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Heart of Europe: The Past in Poland's Present

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The image of Poland has once again been impressed on European consciousness. Norman Davies provides a key to understanding the modern Polish crisis in this lucid and authoritative description of the nation's history. Beginning with the period since 1945, he travels back in time to highlight the long-term themes and traditions which have influenced present attitudes. His evo The image of Poland has once again been impressed on European consciousness. Norman Davies provides a key to understanding the modern Polish crisis in this lucid and authoritative description of the nation's history. Beginning with the period since 1945, he travels back in time to highlight the long-term themes and traditions which have influenced present attitudes. His evocative account reveals Poland as the heart of Europe in more than the geographical sense. It is a country where Europe's ideological conflicts are played out in their most acute form: as recent events have emphasized, Poland's fate is of vital concern to European civilization as a whole. This revised and updated edition tackles and analyses the issues arising from the fall of the Eastern Bloc, and looks at Poland's future within a political climate of democracy and free market.


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The image of Poland has once again been impressed on European consciousness. Norman Davies provides a key to understanding the modern Polish crisis in this lucid and authoritative description of the nation's history. Beginning with the period since 1945, he travels back in time to highlight the long-term themes and traditions which have influenced present attitudes. His evo The image of Poland has once again been impressed on European consciousness. Norman Davies provides a key to understanding the modern Polish crisis in this lucid and authoritative description of the nation's history. Beginning with the period since 1945, he travels back in time to highlight the long-term themes and traditions which have influenced present attitudes. His evocative account reveals Poland as the heart of Europe in more than the geographical sense. It is a country where Europe's ideological conflicts are played out in their most acute form: as recent events have emphasized, Poland's fate is of vital concern to European civilization as a whole. This revised and updated edition tackles and analyses the issues arising from the fall of the Eastern Bloc, and looks at Poland's future within a political climate of democracy and free market.

30 review for Heart of Europe: The Past in Poland's Present

  1. 4 out of 5

    Neil

    A 'concise' and informative read on the breadth of Polish history. A good precursor-read to God's Playground which comes in two volumes and contains much more detail. This book is heavy in parts but a complete Polish history is not for the faint of heart! Thoroughly enjoyable and eye-opening, especially for us 'sheltered' Westerners! A 'concise' and informative read on the breadth of Polish history. A good precursor-read to God's Playground which comes in two volumes and contains much more detail. This book is heavy in parts but a complete Polish history is not for the faint of heart! Thoroughly enjoyable and eye-opening, especially for us 'sheltered' Westerners!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jakub

    Serce Europy jest książką kierowaną do szerokiej publiczności a w tym dobrze spełnia swoje zadanie. Ma swoje słabe strony jak i mocne, ale ogólnie jest dobrą i dość obiektywną. Jednak nadal myślę, że pisanie historii od czasów najnowszych do najdalszych to nie dobry pomysł.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    Norman Davies made a great contribution to those of us living in North America and Western Europe by finally explaining Polish history properly to thus. This was no mean feat given how different were Polands political systems and social structures throughout most its history from those in France and England which are so familiar to us. Read both Volumes of God's Playground his monumental survey of Polish history which is a seemingly bottomless well of insight on Poland. The Heart of Europe is sim Norman Davies made a great contribution to those of us living in North America and Western Europe by finally explaining Polish history properly to thus. This was no mean feat given how different were Polands political systems and social structures throughout most its history from those in France and England which are so familiar to us. Read both Volumes of God's Playground his monumental survey of Polish history which is a seemingly bottomless well of insight on Poland. The Heart of Europe is simply a flop. Rather than a narrative history of Europe, it examines dominant themes in Polish in Poland's historical conscious. He is most concerned with the issue that faced Poland's aristocratic and bourgeois elites from 1783 to 1983: whether to rebel quixotically against the foreign occupiers (initially three: Russia, Prussia and Austria later reduced to one the Soviet Union) or to attempt to work constructively within the systems imposed by the occupying powers to promote Poland's physical well-being and culture. Up until the unexpected success of Solidarity, the armed revolutionaries had done nothing but make matters worse. Six different armed revolts in two centuries had only incitee the foreign powers to oppress Poland even more harshly. Davies thus developed a clear sympathy towards those who favoured collaborating with the occupier. sho at least managed to preserve Poland's survival as a state and even at times to ensure a certain level of physical comfort for the Poles. In fairness to Davies, the collaborators loved Poland and its people as much as did the hotheads who instigated armed uprisings that invariably made matters worse. Davies however being a right wing person never at any point in his life had significant contacts with Poland's blue collar workers nor its equally blue-collar clergymen. Thus he completed underestimated the strength, organization and determination of Walesa's Solidarity and Jean Paull II's followers who finally secured independence for Poland. The great historian in fact proved to be the worst of oracles. Do not waste your time with this ghastly book. Read instead "White Eagle, Red Star", "God's Playground", "Rising 44" or "Microcosm" where you will this great historian displays his remarkable talent.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alain

