God's Playground: A History of Poland, Vol. 1: The Origins


God's Playground: A History of Poland, Vol. 1: The Origins to 1795 Norman Davies is an outstanding historian who is one of the world s leading experts in Polish history, and the book demonstrates this It contains a wealth of detail that paints the daily life in historic times, but also analyses long term developments within the Polish nation as well as in international politics, of which Poland has so often and so dramatically been the victim This is simply the best and most comprehensive book on Polish history written by a non Pole.There were however also a Norman Davies is an outstanding historian who is one of the world s leading experts in Polish history, and the book demonstrates this It contains a wealth of detail that paints the daily life in historic times, but also analyses long term developments within the Polish nation as well as in international politics, of which Poland has so often and so dramatically been the victim This is simply the best and most comprehensive book on Polish history written by a non Pole.There were however also a few things I did not like about the book The first is that Davies tends often to assume that you are already familiar with the main events When he introduces a subject he will often already then link it up with future events, like certain risings or battles, that at that point will not have been discussed He can also get quite academic in some parts and bother you with lots of details and academic considerations that do not really push the historic narrative forward This makes in my opinion the book at some points a bit tedious for the enthusiastic amateur historian who is new to Polish history I wanted to rate this higher Davies produced a masterful study of Poland s pre partition history, but it may be the densest tome I ve ever picked up Imagine a book with a full chapter devoted to the Vistula grain trade Yet I stuck with it, and read every last page, even thought the going was slow Davies is a serious scholar who has dug into primary source material to produce a thorough, masterful study of Poland, and reading it gives one a sense of the polish national mindset. An incredible book, even if I can t remember ever taking so long to finish one Extremely dense with information there sthan a person could ever hope to retain to memory here fact after fact What really makes this book stand out in my mind though is that Davies makes it all come together I may not remember many of the dates and details, but I feel like I have a general understanding of Polish history that I never obtained from any other text on the subject Davies also doesn t shy away An incredible book, even if I can t remember ever taking so long to finish one Extremely dense with information there sthan a person could ever hope to retain to memory here fact after fact What really makes this book stand out in my mind though is that Davies makes it all come together I may not remember many of the dates and details, but I feel like I have a general understanding of Polish history that I never obtained from any other text on the subject Davies also doesn t shy away from argument, he takes conventional myths on head on with historical fact Zbit dobra Ahh I ve actually made this my last book of the year God s Playground has been sitting on my bookshelf for years I can t believe that I waited so long to read it It was a long and dense read, but this book gives its reader a view of history of Poland though with a focus on the commonwealth great detail which I haven t really seen in a history book before and for that reason, I love it. There s No Land Like Poland When you think about Europe, you have seen or read numerous histories of Britain, France, Russia, Germany, Italy, Spain and even Portugal There are lots of books that deal with Eastern Europe in the modern age, with Ottoman Turkey, the USA, and many other parts of the world, but comprehensive histories of Poland are rare I realized this when I found the present volume in a Melbourne book store back in 1984 Its 546 pages looked a daunting task, needing a consider There s No Land Like Poland When you think about Europe, you have seen or read numerous histories of Britain, France, Russia, Germany, Italy, Spain and even Portugal There are lots of books that deal with Eastern Europe in the modern age, with Ottoman Turkey, the USA, and many other parts of the world, but comprehensive histories of Poland are rare I realized this when I found the present volume in a Melbourne book store back in 1984 Its 546 pages looked a daunting task, needing a considerable space of time to wade through That s why I didn t get around to it till 2013 I had never really absorbed even the basic outline of Polish history I came to the right place, but because I only bought volume 1 back then, my learning curve came to a screeching halt in 1795 Starting with an excellent chapter on Polish historiography, Davies proceeds to puncture all the balloons of nationalist, imperialist, and Communist histories It seems that his book, translated, has been used in the Polish educational system post 1989 That s a signal honor I can t claim to be expert enough to comment on whether his perspective is worthy or not, but it is thorough and interestingly written There are vast amounts of place and personal names rulers, landlords, soldiers, poets, priests offset by a great series of maps and charts Nobody but a serious student of Polish history would be able to retain such copious information Davies lacks pomposity he s down to earth and somehow you feel you can believe him A good sense of humor lights up the text with occasional flashes, even if Polish history is anything but humorous most of the time Anyone who writes, In the last resort, all our ancestors were alien, mongrel immigrants gets my vote as a realistic historian If you tackle this immense and impressive work, you will start out with the early amalgamations of peoples to become the Poles You will then move on to