Troubador In Search of Staszewski

Released: 28/04/2014

ISBN: 9781783063512

eISBN: 9781783067138

Format: Paperback/eBook

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In Search of Staszewski

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“However horrible the past may have been, forgetting it would make the future even worse.”
International Historical-Enlightenment Human Rights and
Humanitarian Society Memorial, Moscow.

Set around the time of the 1863 Uprising and World War II, In Search of Staszewski is a powerful and moving real life account of a Polish family’s six-year ordeal and fight for survival under Soviet Oppression.

Focusing on a family that were victims of Tsarist Russia’s oppression, the book also investigates Stalin’s brutal regime and the dreaded Gulag system where, in addition to millions of Russian citizens, hundreds of thousands of innocent Poles died as a result. Some survived and escaped the Soviet ‘paradise’, going on to fight courageously alongside allied forces during World War II.

Investigated and told by the son of a survivor, who only learned the truth after the sudden death of his father, two strands of detailed investigation are woven into an emotional journey of discovery, uncovering the shocking details his father was so reluctant to speak about. In Search of Staszewski is not only the story of a fight for survival by four generations of one family, but also of a people’s struggle to preserve their cultural and national identity in the face of powerful neighbours.

Inspired by authors such as Norman Davies, Orlando Figes, and Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Applebaum, In Search of Staszewski uncovers the truth surrounding a little known and largely untold episode of World War II history that will surprise and shock fans of historical and biographical non-fiction works.

A local journalist is in the process of contacting local BBC radio and television! We'll see what develops.

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Betty's Books

This is such an interesting account of WWII, from a personal and historical point of view in Stalinist Russia. I found the book very inspiring, and learned that WWII was in fact, more brutal than most people had imagined for Russia.

by Mary Chen


This opens with a young lad riding on the crossbar of his father’s bike and the setting is the Heavy Wool manufacturing town of Dewsbury, Yorkshire.

This Fedzin family history is unravelled with such a quiet and modest tone it reminded me of the horrors behind the opening track of Amused to Death: Ballad for Bill Hubbard. As each page rolls past the horrors escalate and makes for a gruelling read; I think that using the dead bodies to fuel the locomotive on its way to Archangel will stay with me forever. And what about those Ukrainian Nationalists, that too was a horrible eye-opener.

It would be an insult to all those who were murdered, maimed or disposessed but especially to Kenneth Fedzin and his family, to trivialise this book with a rating. Thank you for sharing, Mr Fedzin.

by Bettie's Books


“I have nearly finished your book and my opinion has not changed. Brilliant.”

by B. Milligan. Oxford.


"Unputdownable!!!!!"

by C. Booth. Wakefield


4.0 out of 5 stars A family's tragic story 30 May 2014

After his father’s death, Kenneth Fedzin began to piece together his family’s history. Now settled safely in Britain, and reluctant to open old wounds, he soon realised that there was much that his father and Uncle had just never talked about, and yet theirs was an amazing story. The more Fedzin discovered, the more there seemed to be to uncover, and over the years he delved into the records, travelled widely to the family’s native Poland, met many of the extended family about whose existence he knew nothing, and discovered a whole family history, one emblematic of the tragedy of war and oppression that has bedevilled the last 150 years or so.
In a clear and well-documented style, Fedzin takes his family tale back to Tsarist Russia, Stalin’s equally brutal regime, the horrors of World War 2, post-war settlement and the subsequent cold war. Fedzin’s family was Polish, and no other nation has surely endured so much tumult as that much fought over land. Brutality, hunger, disease, loss and exile – so many of Fedzin’s family suffered in unimaginable circumstances. The stories he unearthed are heartbreaking.
But the result is this extremely readable and moving book, which, while being about just one family, is also about all the families who have suffered under cruel and unjust regimes, and all those whose lives have been upended by political forces beyond their control.
For a portrait of beleaguered Poland over the years, and its unlucky inhabitants, as well as a powerful and moving account of one particular family, this is an excellent book and one well worth reading.

by By Amanda Jenkinson


A poignant read from a man true to his roots and urged on by a desire for the truth. His forbears flung to the end of the Siberian earth, yet still able to guide his hands in finding them.

This has to be a preview for a film. I could see the characters clearly. The story rich in texture and language. It sent a knife-slash through A level European history learned 40 years ago and in danger of extinction. Who cares about the romanticised versions of Stalin and the Bolsheviks when the recurring truth is staring us in the face?

