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21. A Course of Three Lectures on
22. Bondage to the Dead: Poland and
23. LAST RALLY: The German Defence
24. Poland: A Modern History
25. The Jews in Poland and Russia,
26. Leonardo Da Vinci and the Splendor
27. Cracow, the royal capital of ancient
28. Model Nazi: Arthur Greiser and
29. The political history of Poland
30. Constitutions, Elections, and
31. The Crosses of Auschwitz: Nationalism
32. Parishes, Tithes and Society in
33. The History of Poland Since 1863
34. Generations: A millenium of Jewish
35. God's Playground: A History of
36. Cracow: An Illustrated History
37. History of the Jews in Russia
38. The Communist Party of Poland:
39. A Hitler Youth in Poland: The
40. A History of Poland (Palgrave

21. A Course of Three Lectures on the History of Poland
by J. F. GomoszyA„ski
Paperback: 104 Pages (2008-08-20)
list price: US$18.75 -- used & new: US$11.76
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Asin: 0554663651
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22. Bondage to the Dead: Poland and the Memory of the Holocaust (Modern Jewish History)
by Michael C. Steinlauf
Paperback: 189 Pages (1997-03)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$8.00
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Asin: 0815604033
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best of its Kind; Ultimately Inspiring
I've read hundreds of books and articles on Polish-Jewish relations, published in several different countries and languages. In that avalanche, Michael C. Steinlauf's "Bondage to the Dead: Poland and the Memory of the Holocaust" stands out. It is one of the most fair.

"Bondage" is the best one-volume introduction to Polish-Jewish relations in the post-Holocaust era. There is an amazing amount of information, treated swiftly, deftly, and responsibly. Much of the material is from underground or hard-to-find sources. If you don't read Steinlauf, you may miss this goldmine.

Not just persons interested in Polish-Jewish relations would benefit from this book. Anyone interested in the human psyche under the worst conditions imaginable will find much to challenge, sadden, and, ultimately, inspire.

Writing about Polish-Jewish relations is hard. Both Poles and Jews have a tradition of disputativeness. David Ben Gurion is said to have said, "Two Jews, three opinions." Poles are similar. Debate, verging into contrariness, is a value. No matter what you say about Polish-Jewish relations, there is a Pole or a Jew who will stand on a chair and shout that you are completely wrong, and voicing some conspiracy theory.

Traditional disputativeness was exacerbated by the unparalleled suffering endured during the Holocaust. Had the Shoah not taken place in Poland, and had Poles "merely" endured what the Nazis and Soviets did to them, Poles would be acknowledged as one of the most martyred, and heroic, peoples in history. But, even as Poles were being rounded up into camps like Auschwitz, tortured, and murdered, even as Polish churches, museums, and even factories and forests were being methodically destroyed, even as Polish children were being gassed or deported, Jews were being annihilated. That planned, and almost completed, total annihilation of Jews has caused the world to be less aware of Polish suffering.

In the interwar era, between WW I and II, various factors, outlined by Steinlauf, contributed to a rise of unprecedented anti-Semitism in Poland. This historic "perfect storm" -- so contrary to Poland's tradition of tolerance -- could not have occurred at a worse time. America, overwhelmed by immigration, responded with Scientific Racism, and closed its doors to Jews. And Hitler was just next door, in Germany.

Poles and Jews are performers on a world stage. Their audience: Americans and Western Europeans -- whose leaders responded all too late to the Holocaust, and where the "dumb Polack" stereotype impedes understanding -- have often been eager to make profoundly unhelpful and unintelligent comments. One example, cited by Steinlauf, is the tendency for even canonical newspapers like the "New York Times" to refer to "Polish concentration camps." Steinlauf also points out that Poland was effectively betrayed and abandoned by its Western allies at Yalta.

Many "isms" are at play here: Fascism, Racism, Zionism, Catholicism, Communism, Judaism, Nationalism. People who have a problem with Christianity use Polish failures during the Holocaust as a cudgel to beat Christians. Propagandists who wanted to support the post-war Soviet hegemony over Poland point to the Kielce pogrom as proof that Poles are beasts who can't govern themselves. Polish nationalists won't allow any mention of Poles' failures.

People more deeply wedded to the triumph of their own particular worldview than to truth have used isolated, decontextualized facts of 20th century Polish-Jewish interaction to support their own worldview, and have ignored facts that might weaken their worldview. Steinlauf struggles, and largely succeeds, to present all pertinent facts, and to let truth, rather than any given worldview, predominate.

During WW II, as Steinlauf recounts here, some Poles did hand Jews over to Nazis; some Poles did take advantage of "post-Jewish" properties; some Poles did respond with approval to the extermination of the Jews. Steinlauf is ever careful to report that some Poles, at great risk to themselves, helped Jews. That being acknowledged, something else must be acknowledged -- Poles witnessed the most notorious and methodical genocide in history. Steinlauf asks, "What impact did this horrible witness have on Poles?"

Steinlauf draws on the work of psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, who, as Steinlauf writes, "has devoted decades to studying the effects of massive, traumatic exposure to death in various situations including the Holocaust" (57). Lifton wrote of a "death imprint" that imposes itself on the psyches of "survivors of massive death trauma." "Death guilt" "arises from the encounter with a situation in which the possibilities for physical and even psychic response are nonexistent." Steinlauf quotes Lifton: "one feels responsible for what one has not done, for what one has not felt, and above all for the gap between that physical and psychic inactivation and what one felt called upon ...to do and feel" (57). Psychic numbing and a repetition compulsion follow.

The book does not focus exclusively on Lifton's theories and their application to Polish-Jewish relations. Lifton's theories, though, do offer Steinlauf's understanding of how and why some Poles have behaved, in the post-Holocaust era, in a way that defies outsiders' understanding. Why, for example, did Poles who saved Jews so often choose to keep that fact hidden?

