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God's Playground: A History of Poland

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2002

    Excellent but rough going in spots

    This is not a book for the casual history fan. But if you have a true interest in Poland, Davies' book will reward your effort. At several points in the book, I almost gave up because of the intricate details (particularly about money) that pepper the book. Ultimately, I stayed with it, and I'm glad I did. In fact, I'm looking forward to Volume 2. (One sad note on Vol. 2 is that it was published in 1984 and therefore doesn't cover the dramatic changes in Poland and Eastern Europe of the last 15 years.) Some tips. Skim the first chapter of the book where Davies does a 'history of the history of Poland.' For most of us, it is not important to know that various writers throughout history have brought their personal or political biases to their portrayal of Poland (although the particular bias of the communist era is mind-boggling). Second tip. Skim the sections on money. Davies has a economist's passion for economics, markets and currencies; but for me it was rough going. Third tip. Have a general atlas of Europe (or history atlas) handy. Some of the maps in Davies' book (paperbound edition) are literally illegible. In summary, I recommend this book to anyone with a keen interest in the history of Eastern Europe. Davies has an entertaining style of writing and has a knack for bringing historical figures and events to life.

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