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The History of Poland (Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations) Paperback – 30 Apr 2000

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4.4 out of 5 stars 5 reviews from Amazon.com

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Paperback, 30 Apr 2000
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Review

"Those in search of a concise, authoritative, yet readable summary of modern Polish history need look no further than this excellent book....The book is intented for high school and college students, as well as a general audience, but in fact it will benefit any reader who can appreciate the satisfactions of history well-crafted and well-told."-The Polish Review

..."ideal for circulating collections or as a textbook."-American Reference Books Annual

"The History of Poland is very well written. It is clear, concise, and without major bias."-History: Reviews of New Books

?...ideal for circulating collections or as a textbook.?-American Reference Books Annual

?The History of Poland is very well written. It is clear, concise, and without major bias.?-History: Reviews of New Books

?Those in search of a concise, authoritative, yet readable summary of modern Polish history need look no further than this excellent book....The book is intented for high school and college students, as well as a general audience, but in fact it will benefit any reader who can appreciate the satisfactions of history well-crafted and well-told.?-The Polish Review

.,."ideal for circulating collections or as a textbook."-American Reference Books Annual

"A readable, original, and refreshing approach to modern history of Poland. Biskupski's book is an effective summary for someone pressed for an overview of a complex description of the Polish mind."-Piotr Wrobel Associate Professor Konstanty Reynert Chair of Polish Studies University of Toronto

"This is the best history of contemporary Poland available in English. Conceived on a broad scale, learned and readable, by turns amusing and genuinely moving, it is a provocative and enlightening reinterpretation of the Polish experience in the light of the collapse of Communism. Professor Biskupski skillfully recounts some of the most compelling tragedies and triumphs of our times, and suggests that we are witnessing the return of Poland to its traditional status as a vital factor in Europe."-Neal Pease Associate Professor of History University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

"The need has long been felt for a concise history of modern Poland for the use of students and interested readers. The volume by M. B. Biskupski based on up-to-date research, clearly organized and well written, should satisfy this need admirably. The author, after providing us with a historical background, discusses authoritatively the 20-century developments displaying insights and objectivity. His characterization of leading personalities and the description of events is vivid and astute. A very good book indeed."-Piotr Wandycz Bradford Durfee Professor of History Emeritus Yale University

"Biskupski provides a succinct review of Poland's history prior to the partitions, highlighting the key points over which scholars contradict themselves....Biskupski compels us to reflect not only upon the consequences for inhabitants of the former Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth, but also upon what might have been. The substance of the essay, Poland in the 20th century, is an indispensable reference. The key issues are here as are the scholarly disputations about them, with every chapter salted with Biskupski wit, trenchant observations, and honest, refreshingly direct opinions."-Stanislaus A. Blejwas CSU University Professor of History Endowed Chair of Polish and Polish American Studies Central Connecticut State University

About the Author

M.B. BISKUPSKI is Professor of History at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York.

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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Generally Good Overview of Polish History, With Staggering Scale of Nazi-German Destruction 11 Aug. 2012
By Jan Peczkis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The author generally provides a balanced account of Polish history. This book encompasses pre-Partition Poland, Poland under foreign rule, the resurrection of the Polish state (1918) with its frontier battles, the Second Republic (1918-1939), WWII (1939-1945), the Soviet-imposed Communist state in its early (1945-1970) and later (1970-1989) function, and the Third Republic. (1990-present).

The author makes not-well-supported critical comments of the likes of Roman Dmowski, Smygly-Rydz, Cardinal Glemp, and Poles in Polish-Ukrainian relations. Some readers may find these remarks one-sided and tendentious.

While discussing the 1939 campaign, Biskupski debunks some myths--the one about the Polish Air Force getting destroyed largely on the ground, and the one about Polish cavalry charging German tanks out of foolhardiness or desperation. He realizes that cavalry was used only for the mobility of the Polish horses. In fact, the horse was still widely used in combat at the time, and the Wehrmacht, in its conquest of Poland, and notwithstanding its mechanization, still relied on almost 200,000 horses. (p. 104).

Perhaps the strongest part of this book is its eye-opening description of the staggering scale of Polish losses during WWII. The Germans murdered 45% of Poland's physicians and dentists, 57% of her attorneys, 40% of her professors, 30% of her technicians, a majority of her journalists, and nearly 20% of her clergy. There was a total of 200 concentration camps in German-occupied Poland. (p. 108). The devastation was proportionately unmatched anywhere in the world, and came out to thirteen times the national income of the last prewar year, 1938. Biskupski adds, "Almost 40 percent of the entire productive capacity of the country lay in ruins, and two-thirds of the industrial base at least partially destroyed. In agriculture...two-thirds of the cattle, half of the horses, and more than 80 percent of the swine were gone...80 percent of the railroad cars and engines were gone, the vast majority of bridges and rail lines along with them." (p. 123).
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Artfully Succinct by Necessity 10 July 2001
By Marty McCarthy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It was both a privilege and a pleasure for me to read Biskupski's veritable novella on the History of Poland. It is immediately striking for what it is not: large. For better or worse the present day reader does not have the inclination to wade through the large "History of..." Some authors have attempted the shorter history only to find they have cut the heart out of the subject and left the reader with nothing more than an inarticulate smattering of the highlights and lowlights; ringing the dinnerbell for hungry folks only to serve cheese and crackers. Biskupski's History of Poland is not such an attempt. Instead, what the reader gets is a glimpse at Biskupski's innate ability to convey a complicated idea with only a few sentences: "A belief in historical inevitability is little more than lack of imagination masquerading as analytical sophistication. What happened will always be predetermined." - M.B. Biskupski, pg. 94 The majority of the work displays a rapier-like wit and a personal charm in the text that makes the experience more like a mental dialogue than a "boring" textbook experience. Interestingly, Chapter 8, "Communism in Poland" does not fit this description. Instead, Chapter 8 has a cathartic feel to it. I will not elaborate further for one should come to his own conclusions on Chapter 8 and mine, perhaps, are wrong-headed. What the reader has in Biskupski's History of Poland is a complex history thoughtfully written.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Introduction to the Complexities of Polish History 17 Aug. 2000
By Michael Charton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I traveled to Poland last fall. I was curious to read it to learn a little more. I found it to be a good introduction to some of the complexities of Polish history. For the novice, there get to be too many names to remember after a while (though a glossary is provided at the end of the book). All in all, a start to an interesting European country. Good for travelers to Poland to learn a little more and for students looking for some basics.
11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius, pure genius. 4 Jan. 2001
By ChiefSanch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am a student of Dr. Biskupski's at St. John Fisher College and I must say the man is a genius. He has forgotten more than I will ever know. This text is an excellent beginning to the troubled and complex history of Poland.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great if you are thinking of visiting 14 Feb. 2016
By AM - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Interesting read, although a little too much information not worth remembering sometimes. Great if you are thinking of visiting Poland
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