Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Isaac's Army: A Story of Courage and…

Isaac's Army: A Story of Courage and Survival in Nazi-Occupied Poland (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Matthew Brzezinski

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
804150,606 (4.82)1
Title:Isaac's Army: A Story of Courage and Survival in Nazi-Occupied Poland
Authors:Matthew Brzezinski
Info:Random House (2012), Hardcover, 496 pages
Collections:Your library, Favorites

Work details

Isaac's Army: A Story of Courage and Survival in Nazi-Occupied Poland by Matthew Brzezinski (2012)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 1 mention

Showing 4 of 4
I have read many books about World War II and about the Holocaust. I didn’t know much about the Jewish Resistance and Brzezinski does a great job bringing these people to life. I learned so much from this book. It really opened my eyes on just how many were involved with the resistance and what they sacrificed.

This book is so hard to listen to, listen to what these people lived through. Sometimes it’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that the Holocaust even happened. That there were people out there who would do this to other people. I enjoyed this book so much I might get the printed copy, sit down in a quiet corner and spend time with them again.

This is a book that anyone who is interested in this time period should read. I don’t read many books a second time but I might with this time so I can give these brave souls more of my time and respect. This book reads like fiction but unfortunately the characters are real people who had to live through the horrors of the War and what the Nazis did to them. Good on them for standing up for what was rightfully theirs. Their freedom and their lives.
( )
  MHanover10 | Jul 10, 2016 |
"One of the bravest scenes Edelman witnessed during the war was the sight of a man entering the Warsaw transit station for the transports to Auschwitz with his son on his shoulders. The boy was frightened and asking where they were going. "Not far", the father reassured him. "Soon it will all be over".

This is the last line of this amazing book detailing the armed Jewish underground in Warsaw.

The author interviewed many of the survivors and his book details the build up to the Ghetto revolt of 1943 as well as Jewish participation in the Warsaw Uprising of 1944.

Lesser known aspects are also detailed such as the conflict between some of the right wing fascist elements within the non-Jewish Polish resistance army and the Jewish units.

I'd highly recommend this for an understanding of the Jewish underground and particularly the internal conflicts within the Jewish resistance itself. ( )
  mancmilhist | Aug 28, 2014 |
Juden haben Waffen! Juden haben Waffen! I hope they always do.

The book is a journalistic account of the Jewish resistance, with the stated goal of reading like a novel (I’m not sure why so many writers feel like they have to make this a goal—written history is a narrative by necessity unfortunately). Because it is a journalistic account that tries to focus very specifically on the Jewish resistance in Warsaw it sacrifices any real analysis, not only on the wider themes of the war, anti-Semitism, and Zionism, but on the narrower themes of the resistance itself. For example, the author states repeatedly that the resistance was splintered between different factions of political ideology but provides no real background on or exploration of the causes and motivations for the differences. This isn’t a detriment, exactly, and would likely have pulled the book far afield from its focus, but it’s worth pointing out; the result is a sort of vagueness of detail and a concentration on externals and actions.

The aftermath of the Nazi’s retreat with the consolidation of Soviet power and its effects on Jews and Poles was given a brief treatment, which is slightly unusual and welcomed; the balancing act required to show non-Jewish Poles as they were—both victims and perpetrators—is handled well; the writing is competent. It’s probably a must-read for anyone interested in the subject.

4.5 stars

I won this in a goodreads giveaway; my opinion would be the same regardless. ( )
  Michael.Xolotl | Mar 5, 2013 |
Kirkus said Isaac's Army is "as moving and powerful as any novel." It's about the Jewish element of the Polish resistance over the course of the entire war (most books focus on the few months of the Ghetto Uprising). It includes the events of the 1939 invasion, Holocaust, Ghetto Uprising, Warsaw Uprising, and story behind the mass Exodus to Israel after the war. Seeing it from this perspective - normal citizens at the start and end - makes it more real. The focus is around a small group of rebellious teenagers who decided to fight back, 95% of whom never survived the war. This is the story of the few who somehow survived nearly 6 long years in Nazi occupied Poland.