In the end, this book is valuable to anyone interested in plumbing the depths of the human psyche. During WW II, Poles and Jews lived the worst of the human experience. How did they respond? This book reports the worst, but it also reports the best. As this book shows, courageous Poles, both Jewish and non-Jewish, like Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, Jan Blonski, Czeslaw Milosz, and Adam Michnik, have been confronting Poland's nightmarish 20th century legacy not only since the end of WW II, but even during that war. Their testimony defies the self-congratulatory Western insistence, so often heard in response to J. T. Gross' "Neighbors," that Poles are nothing more than stereotypical brutes who require the guidance of more developed peoples to deal with their own history.

In the end, the heroes mentioned above and others like them, and Steinlauf's compassionate, fair approach, make this book an inspiring read.

3-0 out of 5 stars Develops a Strange Guilt-by-Observation Thesis

Steinlauf recognizes the mutuality of Polish-Jewish prejudices: "For the Jew, both peasant and noble, each in his own way, manifested those characteristics of brutality, ignorance, and loutishness that were the antithesis of the Jewish ethos; they were, in a word, goyim (gentiles)."(p. 6). He realizes the fact that the 1918-era and 1945-era pogroms occurred within the context of generalized violence (p. 19, 45). Remembering that Polish Jews constituted only 10% of the prewar general population, Steinlauf is rather candid about prewar Jewish economic dominance:"Jews were vastly overrepresented in commerce and in the professions. In 1921, more than 60 percent of those in commerce were Jews; in 1931, more than half the doctors in private practice and one-third of the lawyers were Jews. Although foreign investment and state-run enterprises had begun to displace Jewish-owned industry, on the eve of World War II Jewish firms still employed more than 40 percent of the Polish labor force, while certain industries, textiles and food most notably, were predominantly in Jewish hands."(p. 16).

Steinlauf faults: "...American and British Jews, who found denouncing Polish anti-Semitism easier than criticizing their own governments' inaction in saving Jews."(p. 37). He admits that there is no way of even estimating how many Polish Jews survived the Holocaust (p. 46). Steinlauf (p. 129) cites an example of postwar Polish reluctance to acknowledge the hiding of Jews as being motivated by fear of being robbed of the suspected Jewish wealth left behind.

Steinlauf attacks various historians, notably Richard C. Lukas and Norman Davies, for "blurring" the deaths of Poles and Jews (p. 105, 153). This is not surprising because, as so many others before him, Steinlauf tries to exalt the deaths of Jews above that of all others, using the time-worn but fallacious "Not all of the Victims of the Nazis were Jews, but all Jews were victims of the Nazis" argument. To begin with, nearly 2/3rds of the world's Jews were out of Germany's reach and, short of literally conquering the world, neither Hitler nor his successors could possible have killed all the world's Jews. (In contrast, nearly all ethnic Poles were at Germany's complete and permanent mercy in the event of a German victory). Moreover, far from all accessible Jews were killed. Finland's (Germany's ally) Jews were never molested, and Bulgaria's Jews were only pursued halfheartedly. The neutrality of Switzerland and Sweden was consistently respected despite their Jewish populations (notably the famous escaped Danish Jews sheltered by the latter). Known Jewish Allied POWs were spared. Thousands of European Jews were used by Germany for forced labor and, with some exceptions, were not killed in the latest days of the war. As for permanent acceptance of known Jews by the Nazis, thousands of full-blooded German Jews were arbitrarily declared Aryans, and thereby spared (the Schutzjuden).

Steinlauf cites figures that degrade the number of Poles killed by Germans from 3 million to 2 million (p. 152) without mentioning the fact that Jewish deaths can also be reduced (e. g., from 6 million to 5.1 million: Hilberg). Steinlauf then tries to discount the eventual extermination of Poles by claiming that Poles were only to be resettled. But everyone knows that "resettlement" is a euphemism for extermination. In fact, Jews were supposed to only undergo "resettlement". Finally, Hitler, Himmler, and others had repeatedly stated that all Poles must be destroyed, not merely relocated.

Steinlauf clearly takes the contra side in the Carmelite Convent controversy, as if the fact that Jews were 90% of the victims at Auschwitz entitles them to dictate terms to all others. Disappointingly, Steinlauf takes the low road of blaming Christianity for the Holocaust, even though Nazism had been a racist, secularist, pan-German ideology that had nothing to do with Christianity, and historical Jewish attitudes towards Christians had been no less negative than historical Christian attitudes towards Jews. Finally, exterminationist philosophies originated not with Christianity but with the Jacobins of the French Revolution.

For all his fantastic thesis (see ensuing paragraphs) Steinlauf at least puts Polish post-Jewish property acquisitions in proper perspective: "While the Germans certainly took the lion's share of factories, warehouses, luxury residences, fancy furniture and clothing, the leftovers went to Poles."(p. 31).

Steinlauf quibbles with semantics (guilt vs. responsibility). The reader may be amazed to learn that Steinlauf (pp. 57-61, 114-117) actually believes that Poles are responsible in a sense for Jewish deaths, not for having caused them, but for having witnessed them! He fails to inform the reader if those Jews (especially those who did not like Poles) who witnessed the death of Poles in the hands of the Germans are therefore responsible in some way for the Poles' deaths. Instead, Steinlauf (and, more recently, Jan Thomas Gross) take Judeocentric thinking to new levels of absurdity by "psychoanalyzing" the Poles. As if Jews were higher beings of some sort, anyone witnessing their deaths or acquiring post-Jewish properties is now supposed to be ipso facto responsible for their deaths, and/or uniquely and permanently traumatized. The fact that Poles generally do not think this way is only proof that they are engaging in denial and repression. How convenient! Moreover, any movement of modern Poles towards Judeocentric thinking is therefore hailed as a Polish overcoming of the foregoing psychological defenses.

Finally, the psychoanalysis of an entire ethnic group invites another. Conspiracy theories and the Holocaust Industry aside, how does, for instance, one explain the persistence of Jewish Polonophobia so many decades after real or imagined Polish injustices to Jews had ceased to be relevant to the Jewish experience? How about this: There exists a centuries-old German-Jewish symbiosis. For instance, most Polish Jews came from Germany, and Yiddish is modified German. The murder of 5-6 million Jews by Germans created in intractable conflict. It is circumvented by the "de-Germanization" of the Nazis and by the displacement of Jewish anger and hatred from Germans unto Poles. The fact that Poles lack the political clout to fight back effectively makes this displacement all the more attractive.

