Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Polish-Lithuanian State, 1386-1795

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Polish-Lithuanian State, 1386-1795

Article excerpt

The Polish-Lithuanian State, 1386-1795. By Daniel Stone. [A History of East Central Europe,Volume IV] (Seattle: University of Washington Press. 2001. Pp. xvii, 374. $50.00.)

This welcome volume is an important addition to the distinguished series in which it appears. Stone's impressive accomplishment provides a treatment that is fair and balanced, one that covers politics, society, economy, and culture, and one that includes the histories of not only the Poles and Lithuanians but encompasses the numerous regions and other peoples of this multinational state. This is not only a contribution to English-language literature, but also-by virtue of its balance and perspective-one that is unmatched in any language.

Unlike many histories that have a "telescoping effect" in which the more distant past receives briefer treatment than that given to periods closer to the present, Stone's volume is remarkably even-handed with regard to chronology. The two centuries of rule by the Jagiellonian family and the first two monarchs of the Commonwealth of Both Nations (as the state was known following the Union of Lublin in 1569) are given about one-third of the volume; the Vasa period and the years of John III Sobieski (d. 1697) receive a second third; and the eighteenth century to 1795 gets the final third. The author's evenhandedness is reflected in other ways also. Although his framework is political-the reigns of each monarch are treated seriatim-there is good coverage given to social history, economic developments, and cultural accomplishments. Thus the volume as a whole provides the clear, straightforward overview that is the goal of the series as a whole.

Readers of this journal will be especially interested in the treatment Stone accords religious matters. These centuries, especially the sixteenth, were fraught with a number of crucial problems. The Reformation in Poland was especially complex. One group within society looked toward a Catholic reform that might bring about a national church independent of Rome. On the Protestant side there were numerous Lutheran adherents in the German towns along the Baltic; the nobility were increasingly committed to Calvinism; and The Bohemian Brethren had strong support in parts of the country. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.