The Struggle and the Triumph: An Autobiography

Lech Walesa, Author, Franklin Philip, Translator, Helen Mahut, Translator
Lech Walesa, Author, Franklin Philip, Translator, Helen Mahut, Translator Arcade Publishing $24.95 (330p) ISBN 978-1-55970-149-5
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
Paperback - 330 pages - 978-1-55970-221-8
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In this speechifying autobiography, Poland's president delivers a dramatic and self-dramatizing account of the rise of the Solidarity movement, his role in the labor strikes of 1988, his battle with the Polish Communist party and his election to the presidency. Interspersing transcripts, Walesa presents a witty, Kafkaesque replay of government wiretapping and judicial harassment of him through 1986, and vividly re-creates the news-making kidnap and murder of the Rev. Jerzy Popieluszko in 1984. He credits Solidarity's survival as due in large measure to the moral support of the Roman Catholic Church. In down-to-earth prose, the former electrician writes about his father's internment in a Nazi concentration camp, his own religious faith, and the joys of family life and of raising eight children. But in denying the existence of ``racially based'' anti-Semitism in Poland, past or present, he ignores history. Glaringly short on specifics about his plans for Poland's future, his self-portrait is padded with accounts of a blur of meetings, talks and travel, as well as encounters with Elie Wiesel, George Bush, Elton John, Pope John Paul II and Francois Mitterrand, among others. Photos. (Sept.)
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