God's Playground A History of Poland Vol 2 1795 to the

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


10 thoughts on “God's Playground A History of Poland Vol 2 1795 to the Present

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    I greatly admire the first volume of Norman Davies' history of Poland I absolutely love the second I know a number of women who teach in the local Saturday Polish school that both my children attended Finally an author gives the volunteer Polish school teachers some long overdue praise Davies writesThe typical Polish Patriot of the turn of century was not the revolutionary with a revolver in his pocket but the young lady of a good family with a textbook under her shawlYes it was the volunteer school teachers that kept the Polish language and culture alive for 125 years when no Polish state existed Due to the efforts of similar women in North America Poles retained pride in their culture through several generations When the Solidarity movement appeared Polish North Americans responded with generous and vital financial support while their governments rigorously avoided commitmentAfter describing how the Poles created a national culture in the nineteenth century at a time when their was no Polish state Davies next tells the story of the remarkable General Pilsudski who opportunistically created a new Polish State in 1918 when the Austrian German and Russian empires all crumbled at the same timeThe Polish Renaissance proved to be short as Germany and Russia carved up Poland again in 1939 The Poland that emerged at the end of the war bore little resemblance to the one that existed at the beginningIn 1939 Polish speaking Catholics accounted for just slightly than half of the population There were large numbers of Orthodox Christians Lutherans and Jews in the country Native speakers of Yiddish German Lithuanian and Ukrainian made up roughly 45% of the population The Nazis liquidated the Jews The Russians expelled the Germans to the West They cut the Eastern part of Poland off and gave it to the Ukraine Ukrainians resident in the area given to Poland were sent to the Ukraine while the Poles in the Ukrainian area had to go East Similar population movements occurred between Lithuania and Poland The result for Poland was a monolithic Polish speaking Catholic population Poland thus became something it had never been beforeDavies finishes off the century with the Poles free from Russian control and resolutely moving forward This is a great read