5-0 out of 5 stars Don't go to Poland without reading this book.
I've recommended this book to everyone I've encountered who is going to Poland, or even a little bit interested in the history of Jews in Poland. There are a number of other excellent and interesting books I recommend, too, but I always say that if people have time for only one book before their trip to Poland, that book must be "Bondage to the Dead." In this concise, highly accessible volume, you can get a strong grasp of the entire historical and social landscape that shaped Polish-Jewish relations. Without this foundation, I think it would be hard for the otherwise uninitiated to understand some of the complex issues that continue to simmer today in Poland regarding the memory and legacy of Jews. Steinlauf also manages to offer an objective view that people from all perspectives (Jewish and Polish alike) can embrace and identify with. This is a difficult feat in an area where intense emotion too often colors historical interpretation. His analysis of the psychology of Polish non-Jews during and following the Holocaust is provocative and rich and will deepen many people's view of their relationship to Jews. His telling about the plight of Jews under Communism in Poland is insightful, offering a story that many Jews, assuming that the history of Jews in Poland pretty much ended in 1945, tend to neglect. A number of scholars (I am not one) have told me that they found this book extremely useful in articulating some of the important issues they struggle with in their circles. I can't say enough good things about "Bondage to the Dead."

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading
This book should be required reading for anyone with an interest in Poland, the Jewish experience in Poland, and Polish-Jewish relations. It is beautifully and sensitively written, and exceptionally lucid. Highlyrecommended.

3-0 out of 5 stars Mixed emotions
Yitzhak Shamir's statement had disgraced him - anti semitism in Europecannot be denied - what also cannot be denied is that Poland was the onlyEuropean country to give Jewish citizens rights, and had the onlygovernment which publicly stood up for its Jewish population when othercountries scoffed.I resented statements that seem to project the ideathat Poland was somehow to blame for the Holocaust - the German Army was toblame. I think although the author provided some excellent information andhistory not readily available elsewhere, he also forgot that Hitler'spolicy was to also exterminate Poles - and that in many concentration campsthe first victims were Poles. There wasn't enough comparative info in thebook, for example about America's role in denying the Holocaust during thewar - even though Polish people cried out about what was going on. ... Read more

23. LAST RALLY: The German Defence of East Prussia, Pomerania and Danzig, 1944-45, a Photographic History
by Ian Baxter
Hardcover: 112 Pages (2010-06)
list price: US$59.95 -- used & new: US$27.07
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Asin: 1906033749
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Drawing on a superb collection of rare German and Russian photographs, this sequel to 'Battle in the Baltics 1944-45' covers the last battles fought by the Wehrmacht and their SS counterparts in East Prussia, Pomerania and the West Prussian city of Danzig. Those German forces that had survived the constant Soviet artillery barrages, the onslaught of the tank armadas and mass infantry assaults, had streamed back westwards, through East Prussia and beyond, where they continued fighting vicious defensive battles until units either ran out of ammunition or were killed. The book provides an absorbing insight into this long, bitter and least known Eastern Front campaign. It reveals how the remnants of Hitler`s once-vaunted forces were hurled out of the Baltic States and ordered to wage an unprecedented war of attrition against an overwhelming foe. Here in East and West Prussia, Pomerania and the ancient city of Danzig, the Germans stood on the fringes of the Reich and fought a series of colossal battles, being bled white in a desperate attempt to hold together their disintegrating front. Through the use of a large selection of previously unpublished images accompanied by in-depth captions, the author reveals how the Germans were slowly driven from their decimated positions and forced to fight further west. However, Hitler persisted with a blind obsession in the belief that fanatical aggression could hold back the enemy, and endeavored to pour the last of his resources into these areas in an attempt to win time. 'The Last Rally' is a unique study of a struggling German Army trying in vain to avoid being sucked into a maelstrom of destruction. It was the final desperate attempt by the German forces to hold onto land conquered by the Reich during its conquest through Poland five years earlier. Now, as tension, turmoil and tragedy reached its peak in the ruined villages, towns and cities, the ethnic Germans, or so-called Volksdeutche, fled their homes to avoid the Red Army's advance. What followed was a mass exodus of men, women and children intermingled with withdrawing German troops trying to stave off defeat. This is a horrendous story of defeat and survival, and one of the most important visual records of Germany`s demise between the Reich and the Baltic States.returncharacterreturncharacter returncharacterreturncharacter REVIEWS returncharacterreturncharacter"Another superb book from Ian Baxter....a fascinating book on an ever popular subject..." Military Machines International, 09/01/2010 ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars The sequel is about as good as the originial..but not better
Ehh...maybe 3.5 stars is more like it. This book is marketed as a sequel to BATTLE IN THE BALTICS 1944-45: The Fighting for Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, a Photographic History and chronicles the German defense of the East/West Prussia, Pomerania, and the port of Danzig. In short, this is not a bad book. But like its predecessor it could have been much better. The photos are good and of pretty good quality but as another reviewer noted, there is not a lot of variety...artillery shots (no pun intended) are in abundance. A couple of photos are presented twice from different angles..not exactly sure why as the change in perspective doesn't add much.

The book goes beyond Battle in the Baltics by providing more maps..a real plus for providing context..but falls short on narrative text. Yes, this is a "photographic history" so the pictures should do the talking, but I was struck by a lack of any real treatment of Soviet atrocities or photos of same. For example, Nemmersdorf is mentioned only as a city in two photo captions of the same destroyed T-34..and that's it. Maybe Baxter is trying to be impartial as there still exisits some controversy about the Nemmersdorf atrocities, but I found the omission odd given that this book is presented from the German perspective and the depth to which other authors have described the brutality of the Soviet advance.