    Al principio prometía, pero al final no me ha gustado prácticamente nada. Un libro de historia sin ningún tipo de aclaración de dónde saca sus fuentes y que usa constantemente frases como "la mayoría de los polacos piensan que tal" sin explicar de dónde se saca eso de "la mayoría" cuando está hablando de los polacos del siglo XVIII y no hay forma de saber lo que piensa "la mayoría". Además, muy irregular: hay capítulos que se leen en media hora y capítulos que se hacen pesadísimos y tienes que s Al principio prometía, pero al final no me ha gustado prácticamente nada. Un libro de historia sin ningún tipo de aclaración de dónde saca sus fuentes y que usa constantemente frases como "la mayoría de los polacos piensan que tal" sin explicar de dónde se saca eso de "la mayoría" cuando está hablando de los polacos del siglo XVIII y no hay forma de saber lo que piensa "la mayoría". Además, muy irregular: hay capítulos que se leen en media hora y capítulos que se hacen pesadísimos y tienes que saltarte decenas de páginas que no aportan nada. Tengo en casa otro libro de Norman Davies que pinta bastante mejor, así que a ver si hay suerte y los errores monumentales sólo se encuentran en este y no en los demás.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sherley

    I don't understand how can a nation base its history on the hands of its neighbors. I don't understand how can a nation base its history on the hands of its neighbors.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tim Boyer

    In "Quicksilver" by Neal Stephenson, there is a scene where John Sobieski, King of Poland, kneels in prayer before leading his magnificent cavalry in a charge to route the Turks as they laid seige to Vienna in 1683, the proverbial "Barbarians at the Gates". It is an electric image and always left me wondering where Sobieski and the Poles fit in historically and why they helped at Vienna. In "Heart of Europe: The Past in Polands Present" by Norman Davies, I learned that Sobieski was a powerful King In "Quicksilver" by Neal Stephenson, there is a scene where John Sobieski, King of Poland, kneels in prayer before leading his magnificent cavalry in a charge to route the Turks as they laid seige to Vienna in 1683, the proverbial "Barbarians at the Gates". It is an electric image and always left me wondering where Sobieski and the Poles fit in historically and why they helped at Vienna. In "Heart of Europe: The Past in Polands Present" by Norman Davies, I learned that Sobieski was a powerful King of Poland and that he was fanatical in fighting the Turks, to the extent that he allowed the Muscovites and Prussians at his borders to grow strong and eventually remove his kingdom from the map with the help of the Austrians whom he had rescued at Vienna. But Sobieski's cavalry charge at Vienna gets only one sentence in Davies history. Poland has a fascinating history which may have been brought to life in Davies two volume "Playground of the Gods", which he notes with pride was listed as one of the books of the millenium in Poland, but it certainly is not here. Davies writes for historians who already know the history and want to get down to the analysis. For those of us, like me, who don't know Polish history, this is probably the wrong book. On the other hand, Davies long discourse on the importance of literature to the Poles during their long period of partition between Germany (Prussia), Austria, and Russia is brilliant. He says that Poland has as rich of a literary history as Russia, but that the Polish writer was obsessed with the question of Polish freedom from the occupying powers, whereas the Russian writer was free to ponder more universal questions. As a consequence, the Polish literary canon is almost unreadable (Davies words) to a non-Pole. Nevertheless, he takes the reader through the canon, and makes it fascinating. He also stresses how important literature was to the Pole then, and in the era of the Solidarity movement in the late 1970-80s. It gives hope to anyone who thinks they can change the world through literature. And despite Davies glossing over, Polish history is fascinating, and his discussions are often very enlightening. What are the roots of the Polish nation? How did the Polish people keep their identity through 125 years when there was no Polish nation? How did the Catholic church become predominant? What happened to Poland's minorities? What was Polish communism? Poland is really the heart of Europe and knowing its history really pulls together European history from West to East. Davies does dismiss the lack of Polish help for the Jews of Poland during Nazi occupation by stating that Poland was occupied and they could barely help themselves, much less someone else. This is nonsense, and a glaring omission in a history of the country which housed the Warsaw ghetto along with most of the most notorious concentration camps. I read yesterday that a Polish lady from Warsaw who saved over 5,000 Jewish children just died lamented that she didn't do more. So there is more to the story than Davies writes. Note that the book was first published in 1984 and the discussion of the military coup of 1981 is exhaustive, although usually interesting. There is an added chapter written in 2000, but it doesnt really fully bring the reader up to the present Polish situation. I would recommend the book only for those with nowhere else to go for a survey of Polish history.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lorenzo Berardi

