God's Playground: A History of Poland, Volume 1 (Revised Edition) / Edition 2

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The most comprehensive survey of Polish history available in English, God's Playground demonstrates Poland's importance in European history from medieval times to the present. Abandoning the traditional nationalist approach to Polish history, Norman Davies instead stresses the country's rich multinational heritage and places the development of the Jewish German, Ukrainian, and Lithuanian communities firmly within the Polish context.

Davies emphasizes the cultural history of Poland through a presentation of extensive poetical, literary, and documentary texts in English translation. In each volume, chronological chapters of political narrative are interspersed with essays on religious, social, economic, constitutional, philosophical, and diplomatic themes.

This new edition has been revised and fully updated with two new chapters to bring the story to the end of the twentieth century.

Columbia University Press

"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

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.
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231128179
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 3/30/2005
  • Edition description: revised edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 638
  • Sales rank: 236,805
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Norman Davies is chair of the history department, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, at the University of London.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Maps and Diagrams Illustrations Notes on the Illustrations Chronology

I. Introduction: The Origins to 1572

1. Millenium: A Thousand Years of History (Historiography)2. Polska: The Polish Land (Historical Geography)3. Piast: The Polonian Dynasty (to 1370)4. Anjou: The Hungarian Connection (1370-1386)5. Jogaila: The Lithuanian Union (1386-1572)

II. The Life and Death of the Polish-Lithuanian Republic (1569-1795)

6. Antemurale: The Bulwark of Christendom (Religion)7. Szlachta: The Nobleman's Paradise (Society)8. Handel: The Baltic Grain Trade (Economy)9. Miasto: The Vicissitudes of Urban Life (The Cities)10. Anarchia: The Noble Democracy (Constitution)11. Serenissima: Diplomacy in Poland-Lithuania (Foreign Affairs)12. Valois: The French Experiment (1572-1575)13. Bathory: The Transylvanian Victor (1576-1586)14. Vasa: The Swedish Connection (1587-1668)15. Michal: The Austrian Connection (1669-1673)16. Sobieski: Terror of the Turk (1674-1696)17. Wettin: The Saxon Era (1697-1763)18. Agonia: The End of the Russian Protectorate (1764-1795)

Notes on the Text


Columbia University Press

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