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PART I: INTRODUCTION Solidarity Songs Acknowledgments Chapter 1: The Solidarnosc Era in Historical Perspective: Labor Protests, Polish Communism, and the Soviet Bloc, 1956-1981 by Mark Kramer PART II: THE STRIKE Chapter 2: "The People were the Hero": Conversation with Jerzy Borowczak Chapter 3: The Making of a Solidarity Revolution: Conversation with Bogdan Borusewicz Chapter 4: Hoeing the Moon: Conversation with Bogdan Felski Chapter 5: Moments of Conscience: Conversation with Andrzej Gwiazda and Joanna Duda Gwiazda Chapter 6: A Time for my Convictions: Conversation with Aleksander Hall Chapter 7: The Morality of Truth: Conversation with Adam Hodysz Chapter 8: Looking for Alternatives: Conversation with Piotr Kapczynski and Anna Mlynik Chapter 9: "We were all equal at the Shipyard": Conversation with Zenon Kwoka Chapter 10: The Revolution that Evolved: Conversation with Bogdan Lis Chapter 11: Solidarity of Attainable Goals: Conversation with Jacek Merkel Chapter 12: Woman of Iron: Conversation with Anna Walentynowicz Chapter 13: The Price of Freedom: Conversation with Lech Walesa Chapter 14: The Soup that Became a Downpour: Conversations with Krzysztof Wyszkowski and his older brother Blazej Wyszkowski PART III: THE DEMOCRATIC OPPOSITION Chapter 15: The Making of NOWA: Conversation with Grzegorz Boguta Chapter 16: The Fringe of the Possible: Conversation with Andrzej Celinski Chapter 17: The Godfather of the Polish Opposition: Conversation with Jacek Kuron Chapter 18: The Spirit of Gazeta Wyborcza: Conversation with Adam Michnik Chapter 19: The Solidarity of my Generation: Conversation with Henryk Wujec PART IV: THE EXPERTS Chapter 20: The Berlin Wall Started Falling in the Gdansk Shipyard: Conversation with Bronislaw Geremek Chapter 21: Lining Up Democracy: Conversation with Tadeusz Mazowiecki Chapter 22: Always Right: Conversation with Jadwiga Staniszkis PART V: ASSESSMENTS Chapter 23: The Controversy over Lech Walesa: A Review Chapter 24: Managing Religion in Communist-Era Poland: Catholic Priests versus the Secret Police Chapter 25: Anna Walentynowicz and the Legacy of Solidarity in Poland PART VI: APPENDIX Chapter 26: Chronology Chapter 27: Declassified Documents from the Russian State Archive of Recent History Translated and introduced by Mark Kramer Works Cited

About the Author

Michael Szporer is professor of communications, arts and humanities at the University of Maryland University College.


Szporer (communications, arts, and humanities, Univ. of Maryland Univ. College) has put together a collection of 25 eyewitness accounts of intellectuals and workers who were involved with the creation of the Solidarity trade union and the advent of the workers strike at the Gdansk Shipyard in summer 1980. In effect, the book consists of the author asking questions and recording the answers of leading participants who organized the first non-Communist workers union and strike behind the Iron Curtain. The book is a fascinating and valuable documentary of how a group of workers and intellectuals formed a workers union in defiance of the Polish Communist and Soviet-backed government, and then leveraged the union into a political challenge to the Soviet Bloc. Surprisingly, the Solidarity leaders did not have the support of the Polish Roman Catholic Church at first; all they had was their unity of purpose and their courage. The book has an appendix that includes a chronology of events and some documents from the Russian archives related to Solidarity. Summing Up: Recommended. * CHOICE *
Michael Szporer's Solidarity the Great Workers Strike of 1980 is a fascinating story, told in many voices, of the world's largest strike to date which signaled the fall of the Soviet empire. Solidarity's peaceful revolution is the beginning of the 21st century, a correction of the lie perpetrated by the October Revolution. It is a story of people mobilizing a nation and taking down a totalitarian ideology with minimum loss of life. While at the time I closely followed the ups and downs of the events in Poland, I found the inside story of the movement that changed our world very revealing and remarkably human. I highly recommend this brilliant work to anyone interested in the real history of a major event that contributed to ending the Cold War. -- Lt. General Edward Rowny, former Chief U.S. Strategic Arms Negotiator
Michael Szporer's Solidarity: The Great Worker's Strike of 1980 is a very valuable contribution to the history of the first successful anti-Communist movement in the Soviet camp. It consists mainly of interviews with leading figures in this movement elucidating their thinking and their moods. -- Richard Pipes, Harvard University
A marvelous historical record of the great workers' protest that led to the downfall of 'workers' state,' first in Poland, then in the Soviet Union. Through documents, photographs, and interviews with leading participants, including Lech Walesa, Michael Szporer sheds important new light on the Gdansk shipyard strike of August 1980 and the role it played in the collapse of communism. Solidarity advisor Bronislaw Geremek is correct to conclude that the Berlin wall 'started falling in the Gdansk shipyard.' -- Michael Dobbs, Washington Post correspondent in Poland and the Soviet Union, 1980-1991, and author of "Down with Big Brother: The Fall of the Soviet Empire."
Most Americans don't understand how or why the Cold War ended. But Michael Szporer's definitive book on the brave Polish 'Solidarity' underground will both inform and inspire them. Pope John Paul II told the Poles, 'Be not afraid!' and they proceeded to free not only Poland but all of Eastern Europe. -- Georgie Anne Geyer, syndicated columnist and author of "Predicting the Unthinkable, Anticipating the Impossible."
The book is and will be a very important, if not the main source document on the process of the formation of free trade unions (WZZ) in Poland in 1980, and the opinion of their leaders on the effects of creeping, the Polish revolution of 1980-89. * Polish News *

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