At the risk of being repetitive, I am also forced to make the same criticism I made for Battle in the Baltics...the lack of any photos taken from the Soviet side. I think the addition of such photos would have offered a more well-rounded perspective of the hardships faced by both sides.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not as Good as previous titles
I have a number of Ian Baxter's books, namely "Into the Abyss", "Battle in the Baltics" and "Steel Bulwark" in my book shelf which are very good.

The books marketed as a photographic history or photo album have in the past produced a number of new photos that I have not seen before as is the case with this one.

This recent offering however is a little disappointing, and falls far short of the excellent Endkampf : um das Reichsgebiet 1944/45 which also covers this same period in the conflict and is the bench mark for this type of book.

There are very few armour photos, but If you are interested in images of Artillery pieces and postions, or mortar crews/pits or flak guns then this is for you as there is ample photographs of these types of scenes.

However one finds these photos a little more tedious as you turn each page and there are yet more of the same.

Granted there are some gems in there such as the two T34/85 that have been captured and are being used by German crews, but the picture of a German Armoured train,the Port at Pillau, and the award ceremony in front of a Tiger II I had already seen in Endkampf.

The photos are clear but would have been better printed on glossy paper for better reproduction such as the JJ Fedorowicz albums.

There is the ususal brief overview at the front of the sections to explain the battle situation as to where the photos were taken from which is quite useful, as are the maps provided.

All in all though in my humble opinion, not his best.
... Read more

24. Poland: A Modern History
by Anita J. Prazmowska
Hardcover: 288 Pages (2010-09-15)
list price: US$55.00 -- used & new: US$44.41
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Asin: 1848852738
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Polish independence following the end of World War I marked a new era for a nation which had endured centuries of foreign partition. But the spirit of Polish nationalism -- forged during this long period of external domination -- has been frequently at odds with the modernising drives of democracy and communism. How can the ideals of nationalism survive in a modern nation-state?  Anita Prazmowska traces this conflict from the emergence of an independent Poland in 1918; through World War II, communism and the democratic victories of Solidarity; to the present day, when Polish membership of the EU is changing perceptions both within Poland and in the wider world. 

Poland: A Modern History presents a vivid and accessible portrait of Poland’s tumultuous history over the past century. It is a clear and concise introduction to a nation which, often at the epicentre of European political history, has nevertheless sometimes struggled to define its national identity.

... Read more

25. The Jews in Poland and Russia, vol. 1, 1350 to 1881
by Antony Polonsky
Hardcover: 534 Pages (2010-01-01)
list price: US$59.50 -- used & new: US$42.31
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Asin: 1874774641
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In his three-volume history, Antony Polonsky provides a comprehensive survey - socio-political, economic, and religious - of the Jewish communities of eastern Europe from 1350 to the present. Until the Second World War, this was the heartland of the Jewish world: nearly three and a half million Jews lived in Poland alone, while nearly three million more lived in the Soviet Union. Although the majority of the Jews of Europe and the United States, and many of the Jews of Israel, originate from these lands, their history there is not well known. Rather, it is the subject of mythologizing and stereotypes that fail both to bring out the specific features of the Jewish civilization which emerged there and to illustrate what was lost. Jewish life, though often poor materially, was marked by a high degree of spiritual and ideological intensity and creativity. Antony Polonsky recreates this lost world - brutally cut down by the Holocaust and less brutally but still seriously damaged by the Soviet attempt to destroy Jewish culture. Wherever possible, the unfolding of history is illustrated by contemporary Jewish writings to show how Jews felt and reacted to the complex and difficult situations in which they found themselves. This first volume begins with an overview of Jewish life in Poland and Lithuania down to the mid-eighteenth century. It describes the towns and shtetls where the Jews lived, the institutions they developed, and their participation in the economy. Developments in religious life, including the emergence of hasidism and the growth of opposition to it, are described in detail. The volume goes on to cover the period from 1764 to 1881, highlighting government attempts to increase the integration of Jews into the wider society and the Jewish responses to these efforts, including the beginnings of the Haskalah movement. Attention is focused on developments in each country in turn: the problems of emancipation, acculturation, and assimilation in Prussian and Austrian Poland; the politics of integration in the Kingdom of Poland; and the failure of forced integration in the tsarist empire. *** Volume 2 will cover the period 1881-1914; Volume 3 covers 1914-2005. ... Read more

26. Leonardo Da Vinci and the Splendor of Poland: A History of Collecting and Patronage
by Laurie Winters
Hardcover: 352 Pages (2002-09-01)
list price: US$65.00 -- used & new: US$30.00
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Asin: 0300097409
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This manual presents an array of Western European and Polish paintings from Poland's most important national and private museums. A testimony to the remarkable history of collecting and patronage in Poland, it showcases Leonardo da Vinci's magnificent "Lady with an Ermine (Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani)", but also includes important works by Hans Memling, Jusepe de Ribera, Bernardo Bellotto, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Marie-Louise Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun, Johann Friedrich Overbeck, and others. The volume also brings to light Poland's long-overlooked cultural history. Prominent scholars describe the royal patronage responsible for acquiring great works of art throughout the Renaissance and Enlightenment; they discuss the impact on Poland's art collections when the country lost its independence in 1795 and was then partitioned geographically; and they tell the story of the cultural and political oppression that culminated in the radical dismantling of collections and museums during Nazi and then Soviet rule.The authors note that the museums of Poland are now retrieving their collections and redefining themselves within a reconfigured Europe, offering a new appreciation of the country's impressive artistic identity. ... Read more

27. Cracow, the royal capital of ancient Poland: its history and antiquities
by Leonard Lepszy, Roman Dyboski
Paperback: 234 Pages (2010-08-28)
list price: US$25.75 -- used & new: US$18.50
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Asin: 1177802457
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Publisher: London : T.F. UnwinPublication date: 1912Subjects: Art -- Poland KrakówKraków (Poland) -- DescriptionKraków (Poland) -- HistoryNotes: This is an OCR reprint. There may be numerous typos or missing text. There are no illustrations or indexes.When you buy the General Books edition of this book you get free trial access to Million-Books.com where you can select from more than a million books for free. You can also preview the book there. ... Read more

28. Model Nazi: Arthur Greiser and the Occupation of Western Poland (Oxford Studies in Modern European History)
by Catherine Epstein
Hardcover: 320 Pages (2010-07-22)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$23.59
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Asin: 019954641X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Model Nazi tells the story of Arthur Greiser, the man who initiated the Final Solution in Nazi-occupied Poland. Between 1939 and 1945, Greiser was the territorial leader of the Warthegau, an area of western Poland annexed to Nazi Germany. In an effort to make the Warthegau "German," Greiser introduced numerous cruel policies. He spearheaded an influx of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Germans. He segregated Germans from Poles, and introduced wide-ranging discriminatory measures against the Polish population. He refashioned the urban and natural landscape to make it "German." And even more chillingly, the first and longest standing ghetto, the largest forced labour program, and the first mass gassings of Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe were all initiated under Greiser's jurisdiction.