the late medieval period when the Catholic Polish state first organized and in a defining moment, merged with up to then pagan Lithuania to form a large joint kingdom which later turned into an elective monarchy, one of the few in history Kings were elected by a body known as the Sejm, with judicious helpings of bribes and blows Far from being religiously exclusive, they tolerated all faiths almost all the time The enormous kingdom of Poland Lithuania had its bright moments, its golden age in the 16th and 17th centuries and, due to consistently lax, loose organization nobles with too much power and paying too little tax , a century of nearly non stop warfare, and constant internal squabbling, disappeared from the map in the 18th century, gobbled up bytightly organized,totalitarian Russia, Austria, and Prussia Davies takes you through immense amounts of data concerning religion, the urban scene especially in Danzig the grain trade, law and justice, the nobility, the peasants, the Jews, the practice of diplomacy, and the straight out history of the many foreign born kings that ruled the unfortunate country before its erasure for 120 years If Poles were brave and talented, their disorganization and relative freedom proved fatal in the face of aggressive neighbors The title of the book is ironic The quality is very high If you want to know about Polish history in detail, this is your book This book is DENSE If you want a thorough and I mean thorough history of Poland, this is a good bet I gave it three stars because although there s loads of information, and it is all laid out nicely and is fairly easy to digest, I have issues with Davies timeline I m still not entirely clear on how he s structured the book, or why I read this book for a Polish history class, but I think I would be fairly confused as to when everything was happening if I didn t have my lectures to clear ev This book is DENSE If you want a thorough and I mean thorough history of Poland, this is a good bet I gave it three stars because although there s loads of information, and it is all laid out nicely and is fairly easy to digest, I have issues with Davies timeline I m still not entirely clear on how he s structured the book, or why I read this book for a Polish history class, but I think I would be fairly confused as to when everything was happening if I didn t have my lectures to clear everything up and lay out a timeline That being said, Davies writes an excellent history It s personal, it s political, and you can tell he takes great care with his subject The introduction, where he writes about how to write about history, is very moving All in all, a good, solid history, but you need to know what you re getting yourself into, and you might need to do some extra homework to know where you are This Davies book iscomparable to historic novel than to the serious historian work a almost no original historic sources aka chronicles and documents were used actually this book is a compilation of historic works from other authors b strange priorities sometimes a significant event e.g Thirteen Years War is almost neglected by Davies only short paragraph was dedicated , but Davies indulges in inserting long letters and descriptions of minor things and events good example This Davies book iscomparable to historic novel than to the serious historian work a almost no original historic sources aka chronicles and documents were used actually this book is a compilation of historic works from other authors b strange priorities sometimes a significant event e.g Thirteen Years War is almost neglected by Davies only short paragraph was dedicated , but Davies indulges in inserting long letters and descriptions of minor things and events good example lengthy narration about a brawl of drunken Szlachta c he even makes factual errors Grand Duke Witold ruled Grand Duchy of Lithuania from 1392 not from 1401 according to Davies in 1401 Witold was granted just wider autonomy according to the Pact of Vilnius and Radom d some phrases in Latin and French are not translated this is annoying e all references to sources used in the book are at the end of it it would be OK just with a plain list of sources, but sometimes there are quite long comments accompanying references, but it is tiresome thing to go each time to the end of book if you want to read these comments, so I skipped them altogether it makes no sense to read them when the book was finished.So if you want a light reading with a scent of history, then this book is for you, otherwise avoid This edition of Norman Davies study of the history of Poland has been revised and fully updated with two new chapters to bring the story to the end of the th century The writing of Polish history, like Poland itself, has frequently fallen prey to interested parties Professor Norman Davies adopts a sceptical stance towards all existing interpretations and attempts to bring a strong dose of common sense to his theme He consequently presents a comprehensive survey of this frequently maligned and usually misunderstood country ➹ [Read] ➵ Gender in Psychoanalytic Space By Muriel Dimen ➼ – 9facts.co.uk like Poland itself ❮Download❯ ➵ Insight and Interpretation Author Roy Schafer – 9facts.co.uk has frequently fallen prey to interested parties Professor Norman Davies adopts a sceptical stance towards all existing interpretations and attempts to bring a strong dose of common sense to his theme He consequently presents a comprehensive survey of this frequently maligned and usually misunderstood country It has never taken me so long to read anything, but this is definitely not the type to just flick through on the bus Though I was expecting your traditional history book, this one is so muchFact after fact, detailed description of reality all through But it definitely didn t feel like 570pages rather 2k This is the second time I have read this The best history of Poland in English, one of the best in any language I have been told.

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