The narrative follows an arc of continuously mounting brutality, when things can't get any worse, it gets worse, reaching a crescendo of violence even the Nazi's were sickened by. Warsaw in the end saw destruction more complete than Hiroshima or Nagasaki, no other major city in WWII was more completely destroyed. This is my third book about Warsaw (The Pianist, Jacob the Liar) and the more I read about the resistance movements, Jewish and Gentile, the more I want to learn. It's one of the most interesting stories of WWII since it involved the largest underground resistance movement for the longest period of time, from 1939-1945, the entire war, with people from all over the political and racial spectrum creating a variety of conflict and alliance. The Jewish element was quite small and militarily inconsequential, but had huge consequence politically due to the Ghetto Uprising, in the establishment of Israel and the story of the Holocaust and Jewish prestige. Really just an amazing book, it starts off slow but picks up to high speed by page 200 with the establishment of the Ghetto walls not letting go through to the end. It's a humane account, the last sentence is devastatingly beautiful. ( )
1 vote Stbalbach | Nov 4, 2012 |
Showing 4 of 4
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553807277, Hardcover)

Starting as early as 1939, disparate Jewish underground movements coalesced around the shared goal of liberating Poland from Nazi occupation. For the next six years, separately and in concert, they waged a heroic war of resistance against Hitler’s war machine that culminated in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In Isaac’s Army, Matthew Brzezinski delivers the first-ever comprehensive narrative account of that struggle, following a group of dedicated young Jews—some barely out of their teens—whose individual acts of defiance helped rewrite the ending of World War II.
Based on first-person accounts from diaries, interviews, and surviving relatives, Isaac’s Army chronicles the extraordinary triumphs and devastating setbacks that befell the Jewish underground from its earliest acts of defiance in 1939 to the exodus to Palestine in 1946. This is the remarkable true story of the Jewish resistance from the perspective of those who led it: Isaac Zuckerman, the confident and charismatic twenty-four-year-old founder of the Jewish Fighting Organization; Simha Ratheiser, Isaac’s fifteen-year-old bodyguard, whose boyish good looks and seeming immunity to danger made him an ideal courier; and Zivia Lubetkin, the warrior queen of the underground who, upon hearing the first intimations of the Holocaust, declared: “We are going to defend ourselves.” Joined by allies on the left and right, they survived Gestapo torture chambers, smuggled arms, ran covert printing presses, opened illegal schools, robbed banks, executed collaborators, and fought in the two largest rebellions of the war.
Hunted by the Germans and bedeviled by the “Greasers”—roving bands of blackmailers who routinely turned in resistance fighters for profit—the movement was chronically short on firepower but long on ingenuity. Its members hatched plots in dank basements, never more than a door knock away from summary execution, and slogged through fetid sewers to escape the burning Ghetto to the forests surrounding the city. And after the initial uprising was ruthlessly put down by the SS, they gambled everything on a bold plan for a citywide revolt—of both Jews and Gentiles—that could end only in victory or total destruction. The money they raised helped thousands hide when the Ghetto was liquidated. The documents they forged offered lifelines to families desperate to escape the horror of the Holocaust. And when the war was over, they helped found the state of Israel.
A story of secret alliances, internal rivalries, and undying commitment to a cause, Isaac’s Army is history at its most heart-wrenching. Driven by an unforgettable cast of characters, it’s a true-life tale with the pulse of a great novel, and a celebration of the indomitable spirit of resistance.

Advance praise for Isaac’s Army
“Told with care and compassion, Matthew Brzezinski’s Isaac’s Army is a riveting account of the Jewish resistance in wartime Poland. This is an intense story that transcends the horror of the time and finds real inspiration in the bravery of those who fought back—some of whom lived to tell their stories. Highly recommended.”—Alan Furst, author of Mission to Paris

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:32 -0400)

Describes the formation of one of the most daring underground movements of World War II under the leadership of twenty-four-year-old Isaac Zuckerman, and the group's collective efforts to gather information, build an arms cache, participate in uprisings, and organize escape systems.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
38 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (4.82)
4.5 4
5 7

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,239,595 books! | Top bar: Always visible