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God's Playground: v. 1: A History of Poland (God's Playground: A History of Poland) [Paperback]

Norman Davies
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

31 Jan 2003 God's Playground: A History of Poland (Book 1)
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.

Product details

  • Paperback: 638 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; 2nd Revised edition edition (31 Jan 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231128177
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231128179
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 15.3 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,852,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"The standard work on the subject in English.... [Davies] writes with commanding dexterity and a confident, at times almost swaggering, intelligence as he balances narrative and analysis." -- "Atlantic Monthly"

About the Author

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

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First Sentence
The earliest documentary record from that part of Europe which is now called Poland, dates from AD 965 to 966. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Davies really hits the nail on the head as far as Polish history is concerned. His synopsis of the past of a troubled country, often blurred by interpretation and political overshadowing cuts through the fog and sits the reader right back into context. He takes us through the ages of Polish in his familiar yet subtle language of metonymistic jollity, dodges the traps of cynicism or patrotism so many writers have blundered into on the subject. Definitely to be recommended to any amateurs of Polish history text.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good writing shame about the type setting 26 Mar 2008
A very good read; very informative, I have volumnes 1 & 2 the reason I have not given 5 stars is my volumnes have lousy type setting problems with the Polish letters ¹æê³ñóaeY¿ every method of not using them then the same word or name on the same page uses them. As you will note Amazon.co.uk can not cope with the extra letters of the polish alphabet either.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 3 Jun 2001
A very sober, wonderfully written book. What's more, it's a book written by a well-wisher who knows the country better than most of its inhabitants. An honest book, totally stripped of the Polish megalomania which accounts for the fact that the Poles today nurture an unrealistic and plainly untrue idea of their homeland, its past greatness, its costly uprisals, its consequence-ripe failures and its mediocre present. If you want to better understand the lands which for so many centuries have served as the divide between Europe's mental and cultural East and West - and their history, of course - then this is a book for you. Without the noisy pomp you'll almost inevitably find in the Polish history accounts of the type "always condemn the German Order", it's perfect if you look for the simple historical truth; if this truth exists at all, then certainly in Norman Davies' "God's Playground".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Poland 6 July 2013
By Austen
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a Brit living in Poland I consider this the definitive history anyone with the slightest connection to Poland should read, but you must buy both Volume 1 and volume 2 for the complete 1000 year story of a stoic and valiant people who country in the middle of Europe that has been overrun by Swedes, Mongols, Tartars, Russians, Austrians, Germans and more, and in fact disappeared for 150 years.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ego 24 Oct 2013
By Anglo
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Unfortunately, this book reads as if the author's take on Poland's history is more important than actually relaying what happened. I frequently came across passages like 'the battle of A between B and C proved that people at the time were eating a lot of turnips'. No information regarding why there was a battle or even who won the battle, but just Davies' own perspective of what is worth covering.
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