Who was the man behind these dreadful policies? Catherine Epstein gives us a compelling biographical portrait of Greiser the man: his birth in the German-Polish borderlands, his rise to Nazi prominence in Danzig, his actions as party leader in the Warthegau, and his trial and execution in postwar Poland. Drawing on a remarkable array of German and Polish sources, she shows how nationalist obsessions, political jealousies, and personal insecurities shaped the policies of a man who held remarkable power in his Nazi fiefdom. Throughout, Epstein confronts a burning question of our age: why do individuals imagine genocide and ethnic cleansing to be solutions to political problems? ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've read in a long time
This is an excellent study of Arthur Greiser who was the Nazi leader of the area of Poland around Gdansk- an area where he came to be really hated. 15000 people attended his hanging. Greiser spent his life trying to become a model Nazi. The author believes that this was partly because he was trying to make up for what the Nazis viewed as past errors- such as the fact that he had been a Free-Mason and was late to join the party. He became particularly zealous to overcome these 'deficiencies'. He proposed bizarre intiatives like killing people with Tuberculosis but Hitler refused to countenance this. Epstein stresses the prominent role he took in the Final Solution. This excellent and well-researched study is backed up by some interesting private correspondence which makes an already compelling story even more engaging as we see that in his letters home he could seem like a loving family man whilst at the same time acting as a total monster in the area of Poland he controlled. I would have no hesitation in recommending this book to anyone interested in the Second World War.

I really hope this book wins a prize- it deserves it.

5-0 out of 5 stars No photos included in the iPad version
Why does the iPad version of this superb book not include the large number of photographs included in the hardcopy? I'm very disappointed as the photographs show this man at the height of his glory to the pitiful display he was at the end. As they say, a picture paints a 1000 words.

5-0 out of 5 stars This should get a Pulitzer
Catherine Epstein addresses a fundamental question of the Holocaust (and all genocidal movements): how were the Nazi apparatchiks created?What inner impulses and external circumstances drove people like Arthur Greiser to become so totally evil--and not even be able to comprehend the fact of their own evil?At least in our fantasies we know the Devil knows he is evil, so we can tolerate thinking about him and his falling out with God.In reality, however, often we find that Nazis like Greiser are incomprehensible and presume that they were merely evil from birth, or were hollow, faceless people fueled by rats' droppings.

Dr. Epstein, professor of history at Amherst College, addresses this incomprehensibility and makes the subject of her biography fully comprehensible in all of his criminal and evil Messianic glory.Her presentation is thoughtful, which is, in itself, a remarkable accomplishment.I was deeply affected by the depth of her research, her knowledge of both German and Polish, and her understanding of the political, social, and economic climate in which the Nazi firestorm grew to its fruition.Dr. Epstein approaches Greiser and his family with painstaking care and precision.She documents carefully the transformation of western Poland into a racial and ethnic murderous prison, the hundreds of thousands of lives irrevocably changed or irretrievably sacrificed on the altar of Nazi racial superiority.

I am not qualified to address how this book fits into the realm of Holocaust or modern history studies.I do know, however, that I found the author to be a great writer.

I believe this book deserves a Pulitzer.
... Read more

29. The political history of Poland
by E H. L. 1885-1953 Corwin
Paperback: 650 Pages (2010-08-29)
list price: US$46.75 -- used & new: US$33.67
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Asin: 1178002659
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Originally published in 1917.This volume from the Cornell University Library's print collections was scanned on an APT BookScan and converted to JPG 2000 format by Kirtas Technologies.All titles scanned cover to cover and pages may include marks notations and other marginalia present in the original volume. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read for any student of Polish History
"Political History of Poland" by Edward H. Lewinski-Corwin is without a doubt a must read for any student of Polish History. The volume is over 600 pages of in-depth historical narrative covering Poland from its Slavic tribal origins up to 1917. This book is of course very favorable to Poland as Lewinski-Corwin was an American Polish activist, but he does not do so to an extent that in demeans or lessens the high quality of the work. The depth of this history covers many subjects glossed over by many other comprehensive works in English; like the intricacies of the Polish-Lithuanian relationship with-in the Commonwealth, the institutions and constitutional framework of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Duchy of Warsaw and the role of the Polish Legions in the Napoleonic Wars are but a few examples.

The book is written to be readily understandable to someone with virtually no prior knowledge of Poland and provides a enjoyable read for those with an interest in the subject, or in other words it is not written in the garbled academic fashion so common to many modern specialty histories. However, as most people who would buy and read this book will come in with an established background in the subject matter, they will in no way find the quality and depth of the book lacking in any regard. ... Read more

30. Constitutions, Elections, and Legislatures of Poland, 1493-1993: A Guide to Their History (Etudes Presentees a La Commission Internationale Pour L'histoire Des Assemblees D'etats, 76.)
by Jacek Jedruch
Hardcover: 487 Pages (1998-05)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$35.49
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Asin: 0781806372
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To those who are unfamiliar with the achievements of Poland in the field of human rights, representative government and general participation of the citizens in the public life, the book may appear as a revelation. To those who know something about Polish history, Dr Jedruch's observations will give a wealth of interesting data, facts, details and comments. Written with care and learning, this guide will be very useful to all who approach the Polish legislative tradition with a desire to learn more of its concern with individual rights, freedom of conscience, civil disobedience, pacifism and militarism, and of the way it has been focus at crucial times for the life of the nation. ... Read more

31. The Crosses of Auschwitz: Nationalism and Religion in Post-Communist Poland
by Genevieve Zubrzycki
Paperback: 280 Pages (2006-09-15)
list price: US$30.00 -- used & new: US$26.16
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Asin: 0226993043
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In the summer and fall of 1998, ultranationalist Polish Catholics erected hundreds of crosses outside Auschwitz, setting off a fierce debate that pitted Catholics and Jews against one another. While this controversy had ramifications that extended well beyond Poland’s borders, Geneviève Zubrzycki sees it as a particularly crucial moment in the development of post-Communist Poland’s statehood and its changing relationship to Catholicism.