    Pretty good summary of 1100 years of Polish history written by the author of the monumental "God's Playground". This book has a peculiarity: it goes backwards leaving out everything that happened after Jerzy Buzek. Be prepared, then. The first edition of the book was published in the mid 1980s, therefore the account starts from this period to get back as far as the almost mythological Mieszko I and the beginning of the Piast dinasty. Nevertheless, if you own one of the last editions of "Heart of E Pretty good summary of 1100 years of Polish history written by the author of the monumental "God's Playground". This book has a peculiarity: it goes backwards leaving out everything that happened after Jerzy Buzek. Be prepared, then. The first edition of the book was published in the mid 1980s, therefore the account starts from this period to get back as far as the almost mythological Mieszko I and the beginning of the Piast dinasty. Nevertheless, if you own one of the last editions of "Heart of Europe" you will find a couple of extra chapters at the end which, although subverting the top-bottom chronology of the book, are very welcome. Here Davies investigates over the record of the 7 prime ministers Poland had in 7 years between 1989 and 1997 and tries to foresee what would have come come next. What I liked in this book is that there are bits of "human touch" while talking about the "poetry side" of early Solidarnosc in Gdansk or writing about Polish culture and literature citing important names such as Rey, Słowacki, Sienkiewicz, Konwicki, Miłosz, Szymborska and Huelle. I kind of like Davies' writing style which has just this tendency of being too dry and self-satisfied sometimes, but confirms how this guy is probably the maximum living expert on Polish history. The only thing I found a bit disturbing is how Norman Davies talks about himself ("the author") in third person at some point underlining how this "God's Playground" of him is considered "one of the books of the Millennium" (I beg your pardon: by whom?). Which could even be true, but still a lower profile and a little more demureness may help this superstar of historian!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dimitri

    By the time the Solidarity movement started to have an impact on the political stabilty of communist Poland in the early 80's, the Iron Curtain had long cut this country off from the conscious memory of Western Europe. Davies was at hand to resfresh that memory. More than an introduction to the history of the Polish lands, which have never completely corresponded to the frontiers of the state at any time, this book is a declaration of love to the accomplishments of Polish culture and the sheer r By the time the Solidarity movement started to have an impact on the political stabilty of communist Poland in the early 80's, the Iron Curtain had long cut this country off from the conscious memory of Western Europe. Davies was at hand to resfresh that memory. More than an introduction to the history of the Polish lands, which have never completely corresponded to the frontiers of the state at any time, this book is a declaration of love to the accomplishments of Polish culture and the sheer resilience of its inhabitants. You tend to agree once you've attended a Chopin concerto in Krakow, seen the ruins in the Uprising Museum and wandered a resurrected Warshaw. My grandparents can talk of "having lived through the war" in occupied Belgium, but by comparison we got off easy. The 2001 edition updates events from the fall of communism to the turn of the millenium. These addenda are of limited value, but the 'current events' opening chapter has matured into eyewitness history.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Serwach

    Have read many books about Poland and this is my favorite. Davie's two-part ``God's Playground'' is the definitive history of Poland but it was written 30 years ago before Solidarity/the fall of Communism, etc. and is pretty long. This book puts it all into perspective in a better format starting in the present and going back to find ``the past in Poland's present'' rather than chronologically. Loved the book. Underlined A LOT. As I got near the end this morning I couldn't put it down. Have read many books about Poland and this is my favorite. Davie's two-part ``God's Playground'' is the definitive history of Poland but it was written 30 years ago before Solidarity/the fall of Communism, etc. and is pretty long. This book puts it all into perspective in a better format starting in the present and going back to find ``the past in Poland's present'' rather than chronologically. Loved the book. Underlined A LOT. As I got near the end this morning I couldn't put it down.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Malcolm

    Poland, Europe's geographic centre, is brought to life in an excellent, accessible, engaging national history. Excellent insight into the past of the misnamed 'new' Europe. Poland, Europe's geographic centre, is brought to life in an excellent, accessible, engaging national history. Excellent insight into the past of the misnamed 'new' Europe.

