GUSTAW HERLING was born near Kielce, Poland, in 1919. In 1939, after war interrupted his university studies, he helped found an anti-Nazi underground organization in Warsaw. He was arrested the following year in a Russian-occupied sector of Poland and spent two years in a Stalinist slave-labour camp on the White Sea. His experiences there are described in his acclaimed novel A World Apart. After his release he joined the Polish army, went to the Middle East and then Italy where he fought at the Battle of Monte Cassino and was awarded the highest Polish military honour. After the war ended he lived for a time in London and Munich, then moved to Naples where he married Lidia, daughter of the philosopher Benedetto Croce, contributed to a number of journals and wrote four highly regarded works of fiction and non-fiction. He died in 2000, aged eighty-one. His writing has achieved international status, and his work has been translated in more than seventeen languages.