If there is going to be a war, I do not want to miss it." So writes Julian Kulski a few days before WWII begins, in this remarkable diary of a boy at war from ages 10 to 16. As the war unfolds through his eyes, we are privileged to meet an inspirational soul of indomitable will, courage and compassion. At age 12 Kulski is recruited as a soldier in the clandestine UndergrouIf there is going to be a war, I do not want to miss it." So writes Julian Kulski a few days before WWII begins, in this remarkable diary of a boy at war from ages 10 to 16. As the war unfolds through his eyes, we are privileged to meet an inspirational soul of indomitable will, courage and compassion. At age 12 Kulski is recruited as a soldier in the clandestine Underground Army by his Boy Scout leader, and at age 13 enters the Warsaw Ghetto on a secret mission. Arrested by the Gestapo at age 14 and sentenced to Auschwitz, he is rescued and joins the commandos. At age 15, Kulski fights in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. He ends the war as a German POW, finally risking a dash for freedom onto an American truck instead of waiting for Soviet "liberation....
|Title||:||The Color of Courage: A Boy at War: The World War II Diary of Julian Kulski|
|Number of Pages||:||496 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Color of Courage: A Boy at War: The World War II Diary of Julian Kulski Reviews
Advanced reading copy reviewAuthor Julian Kulski was there. He was 10 years old when WWII began and Germany invaded Poland. By the time he was 14, he was working with the Polish resistance and being interrogated by the Gestapo. At 15 he was a commando in the hottest part of the Warsaw Uprising. He was captured and sent to a German POW camp where he spent the rest of the war fighting fever and famine. His book "The Color of Courage" (originally released as "Dying, We Live" in 1979)tells his story in journal form, written at the age of 17 in an attempt to purge the PTSD he suffered. It is a gripping tale, told well and quickly paced. For anyone with interest in Poland's role in WWII, this book is a treasure trove. Many photos throughout the book accentuate the story and pages of "digital extras" provide QR code links to websites and archives for further research. Julian never explains who was taking the pictures or how they survived but we're just glad they did. He also doesn't always tell us the fate of the people he fought with either, but probably because he doesn't know. All in all a welcome addition to any WWII library.
This is the type of book one really can't review. How do you review the memoirs of someone's life, especially the most troubling time of their life. I finished this about a week ago and needed the time to recover before putting down my thoughts here. The author wrote these memoirs at the age of 16 while convalescing in the hospital after being liberated from a German POW at the end of WWII, at the suggestion of his doctor as an aid in his mental recovery. The memoirs were first published in 1979 and have been thankfully reprinted again. This is a book that should always be available for people to read as an historic reminder of what happened to Poland and the Polish people during the Nazi occupation and Russian invasion, their resilience, then the final backstab as they were handed off to Lenin's Communist Regime from which they didn't break free until 1989 with the leadership of Lech Walesa. Julian was a 10-year old boy when his country was invaded and he describes through a child's eyes what happened in his home, Warsaw, almost daily over the next five years. He goes from being a boy who can't wait to be old enough to join the army, to one who sees the men of his country being loaded onto cattle cars and sent off to labour camps. Then he tells the horrid and inhuman tale of the Warsaw Ghetto as the Jews, including his little girlfriend and her family, are rounded up and starved and slaughtered. His frustration at living in a house amidst his mother, aunts and little sister end with him going to live with his former Scoutmaster who recruits him for the Polish Underground (Home) Army, mostly teens and some children, boys and girls alike, who fought bravely against the occupation and matured quickly to be the ones who led the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. The whole story of Poland under siege, under occupation, is one of a country and a people with a tremendous amount of strength. Through their faith and their pride in the country's heritage they never gave up the fight from oppression, for freedom. Kulski's memoir is particularly heart-wrenching and eye-opening as it gives an eyewitness account of Poland's WWII years through the eyes of a child as he grows to adolescence but never considers himself a victim even though he's imprisoned and 'interrogated' by the SS. Of particular note are this volume's visuals: there are many photographs from the era like nothing I've seen before. The slaughter, the devastation, the armed children at post in uniform, the hangings ... They cause the reader to pause and I did have to put the book down several times get an emotional breather. Plus the publisher, Aquila Polonica, has included several internet links to rare original footage the likes of which were either totally fascinating or heartbreaking. I highly recommend the book and hope this will stay in print for this and future generations to never forget what happened to Poland and how the Polish as a nation responded to oppression. Great thanks to Mr. Kulksi for sharing his darkest moments with the world.
A must read. My family was well-acquainted with a small Polish woman with a thick accent and a big heart. Lydia's stories of her activities as a member of the Polish Underground during World War II were heart-stopping. I cannot spell her last name, but she was a living hero to those who knew her in our small town of Hurricane, Utah. Everything she shared before she died is backed up by Julian Kulski in this book. The amazing courage of hundreds of teen-agers, and others, fighting desperately for their native land when it was overwhelmed by the converging armies of two megalomaniacs is as inspiring as it is heart-rending. The resistance in the face of brutal suppression, even when there was little hope, makes one hope he has a little Polish blood in him. The author gives many details of his interactions with Jewish friends, what happened in the Warsaw Ghetto, and how loyal Poles tried to help. His friends and loved ones, many of whom were taken by the Gestapo and never seen again, become a much more real than reading about the statistics of the war. He mentions how Poles who escaped to fight the Nazis in many parts of the world distinguished themselves as among the most effective units on many fronts in multiple branches of service among the allied forces...and how, after the war, communist Russia did everything they could to suppress their reputation of honor. Links to 11 videos on the net are included. In the Epilogue the author reminds us: "The fight for freedom does not cease with the winning or losing of individual battles, but is timeless. It does not take long to turn freedom-loving people into slaves...This makes me certain that no amount of effort, no amount of resistance, and no amount of tears is too much in defense of liberty."
