Two great books of earlier epochs than WWII but both a highly recommended read. Zofia Kossak-Szczucka was IMO is one of the best historical writers that Poland ever produced as well as being one of the co-founders of Żegota. All of her books were removed from Polish libraries by communist regime after WII. There is a welcome resurgence of interest in her works within Poland today. Now it just remains for the English translations to gain due recognition again
Angels In The Dust: A Novel Of The First Crusade (1947). Author: Zofia Kossak, Publisher: Roy Publishers
One of the strangest periods in history is here given realistic and disillusioning treatment in this novel of the First Crusade. The story reads like history animated by vivid characterization, and a sense of the emotional values of the conflicts. Most of the characters are known to students of the times:- Bishop Adhemar, chosen to lead the Crusade inspired by Peter the Hermit; Raymond of Toulouse; Godfrey of Bouillon, who with Tanored emerges head and shoulders above the mob of self seekers; Robert of Normandy; Baldwin; Bohemond of Tarentum; Walter the Penniless, who combined with Peter to lead a peasant army to destruction; wives, satellites, countless thousands unheralded by history or legend. Inspired by various reasons to undertake the Crusade,- economic, political, reasons of personal ambition, of trade, of greed, and- among the leaders- too few by religious zeal. The crusaders lived off the breadth of Europe before they joined forces at Byzantium, there to find themselves stripped of their riches, and dependent upon Alexius, who alone could speed them on, and who demanded first an oath of fealty. Then there's the escape of a part of the army to Asia- the fall of Nicaca in 1097 -- the march to Antioch, the siege and fall, and once again siege; then the miracle of escape from failure, though the horde is reduced to a handful by famine, treachery, lust, jealousy and other ills. Bohemund won Antioch; Baldwin deserted- and won Edissa; a handful went on and Jerusalem fell in 1099. Plot and counterplot- drama- adventure- romance- a great story, which occasionally lags in multitude of detail, but emerges, a vigorous whole.
The Meek Shall Inherit : A Novel (1948) Author: Zofia Kossak-Szczucka, Publisher: Roy Publishers
Reviewed In The Forum, February 1949
A tale of Poland in the seventeenth century, The Meek Shall Inherit, by Zofia Kossak (Roy, $3.00), is love story, adventure, and a little philosophy of long ago. In his search for truth, the central figure, a nobleman, learns much about the life of his own poor. The influence of church and priest, always felt in Polish life, is manifest.