In The Crosses of Auschwitz, Zubrzycki skillfully demonstrates how this episode crystallized latent social conflicts regarding the significance of Catholicism in defining “Polishness” and the role of anti-Semitism in the construction of a new Polish identity. Since the fall of Communism, the binding that has held Polish identity and Catholicism together has begun to erode, creating unease among ultranationalists. Within their construction of Polish identity also exists pride in the Polish people’s long history of suffering. For the ultranationalists, then, the crosses at Auschwitz were not only symbols of their ethno-Catholic vision, but also an attempt to lay claim to what they perceived was a Jewish monopoly over martyrdom.

This gripping account of the emotional and aesthetic aspects of the scene of the crosses at Auschwitz offers profound insights into what Polishness is today and what it may become.

(20060505) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Book I've Read in 5 Years
The author presents a well-researched, highly nuanced "reading" of events surrounding the "war of the crosses" at Auschwitz. Dr. Piotr Sztompka, Poland's leading sociologist, gave it a rave review. Is the author biased? Read it and decide for yourself!

3-0 out of 5 stars Polish Self-Identity and the Auschwitz Cross Controversies
Zubrzycki's work is excellent in that it provides an in-depth summary of the situations and contentions relative to the Auschwitz Crosses, the mindsets of both Poles and Jews, and various useful historical information. One learns that the Polish nobility was one of the largest in Europe, comprising 10-13% of the total population. (p. 37). Every ninth adult Pole had someone in Auschwitz. (p. 136).

Unfortunately, Zubrzycki's statements often lack analytic depth, and exhibit a Judeocentric bias.She buys into the premise that the Jedwabne "revelation" has transformed Poles from victims to victimizers. (p. xiii). How is Jedwabne, etc. supposed to erase the fact of 2-3 million non-Jewish Poles, including half the intelligentsia, murdered by the Germans?She presents the arguments about the "de-Polonization" and "de-Judaization" of Auschwitz as symmetrical, when they are not--considering the vast volumes of Judeocentric educational and media materials worldwide which have all but buried the memory of the non-Jewish victims of the Nazis. She dwells on the fact that Poles saw Jews as "the Other" (p. 35), forgetting that Jews also considered themselves as "the Other" relative to Poles, and acted accordingly. She says that RADIO MARYJA "promotes a culture of fear and despair." (p. 167). As a long-time listener, I find this amusing.

Instead of just mentioning the fact that some Poles think of Jews as returning to Poland to exploit her, why not inform the reader that certain Jewish organizations are seeking massive tribute ("reparations") payments to the tune of many tens of billions of dollars? And, instead of dwelling on the fact that some Poles associate Jews with supranationalism, atheism, Communism, etc., Zubrzycki should be candid about the fact that Jews were and are in fact strongly overrepresented in these endeavors. As for the postwar Communist security forces (UB--Bezpieka), responsible for murdering tens of thousands of Poles, its leadership was about 35% Jewish, in a nation where Jews constituted less than 1% of the general population.

Zubrzycki uncritically mentions the argument that Auschwitz 1 and Birkenau cannot be separated, as proposed by the Polish compromise, because the entire area contains Jewish ashes. (p. 175). Considering the fact that the ashes from the Birkenau crematories were usually dumped in the Sola River, a tributary of the Vistula, and we cannot know how far downstream they went, should the entire Vistula Basin therefore be declared a Cross-free zone?

Some Jews have complained that they are not free to pray at Auschwitz because Christian symbols, to them, are idolatry. (p. 173). Considering the fact that we are supposed to be living in a pluralistic time in which all religions are welcome, how can such decidedly pre-ecumenical, in fact Old-Testament, thinking be condoned?Some Jews consider the Cross at Auschwitz objectionable because it reminds them of persecution. (p. 178). Considering the fact that just about every religion (including Judaism) has, at one time or other, persecuted other religions, isn't such reasoning a bit self-righteous?

Unfortunately, Zubrzycki repeats the false association of Fr. Kolbe and anti-Semitism (p. 58), and repeats the myth of the onetime Polish disregard of Auschwitz Jewish deaths (p. 108), and the myth of the 4-million victim toll as an invention designed to hide Jewish deaths. (p. 105). For the facts, see the Peczkis Listmania: Auschwitz (Oswiecim)...
... Read more

32. Parishes, Tithes and Society in Earlier Medieval Poland C. 1100-C. 1250 (Transactions of the American Philosophical Society)
by Piotr Gorecki
 Paperback: 146 Pages (1993-07)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$20.00
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Asin: 0871698323
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33. The History of Poland Since 1863 (Cambridge Russian, Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies) (Volume 0)
Paperback: 512 Pages (1983-06-30)
list price: US$65.00 -- used & new: US$56.01
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Asin: 0521275016
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This is an account of the evolution of Poland from conditions of subjection to its reconstruction in 1918, development in the years between the two World Wars, and reorganisation after 1945. It begins at a time when Poland was still suffering from the legacy of the eighteenth-century Partitions and burdened with problems of sizeable ethnic minorities, inadequate agrarian reforms and sluggish industrial development sustained by foreign capital. It traces the history through to independence and then to the transformation of the country in the last thirty years. Although many of the problems of the past have now disappeared, industrialisation, the structure of peasant agriculture, and political association with the Soviet Union present the Polish People's Republic with difficulties that have yet to be resolved. Substantial achievements in an ethnically homogeneous state must be set against substantial discontents. This history provides the English-speaking reader with a scholarly synthesis based mainly on literature in Polish and other East European languages. It will be essential reading for historians of Eastern Europe and for those interested in modern Polish society. ... Read more

