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Wojtek the Bear: Polish War Hero Hardcover – November 2, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Birlinn (November 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841588458
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841588452
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 5.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,065,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


'It is both moving and amusing' - Lord David Steel

About the Author

Aileen Orr was born and raised in Lockerbie before going on to study at the London School of Economics. After working for the Bank of America she joined and headed a new political team as regional director of the Countryside Alliance. She is now an advisor to Michael Russell MSP.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By James Denny on December 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The story of Wojtek, a brown bear adopted as a orphaned cub by Polish soldiers is well-known in some quarters, notably in Britain and among Polish veterans of World War II. However, his story may not be so well known elsewhere. Aileen Orr's new biography "Wojtek the Bear, Polish War Hero" will help to remedy that.

Orr grew up in post-World War II in the Borders area of Scotland on a farm near to a Polish troop demobilization center. It was there in the period immediately after World War II that her grandfather came to know and love Wojtek, a brown bear who served and was given a rank in the Polish Second Army. By the time Orr was a young girl, Wojtek had become a resident of the Edinburgh Zoo. This is where Orr would go to visit Wojtek. Wojtek lived until the age of 22. He died at the Zoo in 1963.

The saga of Wojtek (pronounced Voy-check) begins with his adoption in 1942 by Polish troops stationed in Iran. His socialization was as a member of a platoon of men, not as a wild bear as he would otherwise have been, gatherering and hunting for food, wary of men. What is fascinating is that Wojtek probably considered himself as much a human as a bear since from an impressionable age he had no mama bear to teach him. Instead, he modeled himself as a soldier, following the lead of the soldiers as they did their daily duties and practiced their field maneuvers.

For more than five years, Wojtek lived freely with the Polish soldiers, modeling his behavior on theirs, wrestling with them, rough-housing and playing games with them, eating as they ate. A mascot and morale-booster, Wojtek was this and much more. The Polish Second (Artillery) Corps moved many times from Iran to Iraq, to Palestine, to Egypt, Italy and finally, to Scotland. As the Army moved, so did Wojtek.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One need to read. Real and unbelievable story about terrible times, wonderful animal and not so wonderful people.
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