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The Polish Officer by Alan Furst
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The Polish Officer (original 1995; edition 2008)

by Alan Furst

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8091511,269 (3.9)72
Member:AHS-Wolfy
Title:The Polish Officer
Authors:Alan Furst
Info:Phoenix (2008), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Spy, Thriller, Night Soldiers, 14 in 14

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The Polish Officer by Alan Furst (1995)

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English (13)  Spanish (1)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Written in the same style as the other Furst I've read (Night Soldiers), The Polish Officer follows a Pole in espionage across countries during the Second World War. It's an interesting read and Furst has an entertaining sharp wit. ( )
  Tilda.Tilds | Jul 23, 2014 |
Captain Alexander de Milja is recruited into the underground Polish resistance (ZWZ) in the opening days of the German invasion. Poland may be lost, for now, but he leads a brazen, knifes edge mission to move the entire Polish Gold Reserve, via disguised passenger train, to remedial safety in Romania. From here de Milja is shifted to where the Polish exiles need him most, in France, where a series of nom de plumes and assignments await. He desperately improvises a way to light up German-held Calais to guide a squadron of RAF torpedo bombers. He also suffers setbacks, close calls and the loss of several operatives and informants, whose demises are smartly revealed to the reader by abandoned, padlocked candy shops, or spilt perfume in a ransacked hideout. De Milja is secreted back east to sabotage troop trains, and for a final, cleverly planned prison break behind German lines on the Polish-Ukrainian frontier. Exhilarating, but Furst takes time in between fireworks to give depth to characters and a sense of the (I think) reality of espionage - the waiting, the missed chances, the being stuck between multiple enemies. I've read three of his books now. Not a genre fan, but author's knowledgeable rendering impresses. ( )
  JamesMScott | Jul 14, 2014 |
The period between the wars, especially the later period (we're of course talking Europe here) in the run-up to World War II especially in Eastern Europe, fascinates me. This is where Alan Furst's excellent novels are set. According to the introduction information, he has travelled and lived for many years in France and eastern Europe, though reading his books, you'd find it hard not to believe he wasn't transported in a time-machine, directly to today from Europe of the late 1930s.

The Polish Officer is part espionage novel and part fascinating look at ordinary people being forced to understand extra-ordinary situations. Situations made all the more extra-ordinary as their optimistic, post-World War I world is torn apart by forces beyond their understanding and, more importantly, beyond their control. It is surely a fictional companion piece to Max Hastings' 'All Hell Let Loose.'

I found this an absolutely absorbing novel. By far the most satisfying Alan Furst novel I've read so far. It is set in Eastern Europe, in Poland, at the outbreak of World War II. The main character is drafted into Polish Intelligence, while the war causes the world around him to collapse. He and his colleagues try to re-establish their places in the new world and determine how the future of their country might look. Being Polish, they of course know that however things turn out, it's probably going to be largely out of their hands and that other, bigger and more powerful, powers will determine what happens to the Poles and so their job is to try and make the best of it, while also trying to make sense of it all.

He is sent undercover through Poland, to France, to Spain, to England and back to Poland where the Nazis are now on their way into Russia and the world is turning upside down once again. As i said earlier, I think the book is about people trying to make the best of situations that are largely out of their control. They are trying to remain in control of their lives, while realising that it probably isn't possible.

This is a thrilling, tense, satisfying book. There are many absorbing vignettes, many interesting characters, many thought-provoking episodes, all linked by the Polish officer of the book's title, who is, as he says at one point; "...a wanderer, somehow never home." ( )
  Speesh | Mar 29, 2014 |
Classic Furst. Our hero, a Polish officer moves around Europe working for the Pollish underground against the Germans and sometimes Russians. A little slow in the middle but a good tour of a time and a place that we know through heroic American war movies but not through the eyes of the citizens of europe who lived through it. ( )
  JBreedlove | Aug 20, 2013 |
Finished another Alan Furst book. I am hooked. I really like his rather old fashioned, simple novel format - there's a little romance, a few killings, quite a bit of suspense (these are spy novels, after all) and some good historical background. He has obviously done his homework in learning about Europe between 1938 and 1945; all kinds of spies and underground networks working against the Nazi Germans. His books have the atmosphere of Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, you can almost hear Sam singing "you must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss, and...... as times go by." My goodness, if you have not seen Casablanca - do that, now! And then read some Alan Furst.

This latest book is The Polish Officer and we follow a likeable Polish fellow as he works against the Nazis first as they invade his homeland, second from his base in Paris, and finally in the woods of the Soviet Union as the Germans head to their winter defeat. He carries the different persona well: he's an officer in the Polish military who escapes to Paris, and there, he is a "bon vivant", mixing with "rich and famous" while passing secret messages, and then he morphs into a member of the Underground doing sabotage to the German trains, and mounting a clever attack on a prison. The final scene is worthy of a classic 1940s black and white movie. I loved the book, and somewhat reluctantly turn to my next read, which is a science fiction book. ( )
  maggie1944 | Sep 8, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alan Furstprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schiff, RobbinCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In Poland, on the night of 11 September 1939, Wehrmacht scout and commando units - elements of Kuechler's Third Army Corps - moved silently around the defenses of Novy Dvor, crossed the Vistula over the partly demolished Jablonks Bridge, and attempted to capture the Warsaw Telephone Exchange at the northern edge of the city.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375758275, Paperback)

September 1939. As Warsaw falls to Hitler’s Wehrmacht, Captain Alexander de Milja is recruited by the intelligence service of the Polish underground. His mission: to transport the national gold reserve to safety, hidden on a refugee train to Bucharest. Then, in the back alleys and black-market bistros of Paris, in the tenements of Warsaw, with partizan guerrillas in the frozen forests of the Ukraine, and at Calais Harbor during an attack by British bombers, de Milja fights in the war of the shadows in a world without rules, a world of danger, treachery, and betrayal.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:27 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

In September 1939, as German forces ravage Poland, Captain Alexander de Milja, a Polish intelligence officer with the resistance underground, risks his life in the treacherous world of global espionage to help his country.

(summary from another edition)

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