34. Generations: A millenium of Jewish history in Poland from the earliest times to the Holocaust told by a survivor from an old Krakow family
by George J. Alexander
Paperback: 488 Pages (2009-04-19)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$23.42
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Asin: 0972456562
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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GENERATIONS starts with the author's overview of Polish/Jewish interactions over a thousand years from the times of Ibrahim ibn Yakub, a Jewish traveler-merchant-diplomat from Arab Spain, who in 965 A.D. was the first to mention a town called Kracko and continuing all the way to the Holocaust. It then proceeds from pre-historic legends to historic details about Krakovian Jewish courtiers serving the King Casimir the Great in 1350 and the Polish Renaissance Queens Elizabeth of Bohemia and Bona Sforza around 1500, all at the royal court in Kraków. The major part of the book deals with the history of Kraków Jewry as illuminated by the specific lives and genealogy of the author's Aleksandrowicz forebears and their friends and neighbors. It ends with the author's experiences as a child in Kraków (1925-1943) and his survival in the Ghetto, the concentration camps in Plaszów, Mauthausen, Melk and Ebensee. The book is the result of 11 years of research.It contains a number of copies of original historic family documents written in archaic Polish, which the author transcribed and translated into English, scores of other documents and photographs, a bibliography and an index. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Survival
A great deal of this book is about the author's love for his city of Kracow and for his huge extended Jewish family.A family which he has traced back through the millenium of the subtititle, generations of whom were remarkably accompished in many areas of business and academia.We learn of the joys of spending the holidays together, the food, the architecture, the history of his surroundings. There are pictures too, of his well loved, politically astute activist parents and his sister Anna.The charming, vivacious and pretty Anna, whom he claimed as his own baby from the day of her birth when we was six years old.
Then came the Nazi tsunami and swept them all away.
How does one survive and remain human and sane?
With the analytical mind and the skills of the neuroscientist he became, he is able to place many events in history and illustrate their impact on societies and individuals. One example he gives is of he and other concentration camp prisoners humming the Marseillaise as their own personal revolt.
This book should be read most of all for this, to learn how he arrives at his coda statement in the face of all he has lost: "Through all of this I have seen so many others behave in a moral and ethical manner, which gives me hope for the future of humankind."
... Read more

35. God's Playground: A History of Poland, Vol. 1 (Vol 1)
by Norman Davies
Paperback: 638 Pages (2005-07-02)
list price: US$37.20 -- used & new: US$37.26
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Asin: 0199253390
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This new edition of Norman Davies's classic 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 twentieth 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 presents the most comprehensive survey in English of this frequently maligned and usually misunderstood country. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Scholarly, Dense, Well Written, Worth It
I am a 4th-generation American of Polish ancestry.I mostly read non-fiction, my "to-read" pile was low, so I decided earlier this summer to learn something of Polish history.I never had much interest in Polish history, but since my ancestors came from Poland, I thought it might be interesting.I knew nothing about the history of Poland, except the very thin veneer of WW2 history and Solidarity in the recent times, etc.I searched online and discovered that Davies 2 volume Polish history is considered the best in the English language.(Four generations removed from Poland, the only word I can say in Polish is "butter."I needed a good English book.)I just finished Vol 1, and I am about to buy Vol 2.Vol 1 starts from Polish pre-history to 1800, when the Polish political state was partitioned and abolished.Volume 1 is great!The writing is very good.Davies is a scholarly Oxford don type of writer. Beautiful language.It can be dense.I had to look up a few words.There were sections of the book I read very lightly -- some political details that are not of interest to a non-scholar casual reader.But there are some very interesting sections too that read very well.I loved some of Davies' extensive quotes from original sources.Some were quite funny and lewd.I will never forget the quote from Rousseau about the final partition of Poland.For an educated American of Polish descent, this book was a fun, if sometimes, dense read, full of information that I am now glad I know.Volume 1 is about 500 pages long, minus footnotes, and it took me 1 month to read it.My only complaint:I wish the book had better maps in it.

5-0 out of 5 stars No Question that these two volumes are Must Read
If you are interested in the history of Poland and for that matter central Europe, then these two volumes are essential reading. From Poland's earliest times to Solidarity, the story of Poland in its beauty and agony is covered in great detail. I couldn't put the book down and at the end, I only wanted to pick up volume three. Norman Davies is not only a scholar but a riveting writer. ... Read more

36. Cracow: An Illustrated History
by Zdzislaw Zygulski
Paperback: 175 Pages (2001-06)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$0.25
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Asin: 0781808375
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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This concise volume offers the reader a panoramic view of Cracow, from its mythical founding to its designation as a European City of Culture in the twenty-first century. Enriched by fifty illustrations and photographs, it explores the city's continuing role as Poland's cultural, social, and educational centre. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

2-0 out of 5 stars Misses the mark
I was looking for a short overview, and this book seemed that it would fill the bill.I really wanted to like this book, but I find it too uneven.The cultural history is very enjoyable--but it seems abruptly stuck in between pages devoted to political and military history.Transitions would have been helpful.At times, the book was carelessly written.Too often, I found myself backing up to reread a passage because the date of a particular event was unclear (this is especially true of the first 2 chapters).In terms of content, I expected a fast pace, but I was genuinely surprised at some choices, such as how little was written about World War II and the Holocaust.The illustrations promised by the subtitle were nice, but all black and white, and a bit blurry in a few cases.Finally, I found myself bristling early on at the bias that allowed the author to write sentences like this:"One may admire the energy and talents of the prince [i.e., Mieszko] who was able to extract his tribes from the darkness of paganism, to defend his land, and to pass it down to his son Boleslaw" (p. 10).

