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November 2009

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Książki, books

literaturechic in reviewthebook

Polish way. A thousand-year history of the Poles and their culture

Name of Book: Własną drogą. Osobliwe dzieje Polaków i ich kultury (original title: The Polish Way)
Author: Adam Zamoyski
Culture, history
What group of people you would recommend this book to: interested in Polish culture and history - beginners' level
Blurb: This illustrated history, from the tenth century to the present day, tells of Poland's achievement as a European nation: a subject that has occupied historians far less than the woes that have beset her people. It places Poland's history firmly within the European context, paying special attention to developments that had repercussions beyond the boundaries of the country. It reminds us that Poland was one of the first countries in Europe to enshrine a measure of personal liberty in law, that it was second only to Iceland in evolving a parliament, that the Renaissance manifested itself much more strongly in Polish culture than in that of its neighbours, that Poland enjoyed religious peace while others were divided into the murderous factions of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, that its victories over Teutonic Knights, Tatars and Turks, and effortless conquest of Moscow, won it a reputation for a century and more as the most formidable military force in Europe, and that its constitution of 3 May 1791 lit a brief beacon for the liberal world, while sealing its own doom. This book demonstrates the continuity underlying the apparently discontinuous history of the Polish people, and reveals much in Poland's past that must be grasped for any understanding of what is happening in the country today - in parliamentary politics form the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries, in the religious issues that have dominated public life, in Polish literature, art and architecture. The 170 colour and monochrome publications, most of them published here for the first time outside Poland, provide a striking record of Polish attitudes and tastes, and illuminate that curious mixture of Eastern and Western influence which make up Polish culture.
Your review: The book people who start their adventure with Polish history and culture.
Rating (out of 10): 8


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