THE SOLIDARITY CHALLENGE
AN AUSTRALIAN DIARY
Hardback with dust cover.
480 pages, $59.95
Late in September 1980, John Burgess arrived in Poland to head up the Australian Embassy in Warsaw. Little did he realise that he would witness major developments leading eventually to the end of communism in Poland and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, and dissolution of the Soviet Union. This book tells the story which Ambassador Burgess was able to witness personally at close quarters, from the emergence of the independent trade union, Solidarity, at the Lenin shipyards in Gdansk, until the imposition of martial law in December 1981 and beyond.
John Burgess as ambassador has the gift of assessing events calmly, both in the confidential cablegrams which he regularly sent home and in his second thoughts about what actually happened in Warsaw, Moscow, Washington, and Canberra during this crisis in East-West politics. ... He writes clearly and thoughtfully.
- Professor Geoffrey Blainey, AC
John Burgess was born in Dandenong, Victoria. In 1961 he graduated from
the University of Melbourne with honours in History and English. Towards
the end of a 30-year career in the Australian foreign service he served
as Australian ambassador to a number of European countries including
Poland. He and his wife live in Canberra.