Solidarity: The Great Workers Strike of 1980

The seventeenth book, Solidarity: The Great Workers Strike of 1980 by Michael Szporer, consists of a fascinating set of interviews with all the leading figures responsible for the formation of Solidarity in Poland in the summer of 1980.  Starting in the late 1990s, Szporer systematically interviewed 25 key individuals, including Lech Wałęsa, Anna Walentynowicz, Adam Michnik, Jacek Kuron, Janusz Onyszkiewicz, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, and Bronisław Geremek.  Szporer’s careful annotations in the interviews and an introduction to the book by Mark Kramer provide context for readers to grasp the significance of the emergence of Solidarity. The book underscores the courage of the Polish workers as they defied Communist strictures and Soviet domination.  The workers at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdańsk initially had few hopes of being allowed to set up their own trade union, but their doggedness enabled them to push much further than they had anticipated.