  11. 4 out of 5

    April

    Davies was the historian Poles turned to when the Wall fell in 1989. Read this, and you will know why.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dhclaw

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book describes history of Poland in an easy and approachable way, so it's great for people who'd like to get to know it better. Of course it is pretty brief, more brief actually the further it goes in the past. That's what you get if you want whole history of a country described in one book. It is a bit more detailed when it comes to The Polish People Republic and Soviet Union influence. Author tries to judge Polish struggles on a moral level. I find him too optimistic about Poles as he trie This book describes history of Poland in an easy and approachable way, so it's great for people who'd like to get to know it better. Of course it is pretty brief, more brief actually the further it goes in the past. That's what you get if you want whole history of a country described in one book. It is a bit more detailed when it comes to The Polish People Republic and Soviet Union influence. Author tries to judge Polish struggles on a moral level. I find him too optimistic about Poles as he tries to present them in a brighter light than reality might prove. It's hard to understand why author keeps mentioning how big was role of Church on the road to freedom, but describes any specific way of it helping. Norman opinion of Poles might also be a bit off, he claims that Poles have more love to Church or idea of nobility than they have in reality. There was an interesting idea about positivism and romanticism as two ways of life in Poland (+ sometimes a neutral approach). That kind of polarization still fits nicely into the way Polish people have strong beliefs on many subjects and would never compromise. Just as it would be hard to compromise on whether to collaborate with your oppressor or spark a revolution.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alec

    4.5 stars. 'Heart of Europe' is a fantastic read about Poland, and Norman Davies rightfully deserves praise for his research and writing. The breadth of history covered in 'Heart of Europe' is tremendous and ranges from the Piasts to the People's Republic, running in reverse chronological order. Too often, Poland is treated one of two ways: either as a country deserving of pity for the atrocities it suffered at the hands of tyrants, or as one receiving shallow praise from the West looking to hon 4.5 stars. 'Heart of Europe' is a fantastic read about Poland, and Norman Davies rightfully deserves praise for his research and writing. The breadth of history covered in 'Heart of Europe' is tremendous and ranges from the Piasts to the People's Republic, running in reverse chronological order. Too often, Poland is treated one of two ways: either as a country deserving of pity for the atrocities it suffered at the hands of tyrants, or as one receiving shallow praise from the West looking to honor the heroic memories of those who bled for their land and held back the Russian advance towards Western Europe over the centuries. 'Heart of Europe' is intended for a non-Polish audience, as a survey of the ideas and themes which permeate Polish history such as Romanticism v. Positivism, the boiling-over of popular uprisings and the age old battle for an independent nation. While some of these themes aren't solely Polish, they reemerge constantly over the centuries as the people of Poland fought for, wrote about and reflected on what it meant to be Polish. In today's political climate, the same questions are being asked and the deep, historical trends of Polish history still cause divisiveness.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michal Guzowski

    Książka która otwiera oczy na Polskę i jej historię. Nie wybiela, ale też docenia kiedy trzeba. Można z niej także dowiedzieć się ciekawych rzeczy jak np wielokulturowość polski (co łamie popularne mniemanie o polakach jako nacjonalistach) czy naszą odwieczną miłość do zachodu i animozje do wschodu (co tłumaczy wiele naszych dążeń i decyzji). Dokładnie także są omówione rozterki Polski z okresu powojennego i PRL.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Philip

    Davies does a good job providing an informative look on Poland, including valuable insights into and behind the issues plaguing the country today.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Wojciech Pawlik

