Who was Kosciuszko?

The Peasant Prince: Thaddeus Kosciuszko and the Age of Revolution, by Alex Storozynski, is the first comprehensive biography of the most legendary figure in Polish history. Also available for purchase at the Kosciuszko Foundation.

Who was Thaddeus Kosciuszko?

In the United States

  • He tried to buy Thomas Jefferson's slaves and free them.
  • He designed the blueprints for West Point, which Benedict Arnold sold to the British.
  • He planned the Battle of Saratoga, the turning point of the American Revolution.
  • He stood up for the rights of Native Americans, and the chief of the Miami Indian tribe gave him a tomahawk/peace pipe as a sign of appreciation.

In France …

  • The French Revolutionaries made him an honorary "Citizen of France."
  • He warned these same revolutionaries about Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • Three weeks later, Napoleon staged a coup d'etat and took over France.

In Poland…

  • He led a Revolution to free the peasants from serfdom and end feudalism.
  • He was joined by a black man named Jean Lapierre who tried to help him to free white slaves.
  • The Jews started a Jewish "Bearded cavalry" to fight along side of him.
  • The Jewish cavalry leader called him "a messenger from God."

Kosciuszko was a prince of tolerance who stood up for the rights of European serfs, African Slaves, Native American Indians, Jews, Women and all groups that were disenfranchised. Even Thomas Jefferson called Kosciuszko, "The purest son of liberty I have ever known."

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From Publishersweekly.com:  

The Peasant Prince: Thaddeus Kosciuszko and the Age of Revolution Alex Storozynski. St. Martin's/Dunne, $27.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-312-38802-7

Prize-winning journalist Storozynski pulls military strategist and engineer Thaddeus Kosciuszko (1746-1817) back from the brink of obscurity by including almost every documented detail to create the first comprehensive look at a man who once famously symbolized rebellion. His were the plans sold to the British by Benedict Arnold. And Kosciuszko's years of devotion to the American cause framed his efforts to transform Poland into a self-governing republic freed from the oversight of Russia's interests. He antagonized Catherine the Great and, later, Napoleon. Kosciuszko rallied the first Jewish military force since biblical times to fight for Polish independence, and consistently supported equality and education for peasants, Jews, Muslim Tatars and American slaves-which earned him the devotion of the masses and lectures by the upper classes. Readers of military and American history should take note: the minute details will enthrall devotees. Casual readers will benefit from Storozynski's expert crafting of a readable and fact-filled story that pulls readers into the immediacy of the revolutionary era's partisan and financial troubles. (May)

Author's Bio

Click here for Alex Storozynski's bio.