review ¸ Heart of Europe The Past in Poland's Present

Heart of Europe The Past in Poland's Present

download Heart of Europe The Past in Poland's Present

Ghlight the long term themes and traditions which have influenced present attitudes His evocative account reveals Poland as the heart of Europe in than the geographical sense It is a country where Europe's ideological conflicts are played out in their most acute form as recent eve By the time

characters ¼ eBook or Kindle ePUB ☆ Norman Davies

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 hi I don't und

Norman Davies ☆ 3 review

Nts 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 Have read m

10 thoughts on “Heart of Europe The Past in Poland's Present

  1. says:

    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 detailThis book is heavy in parts but a complete Polish history is not for the faint of heartThoroughly enjoyable and eye opening especially for us 'sheltered' Westerners

  2. says:

    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 PolandThe 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 uixotically 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 harshlyDavies 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 eually 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 oraclesDo 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

  3. says:

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

  4. says:

    In uicksilver by Neal Stephenson there is a scene whereJohn 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 Presentby 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 theAustrians 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 wasobsessed with the uestion of Polish freedom from the occupying powers whereas the Russian writer was free to ponder universal uestions As a conseuence 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 Polishhistory is fascinating and his discussions are often veryenlightening 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 togetherEuropean history from West to East Davies does dismiss thelack 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 5000 Jewish children just died lamented that she didn't do So there is to the story than Davies writesNote 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

  5. says:

    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 thenThe 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 dinastyNevertheless 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 nextWhat 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 HuelleI 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 historyThe 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 demureness may help this superstar of historian

  6. says:

    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

  7. says:

    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 Solidaritythe 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

  8. says:

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

  9. says:

    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

  10. says:

    45 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 uestions are being asked and the deep historical trends of Polish history still cause divisiveness

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