    Nie jest to synteza - jest to synteza syntez, napisana przez zagranicznego historyka. Ma to zarówno swoje słabe strony jak i mocne. Zacząć należy od tego, że książka została napisana przed "Bożym Igrzyskiem", głównym dziełem traktującym o historii Polski autorstwa Daviesa oraz przed przemianami ustrojowymi w 1989. Nowinką jest pisanie historii Polski od czasów najnowszych do najdalszych. Jestem zwolennikiem takiego sposobu i uważam, że sporym błędem w nauczaniu historii w szkołach ponadpodstawowy Nie jest to synteza - jest to synteza syntez, napisana przez zagranicznego historyka. Ma to zarówno swoje słabe strony jak i mocne. Zacząć należy od tego, że książka została napisana przed "Bożym Igrzyskiem", głównym dziełem traktującym o historii Polski autorstwa Daviesa oraz przed przemianami ustrojowymi w 1989. Nowinką jest pisanie historii Polski od czasów najnowszych do najdalszych. Jestem zwolennikiem takiego sposobu i uważam, że sporym błędem w nauczaniu historii w szkołach ponadpodstawowych jest praktycznie pominięcie lat PRL`u, 1945 - 1989; lat najważniejszych dla każdego współczesnego Polaka. Narracja zaczyna się więc od powstania Solidarności oraz stanu wojennego a kończy na pierwszych Piastach. Jeśli chodzi o ocenę zawartości... Ogólnie oceniam jako dobrą i dość obiektywną. Punkt widzenia wyspiarza, przenikiający czasem między zdaniami i słowami, jest wartościowym dodatkiem do znanych faktów historycznych. W nietkórych momentach uproszczenia i owa synteza są wręcz bolesne, ale zrozumiała. Jednak czasem punk widzenia Davies`a jest wręcz sprzeczny z faktami historycznymi. Wybielanie naszych angielskich i amerykańskich sojuszników w kontekście Teheranu i Jałty, opisywanie ich jako naiwnych "graczy w tenisa", którzy starli się z bezwględnym Stalinem, nie bojącym się fauli - nie przekonuje mnie. Nikt w 1944 nie miał złudzeń kim jest Stalin i w jaki sposób prowadzi swoją "grę" a alianci myśleli o swoich partykularnych interesach, wśród których w świetle pochodu Armii Czerwonej niepodległa Polska nie była priorytetem. Autor w zasadzie przyznaje, że tak jest, z niewiadomych jednak powodów próbuje zrzucić zachowanie alianckich dyplomatów nie na wyrachowaną grę polityczną a zwykłą nieświadomość... Nie potrafi przy tym użyć słowa "zdrada" czy chociaż "zdrada z konieczności" czym w rzeczywistości Jałta była (mając 1000 żołnierza na 1 km kwadratowy w Poslce Stalin i tak mógł zrobić co mu się żywnie podobało, bez względu na reakcję sojuszników). Jeśli ktoś chce dowiedzieć sie więcej o Jałcie, powinien zaglądnąć do prac Krystyny Kersten. Niejednokrotnie Davies również używa metafor, które deliktnie rzecz mówiąc są trochę naciągane, czasem aż zbyt obrazowe lub wręcz śmieszne. Trzeba jednak pamiętać, że to książka kierowana raczej do szerokiej publiczności. All in all daję 3,5. Jako przypomnienie niektórych okresów historii Polski oraz rzut oka na ową historię z zagranicznej perspektywy - jak najbardziej godna polecenia.

  17. 4 out of 5

    JShier JShier

    I was taught nothing about Europe's history at school. Hence I bought some books and this was one of them. It is actually a political history, only touching on the plight of the people, but gives very deep insights into the political history of Poland (and hints at some surrounding nations), which allows the reader to understand what life must have been like, is like, and why. There are a lot of names and dates, but this is still a very engaging read. It covers Polish political history right bac I was taught nothing about Europe's history at school. Hence I bought some books and this was one of them. It is actually a political history, only touching on the plight of the people, but gives very deep insights into the political history of Poland (and hints at some surrounding nations), which allows the reader to understand what life must have been like, is like, and why. There are a lot of names and dates, but this is still a very engaging read. It covers Polish political history right back to the 1300s, then comes back through the decades to the present. The later chapters were particularly engaging for me and I found it hard to put the book down. It presents the years through the second world war and under Soviet rule in a very realistic light that provides proper insight and with the older history leads to understanding of the development of the culture and country. At the end of the book, I felt that I had gained an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the subject and this gave me a real, valuable insight into Polish culture, the people and its history. There are some important omissions of key situations that led to major incidents, and this fact brings the book back down to the level of other history books (not unbiased). A shame. However, it's a very important book. Needs to be read in conjunction with other sources.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Wanda

