Quiet Hero (Paperback)
Secrets from My Father's Past
Threshold Editions, 9781439165515, 304pp.
Publication Date: May 17, 2011
Emmy® award–winning journalist, TV host, and New York Times bestselling author Rita Cosby has always asked the tough questions in her interviews with the world’s top newsmakers. Now, in a compelling and powerful memoir, she reveals how she uncovered an amazing personal story of heroism and courage, the untold secrets of a man she has known all her life: her father.
Years after her mother’s tragic death, Rita finally nerved herself to sort through her mother’s stored belongings, never dreaming what a dramatic story was waiting for her. Opening a battered tan suitcase, she discovered it belonged to her father—the enigmatic man who had divorced her mother and left when Rita was still a teenager.
Rita knew little of her father’s past: just that he had left Poland after World War II, and that his many scars, visible and not, bore mute witness to some past tragedy. He had always refused to answer questions. Now, however, she held in her hand stark mementos from the youth of the man she knew only as Richard Cosby, proud American: a worn Polish Resistance armband; rusted tags bearing a prisoner number and the words Stalag IVB; and an identity card for an ex-POW bearing the name Ryszard Kossobudzki.
Gazing at these profoundly telling relics, the well-known journalist realized that her father’s story was one she could not allow him to keep secret any longer. When she finally did persuade him to break his silence, she heard of a harrowing past that filled her with immense pride . . . and chilled her to the bone.
At the age of thirteen, barely even adolescent, her father had seen his hometown decimated by bombs. By the time he was fifteen, he was covertly distributing anti-Nazi propaganda a few blocks from the Warsaw Ghetto. Before the Warsaw Uprising, he lied about his age to join the Resistance and actively fight the enemy to the last bullet. After being nearly fatally wounded, he was taken into captivity and sent to a German POW camp near Dresden, finally escaping in a daring plan and ultimately rescued by American forces. All this before he had left his teens.
This is Richard Cosby’s story, but it is also Rita’s. It is the story of a daughter coming to understand a father whose past was too painful to share with those he loved the most, too terrible to share with a child . . . but one that he eventually revealed to the journalist. In turn, Rita convinced her father to join her in a dramatic return to his battered homeland for the first time in sixty-five years. As Rita drew these stories from her father and uncovered secrets and emotions long kept hidden, father and daughter forged a new and precious bond, deeper than either could have ever imagined.
About the Author
Praise For Quiet Hero: Secrets from My Father's Past…
"One of Poland's great treasures has now been found. Richard Cosby and his Resistance comrades are true heroes in our historic fight for freedom. Without their courage, Solidarity would never have won its final battle."
—Lech Walesa, Former President of Poland
"This is an incredible story of survival and sheer courage."
—General Tommy Franks, U.S. Army (Ret.), Former Commander, U.S. Central Command
“QUIET HERO is an intensely captivating and inspiring story of a daughter uncovering her father’s past…a wonderful and riveting story of a daughter finally getting to know her father. Reading it reminds me of my first visit to Poland in 1964 with my parents. We were overwhelmed with the enthusiastic response of the Polish people. Rita’s book captures the passion of her Polish heritage with verve and love.”
—Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, Daughter of Robert F, Kennedy
"A beautiful tribute to the strength of the human spirit."
—Dr. Henry Kissinger, Former Secretary of State
"Rita's story is one that will touch every family. . . . A loving, poignant tribute to her POW father and freedom."
—Senator John McCain
"Rita Cosby's compelling book captures an important part of history. In its intimately personal way, Quiet Hero honors those, like her father, who fought valiantly and often anonymously against true evil."
- David Harris, Executive Director, AJC (American Jewish Committee)