3-0 out of 5 stars Superficial treatment of an ancient city's past
This book gives a superficial treatment of the history of this great Polish city.I find no fault in this because that is what I believe was intended.It can serve as a fair introduction to Krakow's past for prospective visitors.The book gives a disproportionate emphasis to cultural history, a reflection, no doubt, of the author's background as a professor of art history. The subtitle "An Illustrated History" would seem to suggest that quality illustrations would be a significant feature of the book.In fact, the black and white illustrations are unremarkable and sometimes of poor quality.

5-0 out of 5 stars A panoramic history of this old Polish city
The author resides in Cracow and has served as a museum curator and art history professor: he's in a perfect position to provide a panoramic history of this old Polish city from inception to its current state. Black and white photos pepper a survey which considers its history and cultural roots. ... Read more

37. History of the Jews in Russia and Poland: From the Beginning Until the Death of Alexander I
by Simon Dubnow
Paperback: 418 Pages (2010-03-22)
list price: US$34.75 -- used & new: US$19.95
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Asin: 1147794235
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This is an EXACT reproduction of a book published before 1923. This IS NOT an OCR’d book with strange characters, introduced typographical errors, and jumbled words.This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book. ... Read more

38. The Communist Party of Poland: An Outline of History, Revised edition (Russian Research Centre Study)
by M.K. Dziewanowski
 Hardcover: 440 Pages (1976-03)
list price: US$27.50 -- used & new: US$45.95
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Asin: 0674150554
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39. A Hitler Youth in Poland: The Nazi Children's Evacuation Program During World War II (Jewish Lives)
by Jost Hermand
Paperback: 184 Pages (1998-01-14)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$24.92
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Asin: 0810112922
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Between 1933 and 1945, millions of German children between the ages of seven and sixteen were sent to Hitler Youth paramilitary camps to be toughened and taught how to be "German". Jost Hermand, a distinguished cultural critic and historian who spent much of his youth in five different camps, some very brutal, writes about his experiences . ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars SAD BUT TRUE

4-0 out of 5 stars day of Hitler's camp
Two soldiers probably between the ages of 14 and 17 entered my classroom the day before. they talked of Hitler and all of his promises and what we should get if we joined him in German ways; if we joined the Nazis. out ofmy class of 20, already 13 had signed up. i, however was scared and againstHitler's ways. that night i lay awake in my bed. i heard someone at ourdoor, footsteps and someone with a deep rumbling voice talking with myfather. then, the door closed and i didn't hear anyone dowstairs. i finallyfell asleep. the next morning, no one was home. i searched my house fully,but mother, father, and my baby brother Dexter had all dissapeared. i neverfound them again and later that day, the same two soldiers in my classroomcame and took me to a paramilitary camp to become "German". thefood at the camp was hard and old. the people were cold, crying, andhungry. most of the people there were about 14 years old; my age. theyworked us from 5:30 until dinner time. we had five meals a day, but theywere simple: bread, water or grape jiuce, a slab of beef, and some sort ofvegatable. i stayed at that camp for 5 years and then went to a differentmore advanced and better conditioned one. then, i was "German". iwasn't really, but Hitler's followers had grown from 9% to nearly 68%. i,of course, had to pretend to be a follower. and, besides, Hitler wasn'tdone yet. he was determined to get everyone on his side against the Jews,and so far he was winning. Hitler the madman, Hitler the God, Hitler thekiller, Hitler the idol. whatever the reason, wherever he is now, wheneveryou feel as if you are with Hitler, turn back. he is the evil of the sunand moon. he is the devil of everyone on this Earth, yet he was most oftencompared to Christ. do not love him, for he is not one to love, but one tohate. ... Read more

40. A History of Poland (Palgrave Essential Histories)
by Anita J. Prazmowska
Paperback: 240 Pages (2006-08-03)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$21.21
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Asin: 0333972546
Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars
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Incorporating the most up-to-date research, A History of Poland offers a wide-ranging, readable survey of the country's history, from early settlements, through the establishment of the Kingdom of Poland, to the Solidarity movement and the present day modern state. Presenting a bold analysis of the origins and background to the development of a deeply patriotic nation, the book looks at numerous controversial topics, such as the roots of Polish Christianity and the growth of anti-Semitism in the present day.
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Customer Reviews (2)

1-0 out of 5 stars Dull and boring!
I consider myself to be a history buff (I am especially interested in European History) Poland is a country that I know very little about. I thought it might be interesting to read about the history of Poland, so I picked up this book. But I don't think I made it even halfway through this book.

I agree with the previous reviewer who said that this book would be good for a research, but not for someone who wants to read for pleasure. This book is not written for that. Even though I enjoy history, I still found myself overwhelmed and bored. The author throws way too many facts to you all at once. I also found the author's writing style to be dry and much too wordy. When I read a book like this I am interested in the who, what, when, where, and why. This book gives the reader only the what.

If you are looking for a much more reader-friendly book on the history of Poland, I recommend "A Traveler's History of Poland." rather than this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Poland Feels the Squeeze Again
If you're looking for an interesting historical narrative about Poland, then "A History of Poland" misses the mark.Anita J. Prazmowska's attempt at encapsulating the country's history within two-hundred plus pages is a worthy, but an overambitious project.The entire book is as dense as a gross anatomy textbook whose main objective is to instill information.

History to be understood needs to be spread out and have time to unwind its story.Unfortunately, Prazmowska injects the reader with one historical fact after another, therefore Poland's stories are packed as tight as the proverbial sardines in the tin can - no room has been allotted for expository writing to explain the meaning behind Poland's historical events.When the entire history of Poland's middle ages is contained in about thirty pages, one gets the feeling that some crucial information must have been left out.To further bog down the reader, the author's sentences are generally on the long side, forcing one to ingest loads of facts, dates and historical figures without a breather.For this reason, "A History of Poland" works well only as a reference book - a helpful index enables the reader to pinpoint the highlights of Polish history with ease.

Bohdan Kot
... Read more

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