Paylie Roberts spent the first eight years of her life living under communist rule in Poland. From age eight on she grew up in the US and became so Americanized that she refused to acknowledge her native Polish heritage, including her birth name. Only after researching the history of why her family was exiled from Poland by the communist government did she realize the tremendously important and unique lessons that the Polish Solidarity movement offers about overcoming tyranny, oppression, and corruption, and how these lessons are imminently relevant and applicable to America today. Paylie combines her personal story with historical facts and sheds light on the many unnerving similarities between growing up in communist Poland in the early 1980s and life in the US now, in a way that is engaging, insightful and inspiring. She recounts her memories of living under the Soviet Union’s rule over Poland, as her family struggled along with most other Poles just to survive. This book also includes memories that are only told by Poles as they were never recorded in “official” history due to media censorship during those years. Paylie wrote this book not only to honor the brave Polish people (including her parents) for defeating tyranny using largely non-violent means, but also with the hope of spreading knowledge that could help prevent her worst fears from manifesting regarding what the future in “free” America may hold.
My two cents:
Essential in understanding the former United States of America both today and tomorrow, “Memories of Poland” is well-written, heavily footnoted, and tragically persuasive. In capturing what life was like behind the Iron Curtain, the author shows us what life will be like here as socialist tyranny progresses. Even more importantly, she explains how the captive Polish people were able to defy their rulers and create a new future for their country.
Buy two copies: one for you, and one to be shared by the young people in your life.