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A Country in the Moon: Travels in Search of the Heart of Poland Paperback – 2 Mar 2009

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Granta; Reprint Edition 2012 edition (2 Mar. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847081045
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847081049
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 132,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

`There is so much to admire in this well-researched and hugely entertaining book, and so much to learn...A Country in the Moon is a three-star feast.'
-- The Spectator

'Literary travel writing at its best: elegiac, informative and profound... probably the best travel book I will read this year.'
-- Wanderlust magazine

'Moran writes well of the Polish concept of zal (regret after irrevocable loss) ; of Polish pride, honour and exuberance mingled with pessimism; and of the importance of the Catholic church and the family...This well-written book offers some much-needed history lessons.'
-- Daily Telegraph

'an entertaining account...(keeps)the reader engrossed to the end.'
-- Sunday Times

Moran is a sensitive, intelligent companion, [who is] able to capture the rapacious spirit and chaotic conditions of modern Poland.
-- Metro London

Moran's deep knowledge of the country and genuine engagement (make this) an absorbing ... ultimately rewarding travelogue.
-- Independent

This lively and intelligent book is stuffed with original material that is both fascinating and quite new to most people in the West. Moran has a taste for the baroque oddity, the outrageous eccentricity and the all-but-incredible historical anecdote.
-- The Times Literary Supplement

[An] erudite, humbling and rhapsodic travel book... No thinking traveller interested in Poland should overlook this essential book.
-- Guardian

`This memoir is in the tradition of Lawrence Durrell's Bitter Lemons and proves a well-crafted, spirited and original polonaise, triumphantly balancing humour with scholarship.'
-- The Observer

`Wonderful'
-- Conde Nast Traveller, Giles Foden

About the Author

Born and educated in Australia, MICHAEL MORAN spent his twenties wandering the islands of Polynesia and Melanesia. He is a Fellow of the RGS and author of the Thomas Cook short-listed Beyond the Coral Sea. He lives in Warsaw.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you want to read a well-written book about Poland that digs deeper than the usual superficialities, then here's a good place to start. Moran clearly fell in love with the country as well as with a Pole. He writes clearly and informatively about places, people and language; he has an eye for detail and great sensitivity to the complexities of the culture and history of the country and the region, which many non-Poles have difficulty with, and which we should be grateful for. In some ways it's a curious read, as he mingles his work and personal life with his travels and explorations of the country, but in the end the whole works well and reads well and the picture of Poland is the richer for it. And then, when you want more, links for further reading are there, in this very erudite and readable book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was told about this book by a long time Polish expat in NZ and bought it having read some of the reviews. As it turned out, it was so much fun to read and really informative (even for Poles).

Given that most of Poland's history is earth-shatteringly depressing, you'd think a book that contained a lot of it would be depressing as heck but this book is written in a similar vein to a Bill Bryson book - full of interesting facts and observations on the people and country of Poland.

The book is "laid out" as the author originally travels to Poland just after the Wall has come down and Poland is discovering the "wonders" of a free market economy. He describes these times (it's changed dramatically since then) and the present wonderfully and also shoots off on diversions into history and geography both describing the plight of the country and many wonders your average westerner wouldn't have heard of. Some shocks you at what the country has dealt with and other points make you laugh out loud.

I read this out loud to my Polish wife (as I was commenting to her on so much of it as I tried reading it to myself) and this brought up her memories of growing up there, mostly agreeing with what was written...and also gave her plenty of opportunity to shoot down my appalling Polish pronunciation. If you're in a romance with a Pole I'd heartily recommend the technique and the book.

It's also very current (depending on when Polish people leave Poland, they have very different views of the place) and shows a country with a great future well worth visiting (it is) instead of dwelling on past pain. Reading it will make you want to explore more of the country as well.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this book excellent, a very good introduction to Polish history and probably the best guidebook of Poland I have ever read. Also a good reminder for me as a Polish person, what Poland used to be like in early 1990s - good those days are gone... Highly recommended.

Cheers
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Michael Moran is passionate about Poland. He's very knowledgeable about music, Chopin, Polish history, its landscapes, towns and cities. The book is based in the period of transition from communism to capitalism. The author manages to combine a humorous narrative about living and working in Poland with a lot of informative material. If you're going to visit Poland I'd recommend this book for its insights into the country but more importantly Polish people - their generosity, humour and not infrequent crazinesses. His descriptions of some historical places and events and the beauty of the landscape eg the Vistula River regions has made me eager to return to Poland. As someone of Polish heritage I really value his understanding of the enormity of Poland's suffering during the second world war and the heroic role of the internal resistance as well as that if Polush airmen and soldiers.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Despite some flaws, no other book or article I've read seems to so completely encapsulate the stubborn and romantic nature of modern-day Poles. The writer includes a detailed history of Poland in his travelogue and his writing on Chopin and his music was a delight. His description of his fellow UK employees in a new Anglo-Polish venture in the 1990s was something of a digression, although quite often an amusing one. I feel he overcooked to some degree the architectural descriptions and I feel he concentrated a little too much on the humorous Anglo-Polish differences at the expense of a more profound disquisition on the Polish psyche (which he seems most capable of writing) However the last criticisms reflect more my own interests.
In all an intelligent read, sprinkled with anectodes and history lessons, humorously written. Quite the best book on (near) contemporary Poland I,ve read.
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Format: Paperback
He has covered a lot of Polish history which he has footnoted , and which I already know, but has made it a humorous journey . There are some differing quotes about legends but otherwise a very enjoyable book. It was a pity the project for business trade etc failed, but they are stubborn and 50years under communism probably didn't want to be dictated to. I have recommended it to people interested in Eastern Europe History and my Doctor (who is Polish)

This book will stay with all the books I have in my collection on Poland. I am English and my husband is Polish and I just love everything about that wonderful country and its tragic history. Kay
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