    This is one of the few histories of Poland in the English language, and like most of the others, is written by Oxford historian Norman Davies. Davies took upon himself a real challenge -- i.e. to truncate > a thousand years of history into this highly accessible cliff notes version of "God's Playground." It is written chronologically backward -- from modern to ancient times, and this makes for an interesting point of view. Unfortunately this book could use some updating, as the present time does This is one of the few histories of Poland in the English language, and like most of the others, is written by Oxford historian Norman Davies. Davies took upon himself a real challenge -- i.e. to truncate > a thousand years of history into this highly accessible cliff notes version of "God's Playground." It is written chronologically backward -- from modern to ancient times, and this makes for an interesting point of view. Unfortunately this book could use some updating, as the present time does not include the very important events that have happened in Poland during the new millenium. Also, necessarily for a survey book, this leaves us wanting more. But it is what it is. Davies is a competent writer - not exciting, but compentent and his prose flows smoothly. This is not a superb read, but a good choice for those folks who would want to read more about Polish history but do not have time to plow through his massive two volume set.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Walsh

    Norman Davies wrote the definitive history of Poland, "God's Playground" in the early 1980s. A true masterpiece, the only problem was that it's just too darn long for many people to read or (one suspects) buy. Enter "Heart of Europe", a history of Poland that one doesn't need flatbed truck to carry around. Rather than merely summarizing "God's Playground", however, Professor Davies adds an additional conceit. Whereas "God's Playground" (as many histories) went, roughly speaking, in chronological Norman Davies wrote the definitive history of Poland, "God's Playground" in the early 1980s. A true masterpiece, the only problem was that it's just too darn long for many people to read or (one suspects) buy. Enter "Heart of Europe", a history of Poland that one doesn't need flatbed truck to carry around. Rather than merely summarizing "God's Playground", however, Professor Davies adds an additional conceit. Whereas "God's Playground" (as many histories) went, roughly speaking, in chronological order, "Heart of Europe" is the history of Poland starting in the late twentieth century (after Jaruzelski's imposition of martial law), and told backwards. Why told backwards? Tough to say really. Go figure, though, it works.

  20. 4 out of 5

    James Hale

    This is not a history book. This is an analysis of the history using theoretical propositions of how it relates to modern times. It's a contextual piece, with a huge focus on the Solidarity movement and the military coup, which makes parts of this book a little irrelevant and tough to read, but the insight that Norman Davies provides into one of the most fascinating nations in the world is incredible This is not a history book. This is an analysis of the history using theoretical propositions of how it relates to modern times. It's a contextual piece, with a huge focus on the Solidarity movement and the military coup, which makes parts of this book a little irrelevant and tough to read, but the insight that Norman Davies provides into one of the most fascinating nations in the world is incredible

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    I haven't found many books about Polish history in English, and most of those have been by Davies. Heart of Europe is unique in that it is written backwards, chronologically speaking. Still, this unusual approach doesn't detract from the historical narrative. Although a little outdated now (it ends around the fall of the Soviet Union), I thought this was a good, comprehensive work that will satisfy anyone curious about Poland. I haven't found many books about Polish history in English, and most of those have been by Davies. Heart of Europe is unique in that it is written backwards, chronologically speaking. Still, this unusual approach doesn't detract from the historical narrative. Although a little outdated now (it ends around the fall of the Soviet Union), I thought this was a good, comprehensive work that will satisfy anyone curious about Poland.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    If you want to study the history of Poland,this book is an obvious choice. Seen from the present, i.e. after the fall of communisme, Davies covers, walking backwards, the tragic history of the Polish people and Poland.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Denise DeRocher

    I spent three weeks in Poland once - and this book reflects the hopes, desires, needs and aspirations of this amazingly complex, blood-soaked country that is full of the friendliest and also the scariest people I've ever met! I spent three weeks in Poland once - and this book reflects the hopes, desires, needs and aspirations of this amazingly complex, blood-soaked country that is full of the friendliest and also the scariest people I've ever met!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kain

    Ciekawa, szczególnie z dwóch względów: 1. Autor nie jest Polakiem, 2. Zawiera bardzo dużą ilość historii nowoczesnej, która najczęściej bywa omawiana w szkole po łebkach albo wcale.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    this book is a bit dry but a very thorough examination of poland's history up till the rise of solidarity in the early 80s. for diehard history buffs. this book is a bit dry but a very thorough examination of poland's history up till the rise of solidarity in the early 80s. for diehard history buffs.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Piotr Ziewiec

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  28. 5 out of 5

    Doug

  29. 5 out of 5

    David Bobrek

  30. 5 out of 5

    DiscoSpacePanther

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