Memories of Poland Lessons From Growing Up Under Communism by Paylie Roberts
©2015 Paylie Roberts
ISBN: 978-0692423400 397 pages $17.95 retail price
Published by Paylie Roberts Books
Available from Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, or other booksellers.
This is one of those books reviewers like because it is a good book, yet hate because it is difficult to categorize. By the author’s own admission, it is history, biography, and a treatise of her Libertarian views, so take your pick.
As a prepper and scholar of 20th Century Eastern Europe, I was doubly pleased to receive a copy of this book in my mailbox. That part of the world has no end of lessons we can learn about government gone amok against its citizens. The problem is most folks slept through history class and have no idea where Poland is located. This is aggravated by the fact that most history books are boring and dry. This book is not.
I have two criticisms: First, this non-fiction work has no index or bibliography. I assume this manuscript was created on a computer and as such, an index and bibliography are simple to create. Even though time consuming, the process of adding these items is also an aid to catching typos and other errors in the narrative, and are a great aid to the reader trying to find certain information. Secondly, at first glance, the cover of the book makes one think the title is Solidarność, which is Polish for Solidarity, a trade union. The union plays a major role in Polish history and this book, but it is not the title.
That said, this book is worthy of your time. The author departed Poland at the age of eight, and the memories of her homeland are hers as a young child and secondhand stories from her older family members. They are all valuable real-life testimony of just how bad governments can become.
I agree with the author’s thesis that the USA is sliding into totalitarianism. I would say that most governments are following suit, as that is what governments do. Some would say we are already there, but there is always time to turn the tide. We need to return to “the land of the free” and stop being the “land of the monitored”. Chapter 10 is aptly named: “Options: Fight, Flight, or Act Outside the Box.” There are many good suggestions on how to fight back against oppressive government that is worth the price of the book.
The forty-five pages of references are a gold mine of additional information for anyone wanting to dig deeper into the various subjects. I usually read a book like this with two bookmarks: one in the narrative and one in the endnotes. Keeping a sheet of paper close at hand for notes as you go is beneficial, as I was always admonished to never write in a book.
This book begins in Poland in the early 1980s with corrupt government officials, food rationing, all telephones tapped by the intelligence services, and a shortage of toilet paper. That sounds like Venezuela or China today, or the entire lifespan on the Soviet Union.
There is a good comparison of socialized medicine and the Affordable Care Act, public education, national identification cards, government spying on citizens, and political correctness in all lifestyles.
The author explains the decision to turn off her television and the life of her family has been better ever since. Your blood pressure goes down and the constant negative junk is no longer intruding in your home and your brain. I recommend you turn off your television and read this book.