Peszke, Michael Alfred 1932-
Peszke, Michael Alfred 1932-
Born December 19, 1932, in Deblin, Poland; son of Alfred Bartlomiej and Eugenia Halina Peszke; immigrated to United States, 1956; married Alice Margaret Sherman, September 20, 1958; children: Michele Halina Olender, Michael Alexander. Education: Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, B.A.; Dublin University, M.B., B.Ch., B.A.O., 1956; board-certified psychiatrist.
Yale University, Student Health Service, New Haven, CT, staff psychiatrist, 1961-64; University of Chicago School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, assistant professor, 1964-68; Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, consulting psychiatrist, 1968-70; University of Connecticut, School of Medicine, Farmington, assistant professor, 1970-73, associate professor, 1973-80, professor of psychiatry, 1980-90; University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Baltimore, clinical professor, 1991-99; Perry Point VA Medical Center, Perry Point, MD, chief of psychiatry service, 1990-98, co-coordinator, research and development, 1998-99. Director of psychiatric clinical services at John Dempsey Hospital, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, 1983-87; chief of Veterans Administration Medical Center, Newington, CT, 1987-90; independent researcher, 1999; chairman, advisory committee to the endowed chair of Polish and Polish American studies at Central Connecticut State University, 2001-06; adviser to American Polish Advisory Council.
American Psychiatric Association (life member, distinguished), Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America, American College of Psychiatrists, Royal United Service Institute, Society for Military History.
Involuntary Treatment of the Mentally Ill: The Problem of Autonomy, Thomas (Springfield, IL), 1975.
Battle for Warsaw, 1939-1944, East European Monographs (Boulder, CO), 1995.
Poland's Navy, 1918-1945, Hippocrene Books (New York, NY), 1999.
The Polish Underground Army, the Western Allies, and the Failure of Strategic Unity in World War II, McFarland (Jefferson, NC), 2005.
Contributor to books, including The College Drop-Out and the Utilization of Talent, edited by L.A. Pervin, L.R. Reik, W. Dalrymple, 1966; and The Future of Psychiatric State Hospitals, edited by J. Zusman, E. Bertsch, 1975. Contributor to journals, including University of Chicago Law Review, Connecticut Law Review, and American Journal of Psychiatry.
Michael Alfred Peszke "is a psychiatrist by profession and historian by avocation," as Jolanta W. Best put it in a Sarmatian Review critique of his book The Polish Underground Army, the Western Allies, and the Failure of Strategic Unity in World War II. His focus as a historian is the role of his native country, Poland, in that conflict. His father, like many other Poles, served with the British Royal Air Force in World War II, leading to Peszke's interest in this topic.
In The Polish Underground Army, the Western Allies, and the Failure of Strategic Unity in World War II, Peszke details the contributions Poland made to the Allied effort. He discusses the many Polish flyers who joined the Allies in the Battle of Britain in 1940; the Polish role in other Allied campaigns, including the battle for Arnhem in the Netherlands; the Poles who assisted in breaking Germany's Enigma code; strategies developed by the Polish military to drive out the occupying German forces, and the failure of the Warsaw Rising of 1944 to do so; and Poland's endeavor to bring Romania and Hungary into the Allied camp. He also discusses a campaign that occurred off the battlefield, as Poland's government-in-exile tried to assure their nation's postwar autonomy. This failed, with Poland becoming a satellite of the Soviet Union after the war. Peszke blames this outcome largely on the British.
Several critics thought Peszke had convincingly demonstrated that Poland played an important role in the eventual Allied triumph. Best deemed his book "particularly good" at detailing Poland's contributions, and further described the work as "ambitious, well written, and revealing." It is "characterized by symmetry and clarity," Best reported, dubbing the author "a master of succintness." Michael A. Boden, writing in the Military Review, called the volume "solid and worthwhile."
Some other reviewers expressed disappointment that despite the book's title, it pays scant attention to the Polish Underground, also known as the Home Army. Matthew R. Schwonek, critiquing for the Journal of Military History, remarked: "It has little to say about the Home Army, except as an object of the London-based Government-in-Exile's schemes and undertakings." Curtis H. O'Sullivan, a contributor to Air Power History, commented that Peszke "offers several disclaimers about what the work is not," but this "doesn't absolve him of giving inadequate information about his subjects." O'Sullivan, though, saw "bright spots" in the work, especially that it provides "a fresh angle" on Poland's wartime role. "It is always useful to get a different perspective," O'Sullivan added.
There also were some who found Peszke overly critical of British leaders. Bill Stone, reviewing for the Stone & Stone Second World War Books Web site, reported that Peszke accuses the British military of allowing Polish troops to take especially heavy casualties, and British political leaders, including Prime Minister Winston Churchill, of facilitating postwar Soviet domination of Poland. The author "seldom finds any aspect of British behavior worthy of honor," Stone observed, adding: "To heap so much blame on the Brits without admitting how much was beyond their control does justice to no one."
Stone nonetheless wrote that Peszke's book "offers a great many nuggets of information" and is "worth reading, even if not all of its suppositions, implications, accusations, and conclusions can be taken at face value." In Boden's opinion, however, Peszke's work offers "solid analysis" and "convincing" arguments. Boden concluded that Peszke provides "new insight into the relationship of Poland and its allies." Best added: "The book challenges us to think critically about the interpretations of the Second World War proffered by a large segment of the American academia."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Air Power History, December 22, 2005, Curtis H. O'Sullivan, review of The Polish Underground Army, the Western Allies, and the Failure of Strategic Unity in World War II, p. 58.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, July 1, 1996, K. Eubank, review of Battle for Warsaw, 1939-1944.
European History Quarterly, April 1, 1997, John Erickson, review of Battle for Warsaw, 1939-1944, p. 290.
International History Review, November 1, 1997, Michael Jabara Carley, review of Battle for Warsaw, 1939-1944, p. 955.
Journal of Military History, October 1, 2005, Matthew R. Schwonek, review of The Polish Underground Army, the Western Allies, and the Failure of Strategic Unity in World War II, pp. 1251-1252.
Military Review, January 1, 2006, Michael A. Boden, review of The Polish Underground Army, the Western Allies, and the Failure of Strategic Unity in World War II.
Sarmatian Review, April 1, 2006, Jolanta W. Best, review of The Polish Underground Army, the Western Allies, and the Failure of Strategic Unity in World War II, p. 1220.
Stone & Stone Second World War Books,http://www.sonic.net/~bstone/ (April 3, 2005), Bill Stone, review of The Polish Underground Army, the Western Allies, and the Failure of Strategic Unity in World War II.