Ken cuts no ice with his real account of political atrocities, injustice and frustrations, balanced only by inner loyalties and small enduring pleasures.

by Tina Haworth author


In Search of Staszewski gives the reader a good look into Poland's turbulent history. It, also, gives the reader history of the author's family. I really found the book to be interesting. The author's family and ancestors endured so much, including being sent to Siberia to live because of Joseph Stalin's Russian regime. How terrifying for them to live in those conditions. But inspiring how they fought for survival. It was, also, inspiring and fascinating how the author searched and found long lost family members.
The book is not an easy read, but I do think it is worth a read.
5 stars.

by Amy, on Goodreads 6 June 2014


I found the book un-put-downable! Perhaps it grabbed my curiosity because I was born in 1944 and the story unfolds around that period. I learned much about the Russian machine of that era and with disastrous events currently unfolding in The Ukraine; I wonder if things have really changed for the better?
I grew up with a notion of 'Siberia' but now I now I really know what it was all about. (and shouldn't we all?)
Well weaved, well structured and a damn good read!

by Peter New


This is a fascinating look in to the struggles and suffering that took place in Poland before, during, and after WWII. It begins with the author's desire to find out more of his family's history following the death of his father. He begins his search by visiting family members in Poland, where he gradually uncovers a brutal history of invasion (by both Germany and Russia), imprisonment, starvation, torture, and, for many, death. It becomes clear why his father was so reluctant to talk about his early life.

Along the way, the author discovers family members he didn't even know he had, and he make some wonderful new friends. Though this book is non-fiction, it reads like fiction. It is written in such a compelling way, it draws you in to this family's life and struggles. I enjoyed following Mr. Fedzin on his journeys in to the past.

The only thing I didn't like about the book is that he gets in to a lot of the historical details of the war itself - military strategies, government manipulations, etc. I much prefer to read the personal stories of any war, rather than strategic details. For a war/history buff, though, there is much information that would be of interest.

All in all, it is a powerfully moving story about the plight of Poland at the hands of the Germans and Russians, and a wonderful history of one family's struggle to survive and overcome adversity. Well done!

by Kimberly Westrope


5 stars

great work Ken
By Paul Delaney on 19 Sep 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase Amazon
I was hooked from the very beginning of the book, having known the author for over 20 years I never thought he had this in him, great work Ken, what a history lesson.

by Paul Delaney


I have found this book compelling and very informative about so much history I never knew about seen through the eyes of someone who was trying to trace his family history, and what had happened to the family through all the horrible war years. So much tragedy. I found it quite upsetting at times and angry that mankind could inflict so much hardship and cruelty. I can understand why the author's father could not talk about what had happened to him.It is about time all nations came clean and produced all the missing documentation about those who were slaughtered and sent to Siberia. Russia even now covers so much up. Is the same opr similar happening now in the Ukraine. When will it ever stop!
Briallian Well done. Such an informative read and so personal too.I have obtained a copy of the book to give to my Polish friends and my best friend whose father also was Polish, came to England to live and did not talk about what had happened to him and his brother during the war years.

Barbara Summerscales

by Barbara Summerscales


4 out of 5 stars
As you read the book it will grab you and before you know it you will be drawn in and will feel like you are part of the the lif
12 April 2015
By Coco - Published on Amazon.com

Format: Kindle Edition

Given To Me For An Honest Review

In Search of Staszewski by Kenneth Fedzin is the real life account of a polish family's ordeal and fight for survival under Soviet oppression. Once you begin reading this book you will find it hard to put down. After the author's father died, he decided to start researching his family's history. As he researched his family history he discovered the awful history of the German - Russian invasion, imprisonment, starvation, torture and for many death. As you read the book it will grab you and before you know it you will be drawn in and will feel like you are part of the life story. This is a great history of a family's struggle of survival. I recommend this book to everyone, especially if you are a history buff. I look for more from Kenneth Fedzin .... this genealogy written was fantastic!


5 out of 5 stars
Intriguing 6 Jun. 2014
By Amy C - Published on Amazon.com

Format: Kindle Edition

In Search of Staszewski gives the reader a good look into Poland's turbulent history. It, also, gives the reader history of the author's family. I really found the book to be interesting. The author's family and ancestors endured so much, including being sent to Siberia to live because of Joseph Stalin's Russian regime. How terrifying for them to live in those conditions. But inspiring how they fought for survival. It was, also, inspiring and fascinating how the author searched and found long lost family members.
The book is not an easy read, but I do think it is worth a read.
5 stars.


Honest & Gripping 13 Nov. 2014
4 out of 5 stars
By Lyn Smock - Published on Amazon.com

Format: Kindle Edition

A journey of survival told by a wonderful voice. At times overwhelming the challenges that this family faced and yet – if we don’t tell their stories – they will be lost. Amazing and riveting. NetGalley and Troubador Publishing Ltd provided an advanced review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!



Five Stars 24 Aug. 2014
By phyllis - Published on Amazon.com

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Very interesting.

by Amazon


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