"Dan Ford is a conjurer of literary magic. In just over 200 pages, he tells a tale that is sad and funny, innocent and wise; he weaves together tragedies great and small, the many facets of love and loss, commentary on peace, war and cultural differences. And he does all that with an artist's touch, creating not just images but atmosphere, personalities, and dramatic tension.... It's an extraordinary book, highly original, gripping, at once full of joy and of sorrow." (Irene Tomaszewski, Cosmopolitan Review, March 2014)
Poland's Daughter: a story of love, war, and exile
The Second World War -- the worst thing that ever happened. It started in September 1939, with Hitler's Wehrmacht invading Poland from the west, and Stalin's Red Army storming in from the east. Among their victims was a five-year-old named Basia Deszberg. The Russians shot her father and brother in the Katyn Forest, then loaded Basia, her sister, and her mother into a cattle car for a horrific three-week journey to the steppes of Kazakhstan, there to survive as best they could. Over the next eight years, they would escape through Persia, Lebanon, and Egypt to safe haven in England.
By contrast, Daniel Ford grew up in a United States mired by the Great Depression. Europe's agony was America's windfall! He went from hardscrabble poverty to a college degree and a fellowship that took him to the English university where Basia was also a student. This is the story of their meeting, their travels, and their parting. It is, promises the author, both a love story and a history lesson, and one you will never forget.
Poland's Daughter: How I Met Basia, Hitchhiked to Italy, and Learned About Love, War, and Exile is available as an e-book for Amazon's Kindle reader, the Barnes & Noble Nook, the iPad at the Apple iBookstore, and the Kobo reader. The trade paperback is stocked by Amazon stores in the U.S. and Europe, at Barnes & Noble, and from the Book Depository (which ships the book worldwide for just a few dollars over retail price).
Go here for more about the research that went into this book.
Daniel Ford has spent a lifetime studying the wars of the 20th century, several of which have brushed him more or less closely. He grew up during the Second World War and got his bachelor's degree from the University of New Hampshire during the Korean War. He served a two-year hitch in the U.S. Army at Fort Bragg and at Coligny Caserne in Orleans, France, during a rare interval of peace. After an apprenticeship at The Overseas Weekly in Frankfurt, Germany, he returned to New Hampshire and a life as a free-lance writer and editor. One assignment took him to Saigon to write about the burgeoning war in South Vietnam. A tour of the Central Highlands with Special Forces commandos gave him the kernel of his black novel, Incident at Muc Wa, which was filmed as Go Tell the Spartans with Burt Lancaster in the starring role.
Fast forward to the American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Realizing that his military credentials had grown mossy in the years of peace, Dan earned a master's degree from King's College London in an online program designed for mid-career officers in the British Army. His thesis, a study of the strategic thought of Colonel John Boyd, was published as A Vision So Noble. He lives and works in Durham, New Hampshire.
• Editor: When I Am Going: Growing Up in Ireland and Coming to America, 1901-1927 (Anne Crowley Ford), 2012
• Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and His American Volunteers, 1941-1942, 1991, revised and updated 2007
• Editor: The Lady and the Tigers: Remembering the Flying Tigers of World War II (Olga Greenlaw), 2002
Most of these are available as e-books for the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook, as are several monographs and magazine articles.