience of the people of Warsaw during this tragic period in their history and document the widespread devastation the fighting left in its wake.

Article: ‘History behind German panzers and Warsaw invasion brought to life in new books’ as featured by

DevonLive, 10th March 2020 – words by Lewis Clarke

The photographs come from a wide range of sources including the Fortepan Photo Archive, the Polish National Digital Archive, US Archives (including the National Archives and Records Administration) and the author’s own collection. The amount of information provided for each photograph is exceptional and it is very evident that particular care had been taken in the choice of images. This book is a particularly good example of Pen & Sword’s excellent ‘Images of War’ series and I commend the author for building such a comprehensive portfolio of fascinating images and writing such an interesting accompanying narrative.

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Phil Curme

Featured 'On the bookshelf' with Neil Smith

Wargames Illustrated, February 2020

The text is clearly written and tells the story more than adequately. Tucker-Jones made me want to read more: that’s a result.

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GoodReads, Robert Neil Smith

This title as part of the Images at War series is another great title in the line up as the images do show the inhumanity to man in a way that words alone fail to do. Whenever we think of barbarity we of the Eastern Front with Russia and SS atrocities that were carried out, the brutality shown to the Poles is never really considered in the west and this book goes some way to remedy that situation.

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This new Images of War title from author Anthony Tucker-Jones tells us what is really a sad story, the large scale destruction of the city of Warsaw and its' population in WW2.
The Introduction sets the scene rather neatly, reminding us that there were actually 5 significant battles for the Polish city during WW2. The first was in the German invasion of Poland in 1939. The second was in 1943, with the uprising in the Jewish Warsaw Ghetto. The third was the failed Russian attack in the summer of 1944, and that was at the same time as the Polish Home Army also tried to relieve Warsaw from the German oppression. It was left to 1945 for the Red Army to finally liberate the city. The stories of each of these 5 particular battles are spread across 8 chapters, each one introduced by a few pages of informative text to tell set the scene for the series of equally well captioned archive images which are the signature of the Images of War series. The destruction they show, including a number which have some quite graphic scenes of the dead, and the number of casualties among the citizens of the city thanks to the war is quite staggering.
The final section does at least show us that some of the Nazi perpetrators were brought to justice, while the task of rebuilding the city, recovering and burying the dead from the ruins and from within the underground sewers are all included. I think the reader can't help but wonder at what has been accomplished in rebuilding the city as it is today, but at the time, in 1945, it must have been a horrendous challenge to wonder where to even start the process. Another excellent addition to the series from the author.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

Click here to listen to author interview

NOTE: set cursor to 1:14:43

BBC Radio Devon with presenter David Fitzgerald, 27th February 2020

I’ve been really looking forward to this book, I suppose because I have learnt a lot about this particular battle and harsh journey Poland had to go through during the Second World War. I see the book was authored by Anthony Tucker-Jones, who I quite like and I have read a number of his other Images of War books and you always get a good, balanced read. Having thought that the Polish might be able to fight with German troops against Stalin’s Russia, unfortunately, Hitler had other plans and saw Poland as an easy target it could attack before Russia. In a way, the Battle for Warsaw runs very much along the same lines as Germany attacking and taking Poland. The book begins with Warsaw 39, which was basically the invasion of Poland. Further chapters look into The Siege, Guderian’s Trains, Horrors of the Ghetto, The Second Battle for Warsaw, Warsaw Rising and the Tragic Last Stand. This really is a fascinating book and I was hooked as the reader, even though I already knew most of what went on. Again, the Images in the book are very good, also knowing what actually did go on in Poland and how bad some of the images could have been, the images in this book are tastefully done and not too horrific reject the reader.

Yet another fantastic book from the Images of War series and credit should be given to both the author and the publishers' Pen and Sword. I might be biased but I would recommend this book and the series.

UK Historian

I have read quite a few books in this series now and this is another great addition. The text is easy to read and informative throughout and the images that have been chosen are excellent.

The book is fine to read as a stand-alone, or it can also be used to encourage the reader to look in to more around the subject, and that is what I like most about this series – indeed this was one I picked up to find out more and it was perfect for what I needed. It is 4 stars from me – highly recommended!!

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Donna's Book Blog

The series continues to deliver excellent images complemented by sound historical narrative. A good introduction book to the subject.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About Anthony Tucker-Jones

Anthony Tucker-Jones is a prolific writer on the history of fighting vehicles and armoured warfare. He has also written extensively on military affairs and terrorism. After a career in the intelligence community, he became a freelance defence writer and military historian. His most recent books are Hitler's Great Panzer Heist, Falaise: The Flawed Victory, Stalin's Revenge: Operation Bagration and the Annihilation of Army Group Centre, Operation Dragoon: The Liberation of Southern France 1944, Armoured Warfare on the Eastern Front, Armoured Warfare in the North African Campaign, Armoured Warfare in the Battle for Normandy, The Kalashnikov in Combat and The Soviet-Afghan War.

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