Although the book jacket states that the author was a child when he wrote this diary covering the years 1939-1945 (he actually reconstructed his daily life after the War, when he was 16 or 17); don't let that stop you from reading this. Kulski was the type of 10 year old who was already reading Zola among other things, and although his primary talents ultimately lay in the visual arts, he is a better story teller than most adults. Hence, the immediacy of the writing kept me on the edge of my seat.Kulski, who comes from a privileged non-Jewish background, makes it pretty clear that it was not only the Jews who suffered (although they were treated worse by the Germans). Rather than passively enduring occupation, the Poles of Warsaw managed to be a considerable thorn in the side of the Nazis for their determination to die rather than surrender. The diary captures the chaos of those times including the Blitzkrieg, the creation and burning of the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto and the ultimately doomed Warsaw Uprising of August 1944. Because Kulski was a 15 year old soldier in the uprising, he was captured and then shipped to a POW camp in Germany where he stayed until Liberation.I don't see this as a kid's book (although it seems like it is being marketed that way). However, it could be right up there with the Diary of Anne Frank in teaching high school classes about World War II.
A remarkable book. I have read many books about WWII, and many about the Warsaw Ghetto, but this book is unusual in that the author, in his teens, is able to tell the book with an immediacy that is very compelling. He is able to describe a country that never surrendered during the war, but did not become free until the fall of communism in 1989. Poland was the only county during the war that was invaded by two countries -- Germany and Russia. A great read.
This is definitely a book for adults not children. There are a few graphic descriptions of the atrocities committed by the Nazis during the Warsaw uprising. It starts with the author’s memories of the invasion as witnessed by a 10 year old. Because of his father’s position in the pre-war Polish government, his family was very closely watched by the Gestapo. He was not deterred from his desire to strike back at the Nazis even by the arrest and murder of family members and friends.Through the whole book runs one thread and at the very end he explains his reasons both for fighting and for writing this book. In one paragraph he inspires you to defend freedom more forcefully than any speech I have ever heard. Here is the quote that will stay with me."The fight for freedom does not cease with the winning or losing of individual battles, but is timeless. It does not take long to turn freedom-loving people into slaves under a totalitarian dictatorship. I watched in horror as my countrymen in Poland were turned from being free into slaves - first by the Germans, and five years later, for the next forty-five years, by the Russians. This makes me certain that no amount of effort, no amount of resistance, and no amount of tears is too much in defense of liberty" I hope I will have his courage if I am ever called to stand. It really made me ponder. How easy we have our freedom here and how lightly we hold it. Political freedom is transitory and based largely on our actions, but what about true individual freedom? Eternal Freedom? Freedom from Death? Eternal Life. Just as our political freedom was bought for us by our forefathers, eternal life had to be bought for us in a bloody fight. Unlike the fight to maintain political freedom though, the fight for eternal life was won. Never again will it be fought.Jesus came to earth as the only sinless man to fight death for us. He offered Himself as a sacrifice to pay our debt of sin. Then rose from the dead and offers us eternal life free. Those that gave us political freedom can only pass on the fight to maintain it. Jesus gave us his victory. Just trust in Him. "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
This is the second book of his I've read (the first was a shorter paperback that was a general account of his time during the war, not in diary form), and this was again very well-written, fascinating, and emotionally draining. I'm left thinking about what I read long after I finished. I want to recommend it to everyone! Kulski's diary doesn't seem to be written by a 16-year-old at the end of the war; it is a very mature account (to match his very mature actions during the war) that recounts very specific details from the August '39 to May '45. The richness in detail brings each day to life quite vividly, and you really feel how he was reliving the day through all of his senses. What many WWII books lack is a credible first-hand account that goes as deeply as Kulski's story does. Every event in Warsaw is brought to life through the eyes of someone who lived through the oppression, both mentally, emotionally, and physically. It's frankly unbelievable that someone can survive what the Nazis put that city through. It was eye-opening to read - and makes you see parallels, sadly, to events going on in the Middle East by ISIS. This book should really be read by adults and school children alike (high school age, perhaps?) as a valuable history lesson and learning tool to prevent it being repeated. Just a note: my parents know Mr. Kulski and lent me their copies of the books to read. That made me more eager to read them, of course, but I would review this book the same even if I knew nothing of him from real life.
This book is fascinating and very inspiring. Written about a 15yr old freedom fighter, the author. Very well done and easy to read. Having visited Warsaw in 1973, still under Soviet rule and yet a beautiful city with the old town beautifully restored. Now reading about the uprising undertaken by sorely under armed boys and girls against well trained and armed regular German soldiers. The Germans had tanks, flame throwers, planes and bombs and yet the Polish youngsters made great strides for 2 months of unrelenting fighting. Where do you find courage like that? The Allies should be ashamed of how they failed the Polish people by turning a blind eye on Stalin--an even more brutal beast than Hitler.
I read the entire book in two days. It's shocking to know children have to live through such horrors during wars. As written previously, it's impossible to write a review on someone's life, therefore all I will say is that this book is a revealing description of how civilians can collaborate in a context of bloodshed and courageously fight for their country, regardless of their age.
Should be a staple in every high school library.