The History of Poland

The History of Poland

The History of Poland

The History of Poland

Synopsis

Poland is a land whose boundaries and people have been divided and redivided by conquering nations throughout its long and tumultuous history. Only now, as it enters the 21st century, is it a stable democracy with a bright economic and political future. This compassionately written history provides readers with a clear understanding of Poland's complex history from its origins in the Middle Ages through the end of the 20th century and is ideal for student research. It is the most up-to-date history of Poland available.

Excerpt

This is a particularly opportune moment to make a new attempt at interpreting the Polish past. With the fall of communism, the collapse of the Soviet Empire, the reunification of Germany, and the restructuring of the security and economic architecture of Europe, the world is strikingly different from what it was just a few years ago. Poland, which has re-emerged as an independent nation after nearly half a century of communism and Russian control, is within this altered context both a new and restored country. Hence the relationship of today's Poland to the country's previous incarnations is a serious and challenging question. Historians, like everyone else, are inclined to a Whiggish view of affairs, seeing the present as the inevitable product of the past. When Poland was a rather pitiable member of the Warsaw Pact, its economy perpetually in shambles, it was almost unavoidable to see in the past a kind of attenuated prologue to modern national tragedy or at least to national inconsequentiality. Now, with Poland returning to play a lively role in the world, we are well moved to rummage about the past again, this time with a happier mission, seeing failure as variation not theme.

This volume on the history of Poland concentrates on developments in the last century, especially the last several decades. As a result, events of the distant past, even if of great moment, are relatively slighted in . . .

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