God's Playground: A History of Poland / Edition 2

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Overview

The New York Times Book Review

"This is beyond doubt not only the best book on Poland in the English language; it is the book on Poland." -The New York Times Book Review

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
Superbly readable, rich in detail yet never boring or trivial . . . This is beyond doubt not only the best book on Poland in the English language, it is the best book on Poland.
Stanislaw Baranczak
This two-volume book is a truly magnificent work, and there is no doubt that it is the best introduction available to the incredible imbroglio of Polish history. I am not thinking only of its scholarly merit and its depth of insight. Nor only of the fact that the book reads extremely well, thanks to the author's vivid style, his wide spectrum of sources... and his good sense of humor.... What is even more worthy of recognition is that Professor Davies had managed to maintain an equilibrium between understanding and objectivity, sympathy and criticism.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231053525
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 6/15/1982
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 725
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Norman Davies is chairman of the history department, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, at the University of London. He has been a visiting professor at Columbia and McGill Universities.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Maps and Diagrams Illustrations Notes on the Illustrations Abbreviations Chronology

I. Poland Destroyed and Reconstructed, 1795-1945

1. Narod: The Growth of the Modern Polish Nation (1772-1945)
2. Rossiya: The Russian Partition (1772-1918)
3. Preussen: The Prussian Partition (1772-1918)
4. Galicia: The Austrian Partition (1773-1918)
5. Fabryka: The Process of Industrialization
6. Lud: The Rise of the Common People
7. Kosciol: The Roman Catholic Church in Poland
8. Kultura: Education and the Cultural Heritage
9. Zydzi: The Jewish Community
10. Wojsko: The Military Tradition
11. Emigracja: The Polish Emigration
12. Varsovie: The Duchy of Warsaw (1807-1815)
13. Kongresowka: The Congress Kingdom (1815-1864)
14. Cracovia: The Republic of Cracow (1815-1846)
15. Wiosna: The Springtime of Other Nations (1848)
16. Reveries: The Thaw and the January Rising (1855-1864)
17. Rewolucja: Revolution and Reaction (1904-1914)
18. Feniks: The Rebirth of the Polish State (1914-1918)
19. Niepodleglosc: Twenty Years of Independence (1918-1939)
20. Golgota: Poland in the Second World War (1939-1945)
21. Granice: The Modern Polish Frontiers (1919-1945)

II. Contemporary Poland since 1944

22. Partia: The communist Movement
23. Polska Ludowa: The Polish 'People's Republic' (since 1944)
24. Solidarnosc: The Solidarity Decade
25. Wolnosc: Freedom Regained, 1990-2000

Postscript Notes on the Text Suggestions for Further Reading Index

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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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