“Finland, superb, nay sublime in the jaws of peril,” an awestruck Winston Churchill declared over BBC in January, 1940, in the midst of the so-called Winter War, “Finland shows what free men can do!” To be sure, if World War II has a “forgotten campaign,” it is the epic, improbable war-within-a-war that pitted tiny Finland against the might of the Soviet Union between November, 1939 and March, 1940, and the subject of my latest book, The Hundred Day Winter War, from the University Press of Kansas, and which—hallelujah–is about to go into its second printing.
When, on November 30, 1939, the USSR invaded Finland at nine points with a half million men and two thousand planes, virtually everyone, including both Allied and Axis observers, as well as the complacent Soviet themselves, expected a quick walkover. The Reds’ deadline for conquering Finland was December 21, 1939, Joseph Stalin’s sixtieth birthday. Instead, in a gallant stand that captured the world’s imagination, the miniscule Finnish army and air force were able to hold off Stalin’s mechanized echelons for 105 incredible days. Ultimately, after a second even more massive Red assault in February, the exhausted, grossly outnumbered Finns, assisted by over 12,000 volunteers from around the world—including 350 gung ho Finnish-Americans, were forced to capitulate, but not before logging one of the great last stands in the annals of warfare, to rank alongside Thermopylae, Bastogne and the Alamo.
The long-awaited U.S. edition of “real-time” history of this pivotal if all but forgotten chapter of the Second World War and most ambitious book is based on the original version which I wrote for my Finnish publisher, WSOY, and was a No. 2 best-seller in 2010. However as proud as I am of the original version, The Battle of Finland (Taistelu Suomesta), I must say that the English edition is a considerable improvement on the original, armed as it is (so to speak) with a cache of new maps and photos which I personally selected from the Finnish Army Archives, most of which have never been published before. It took no less than three years and hundreds of hours of work on the part of my staff to “convert” the original edition, which was oriented for a Finnish audience, to one that would appeal to the broader English language one. However as everyone who has read the new Kansas edition agrees, it was worth the effort!
In the meantime, the book has also been translated into Russian and Estonian, the fourth and fifth foreign languages in which my work has appeared, along with Dutch, Finnish, and Portuguese. Onward!
See the author interviewed about the original Finnish edition of the book by fellow Fennophile Cody Oreck,the brilliant (and gorgeous!) wife of United States Ambassador to Helsinki, the Rt. Hon. Bruce Oreck on the occasion of a gala presentation of the book at the Hotel Kamp December, 2010.
Order your copy here!