New Books Network

Historian and academic Roger Moorhouse, revisits the opening campaign of World War II, the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, in his new...

Historian and academic Roger Moorhouse, revisits the opening campaign of World War II, the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, in his new book Poland 1939: The Outbreak of World War II (Basic Books, 2020). Although the German invasion was the cause of the outbreak of World War II, oddly there has not been much by way of English language treatments of this pivotal historical episode. With this fine and highly readable narrative history, Moorhouse more than makes up for this omission. Combing English, German and crucially Polish language sources, Moorhouse reveals to the reader the German campaign from start to finish. Along the way showing that stereotypical Western images of the Polish army: cavalry charging tanks, are mythological in nature and inaccurate. Moorhouse also details for the reader the shameful refusal of the British and French governments to assist their Polish ally. Equally well illustrated is the Soviet Union’s invasion of Eastern Poland. With the Soviet mythology that the invasion was mostly ‘peaceful’ and well-received, just that: a myth. In short, Roger Moorhouse presents to the reader a highly interesting narrative history of an important historical episode. All from the author of Berlin at War and The Devil’s Alliance.


Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written recently for Chatham House’s International Affairs.