Kobak, Annette.


1st ed., 2004. Xii + 420 pp., 1 map. D.j., 22 x 14cm. FINE. This is a dramatic memoir of the author's search for her father's secret life during and after the Second World War. It wasn't until she was a grown woman that the author began to discover why her father had been so mysteriously silent about his past and slept with a hammer under his pillow. She revealed that he had been born on the border of Czechoslovakia and Poland and he had fled east from the Nazis when war broke out only to find the Red Army moving in. Imprisoned by the Russians, he ended up fighting with the Polish forces in France before finally escaping to Britain, where he spent the rest of the war intercepting Russian messages for the Allies. In uncovering this story the author also lets us re-experience, close-up, the shocking history of what the Allies did and didn't do to the countries of Europe that were desperate for their help. Behind Joe's silence, his daughter found, were wide-ranging political hinterlands, including the silence of the West over Munich and over the betrayal of the Poles at the end of the war. This fascinating book is written from the author's own travels in her father's footsteps, interviews, and from her father's first-hand accounts.

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