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First to Fight Reviews

First to Fight by Roger Moorhouse

First to Fight: The Polish War 1939

Roger Moorhouse

3.50 out of 5

3 reviews

Category: History, Non-fiction
Imprint: The Bodley Head Ltd
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publication date: 5 Sep 2019
ISBN: 9781847924605

'This deeply researched, very well-written and penetrating book will be the standard work on the subject for many years to come' - Andrew Roberts, author of Churchill: Walking with DestinyThe Second World War began on 1 September 1939, when German tanks, trucks and infantry crossed the Polish border, and the Luftwaffe began bombing Poland's cities.

4 stars out of 5
Adam Zamoyski
30 Nov 2019

"Roger Moorhouse’s story of Poland’s resistance is both harrowing and inspiring"

In this timely and authoritative book, Roger Moorhouse dispels this and other myths concocted by German and Soviet propaganda. He has trawled through an impressive quantity of unpublished Polish and German sources, as well as a wealth of eyewitness testimonies from both sides, to produce a balanced account of this much neglected yet important episode of the second world war which is both harrowing and inspiring.


2 stars out of 5
29 Nov 2019

"Moorhouse’s readable narrative guides us through military events from the first German attack to the last skirmishes on October 6"

In the final days of the campaign, the German and Soviet armies completed the division of Poland and embarked on a policy of subjugating the population of the occupied territories. The vivid military picture is augmented by eyewitness accounts and profiles of the participants. But Moorhouse is surprisingly reluctant to discuss what might have caused Poland’s military defeat. He has nothing to say about the military coterie which ruled Poland until September. He feels no need to explain why Poland’s military and political leadership abandoned Warsaw and headed towards the border with Romania. This was not just a flight of desperate civilians. The government departed with the full apparatus of state in tow, including the paymaster general. It is not enough to state, as Moorhouse does, that the military plans lacked cohesion and left commanders without any idea what was happening beyond their zones of operation. A debate on the failures of the nation’s leaders should form part of the picture.

4 stars out of 5
Roger Boyes
31 Aug 2019

"German forces invaded Poland with shocking barbarity"

All Poles know that their September war — and of course the many subsequent years of occupation, resistance and exile — was no side-show. Now Moorhouse has expertly laid bare this simple truth: that when two totalitarian regimes make common cause, everyone in their immediate neighbourhood is likely to be trampled underfoot.