The Struggle and the Triumph

More than anyone else, Lech Wałęsa has been responsible for Poland’s nonviolent transition from a Soviet communist state to a modern democracy. As leader of the Solidarity Trade Union Movement, Wałęsa directed its transformation from a free and independent trade union to the first major opposition party to offer Polish voters an alternative to communism. THE STRUGGLE AND THE TRIUMPH offers a candid self-portrait of the remarkable leader who rose from the ranks as an electrician in the Gdansk shipyards to guide Solidarity through the difficult period of martial law from 1981-1988, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in 1983.

THE STRUGGLE AND THE TRIUMPH is divided into three parts, in which Wałęsa speaks of his family, his public life, and his religious faith. He makes it clear that his political accomplishments would not have been possible without the support of his extraordinary wife, Danka, and the closeness of his family life with their eight children. Three visits by Pope John Paul II to Poland also helped to maintain the spirit of the Polish people during the dark period of martial law.

Wałęsa’s self-portrait is all the more remarkable given the fact of his limited education and practical experience as a union organizer. A man of the people, he discovered during Poland’s march to independence that being a political leader and a national symbol often isolated him from his followers in the Solidarity Movement. THE STRUGGLE AND THE TRIUMPH records the courage and moral vision of a hero of Polish independence.