środa, 2 maja 2012

The Roots Are Polish



Aleksandra Ziółkowska-Boehm: The Roots Are Polish, The Canadian Polish Research Institute, Toronto. Translated by Nina Krygier-Michalak. Cover design: Mariusz Kiełbasiski; 248 pages. Photographs.
2nd edition 2004

ISBN 0-920517-05-6  Paper


A collection of interviews with Polish personalities in Poland and abroad. Many interviewees are veterans of the Second World War; some are Canadian politicians, still others Yiddish or Polish writers. The volume contains valuable information as it rambles along the borders of notoriety and fame. Ziolkowska-Boehm is a talented and entertaining interviewer.


“In “The Roots are Polish”, Ziolkowska-Boehm crosses back and forth across the Canadian-American border to bring together eighteen interviews with military officers, politicians, physicians, scientists, writers, and artists of the same generation of Polish immigrants. Two of the better chapters are those in which she reminisces about her meetings with Polish authors Isaac Bashevis Singer and Czeslaw Milosz. Unrestrained by the interview format, Ziolkowska-Boehm mixes the authors’ words with her emotional responses to provide the reader with a complex portrait of the two men. In “Three Profiles of a Poet”, for example, Ziolkowska-Boehm draws on personal contacts with the 1980 Nobel Prize laureate, as well as excerpts from his book “Beginnig with my Street”, to capture his full emotional range, from the acerbic to the avuncular”. (…)

While the credentials and achievements of the subjects of “The Roots Are Polish” are impressive, in three cases found worthy of the Nobel Prize, may of them are in particularly specialized fields, such as Aeronautical Engineering and Biochemistry. (…)”.

Charles R.Kaczynski, THE POLISH REVIEW, No 4, 2005

Ziolkowska-Boehm provides an interesting collection of essays of extraordinary people. People with Polish roots, people from all walks of life and people who have been influential in the world. The eighteen reviewed here live in United States and Canada and include politicians, generals, authors, poets, publishers, translators, architects, inventors, doctors, engineers, inventors and more. Originally published in Poland in 1992, several in the group have died since being interviewed. The author obtained interviews in a variety of methods. She researched the person for background, personally visited some people or interviewed them by phone. Many are well known to Americans—Isaac Singer, Czeslaw Milosz, Korczak Ziolkowski, Zbigniew Brzezinski. Others, such as Stanley Haidasz M.D., Canadian Senator, Janusz Zurakowski, test pilot and a member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame, or Zdzislaw Przygoda, Polish-Canadian engineer are little known in the United States.  The interviews are exceptional in that they tell of the life work that made the person exceptional in their field in addition to personal experiences while migrating from Poland to Canada or the United States. (...)

Florence Waszkelewicz Clowes, POLISH AMERICAN JOURNAL, Boston, August 2006 


Wonderful story about Isaac Singer!, January 13, 2001

Reviewer: Michael Kopacky (see more about me) from Washington, D.C. USA

It is a collection of conversation with people who are fascinating. The most wonderful story about Isaac Singer!


„(...) I was delighted to see the interview with me, and I think that you have done an excellent job of interrogation and translation” (…)

Zbigniew Brzezinski, Washinton, D.C. 13 sierpnia 1986

Droga Pani –

Thank you so much for the beautifuly published copy of your most recent book. I was delighted to receive it and also to be updated on your – as always – energetic and fascinating activities.

With best regards,

Zbigniew Brzezinski

Washington, D.C., March 9, 1993

Dear Dr. Ziolkowska-Boehm:

Thank  you for sending me a copy of your fine book „The Roots Are Polish”, I also greatly appreciate your kind dedication.

I have only read so far the chapter about me, because of my extremely busy schedule. I found this chapter to be accurate, nice and quite dignified in contrast to other chapters recently written about me by Polish authors.

With many thanks and best wishes,


Andre V. Schally

Tulane Univ, New Orleans, May 20, 2004 


1. SARMATIAN REVIEW  (Houston) January 1998 pages 508-511 Interview with Isaac Bashevis Singer

2.PERIPHERY Volume 4/5, 1998/199, pgs. 56-60;  Volume 8/9. 2002/03,

       pgs 55-61.

3. NEW HORIZON (New York), January-February 1998, ps. 1418; March-April 1998, p 15-17; July 1999,  p.4-5.

4. NORDOST-ARCHIV VIII/ 1999. Luneburg 2001, Germany str. 765-787

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