From the time he founded Solidarity in 1980 to the historic moment in December 1990 when he took the oath of office as the first freely elected president of Poland in half a century, Lech Walesa had all eyes on him. He became the symbol of freedom and hope not only for Poland but for all the countries in the former Eastern Bloc. Walesa’s dreams for his own beleaguered homeland rejuvenated the entire world’s faith in democracy and inspired a movement that changed the map of Europe and altered the course of history.
Here, in his own words, is his unforgettable story. Picking up from his earlier volume of memoirs, The Way of Hope, Walesa continues his account of Poland’s inexorable march toward independence by reliving what may have been the darkest moment of all. The murder of Father Popieluszko by government thugs in 1984 was a crime of such callous horror that it froze the attention of the nation and the world. Solidarity and Walesa, like Poland itself, were still mired in the dull nightmare of totalitarianism. It was only under the nurturing guidance of Pope John Paul II that Solidarity could once again rise up and challenge the Polish government and its apparatchiks, until There is no freedom without Solidarity” could once more echo off factory walls and from church pulpits.
More than an inside account of Poland’s history, The Struggle and the Triumph is a candid self-portrait by a fascinating, unique, and outspoken man who played a vital role in keeping democracy alive.
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