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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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888219,955 (3.9)79
Member:AHS-Wolfy
Title:The Polish Officer
Authors:Alan Furst
Info:Phoenix (2008), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Historical Fiction, Spy, Thriller, Night Soldiers, 14 in 14

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The Polish Officer by Alan Furst (1995)

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Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
This is one of Furst's earlier World War II thrillers, and, as usual it's full of vivid characters and noir atmosphere. It is September, 1939 and the German's are invading Poland. France and Britain have declared war on Germany, but are doing less than nothing to help the Poles fend off the invading Wehrmacht. Captain Alexander de Milia has been assigned some rear guard actions: hijacking a train to get the Polish treasury of gold to Romania and organizing resistance units. He moves from Poland, to Romania, back to Poland to Russia to France to London & then back to France. All the while he acts bravely, and doesn't ask too many questions. He seems to know that the war is being fought among the great powers and that the little countries that are in the way have very little hope of survival.

Furst captures all of this in his atmospheric writing that captures a mood that is both cynical and heroic. DeMila has no illusions about either side in this war, but he does have his own ode of honor that he follows to the letter. I'd like to think that there were such men during the war & that they survived. ( )
  etxgardener | Jul 9, 2016 |
First chapter was five stars, the others were good, but not great. Poland and Paris exemplify so much of the WW2 experience.

As much as I enjoy Furst's atmospherics, I am starting to wish there were a little more in character development--I wish we could see a little more into the head and heart of de Milja and others. ( )
  gpaisley | Jun 18, 2016 |
The officer of the title is Alexander de Milja, a cartographer in the Polish military who is recruited into the underground when Poland falls to Hitler's troops. His first assignment is to transport the gold of Poland's treasurey on the first segment of its trip out of the country. Other missions follow, in Paris and elsewhere in occupied France, and in Ukraine and Polish border towns after the Germans invade the Soviet Union.

Furst paints a vivid portrait of life under occupation in the various locales, as well as detailing aspects of spying as part of an underground resistance. As in his other books, his characters, everyday people who rise to the occasion, come to life and his prose give the "you are there" quality that make his writing so addictive. Somehow, a series of missions add up to a chilling, thrilling whole. ( )
  ShellyS | Apr 2, 2015 |
Alan Furst has a very unique style of narration and character development. Instead of a typical story arc, the book is broken up into several different stages in de Milja's experience as a spy during WWII. As the novel jumps between events, the reader is given an often oblique description of the characters and events. After I got used to the style I found that you were given a very rich understanding of the time and place without being bogged down in details. Overall a good read for anyone interested in historical fiction and wanting more than a mere thriller. ( )
  fader_a | Mar 11, 2015 |
Alexander de Milja has been offered a miraculous choice. With Poland on the brink of surrender to the Germans, he has a decision to make: stay in the Polish army as Captain and serve on the battlefield (a guaranteed suicide) or join an underground Polish resistance group Zwiazek Walki Zbrojnej. No brainer. His first mission is to secure a successful route for Poland's Gold Reserve to the safety of England via a refugee train headed for Bucharest. This is at a time when the war was filled with uneasy partnerships and extremely unstable alliances. How anybody trusted anyone else is a mystery. Even though it was everyman for himself, de Milja infiltrated a variety of groups and formed key relationships which helped him keep his disguises believable. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Feb 11, 2015 |
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:36 -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)

» see all 8 descriptions

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