Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

God's Playground: A History of Poland, Vol. 1: The Origins to 1795 (Volume 1) Revised Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0231128179
ISBN-10: 0231128177
Why is ISBN important?
ISBN
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Trade in your item
Get a $11.88
Gift Card.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Buy used On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$24.45 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
Buy new On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$30.29 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
More Buying Choices
19 New from $25.41 18 Used from $24.45 1 Collectible from $47.95
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Top 20 lists in Books
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
$30.29 FREE Shipping. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • God's Playground: A History of Poland, Vol. 1: The Origins to 1795 (Volume 1)
  • +
  • God's Playground: A History of Poland, Vol. 2: 1795 to the Present (Volume 2)
  • +
  • Heart of Europe: The Past in Poland's Present
Total price: $89.00
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The standard work on the subject in English.... [Davies] writes with commanding dexterity and a confident, at times almost swaggering, intelligence as he balances narrative and analysis." -- "Atlantic Monthly"

"The standard work on the subject in English.... ÝDavies¨ writes with commanding dexterity and a confident, at times almost swaggering, intelligence as he balances narrative and analysis." -- "Atlantic Monthly"

"The standard work on the subject in English.... [Davies] writes with commanding dexterity and a confident, at times almost swaggering, intelligence as he balances narrative and analysis." -- Atlantic Monthly

"The standard work on the subject in English.... [Davies] writes with commanding dexterity and a confident, at times almost swaggering, intelligence as he balances narrative and analysis." -- "Atlantic Monthly"

About the Author

Norman Davies is chair of the history department, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, at the University of London.

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE


Product Details

  • Paperback: 638 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; Revised edition (July 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231128177
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231128179
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #281,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Since its publication in 1984, these two heavy tomes have been the only survey course of Polish history worth reading, in Polish or English or any other language. The others, since the beginnings of Polish history books, have generally been badly outdated, marred by heavy ideological or religous bias, or were written by enthusiasts rather than by trained historians. I have read as many as I could fine since I started studying the field in 1971. Davies is controversial because he does indeed take stands not always popular with some readers, and he is a reasonable romantic enthusiast. Note the other reviews. After all, he received his doctorate in Krakow, the former capital of Poland, a true measure of devotion to the country. Unfortunately, the world of Polish, much less Eastern European, historigoraphy has been overturned with the end of the Cold War and opening of the archives and libraries formerly denied. There is a crying need for an updated version of Polish history, especially to cover the post-1945 period, which was off-limits under the rules in the former People's Republic. Until then, read Davies. Understandably, the market for this sort of work is limited, but it is good to know that a Polish translation is used in the restored Poland. Certain periods are well-coverd, as in the Piotr Wandycz book on 19th century Poland. We distributed copies of this work through the cultural section of the American Embassy in Warsaw in the 1980's.
2 Comments 91 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
With God's Playground Davies has proven himself to be one of the greatest historians, historical writers, and historical theorists that the English language has known. Davies combines the narrative and thematic approaches to achieve a historical study that provides a chronology of events as well as an understanding of deeper changes and cultural contexts. Since you are reading this in the hopes that it will help you decide to buy the book, let me explain how Davies does this. First, he provides a chapter that is written in the traditional narrative style from n-date to x-date. Then he follows that up with several chapters on each facet of Polish life and how that developed from n-date to x-date. Typically, he uses political, military, economic, religious, and cultural (the arts, etc.) as his primary themes. By using this technique Davies is able to impart much more knowledge and much deeper understanding to his readers. Finally, these two volumes also contain some of the best and most useful maps I have encountered in any history book. The maps alone are worth the price of the book, and anyone teaching a European history course will find them to be invaluable in helping students understand Eastern Europe.
2 Comments 67 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
As Norman Davies himself writes in the preface, writing about history of another country is not an easy task. However, he seems to have done a great job, especially when one considers the amount of bibliography material available only in Polish.
Being Polish myself, and an amateur historian, I have read many books about Polish history - but this is the first one I read in English. I am very pleasantly suprised, and would rank it among the top in its category.
The fact that the writer is not Polish, nor of any country whose history and present have been recently shaped by it is not a handicap, on the contrary, it guarantees that the book is unbiased.
Final verdict: a very good book
Comment 31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
God's Playground is currently being used by many schools in Poland as the textbook of Polish history. It was writen in English, and was translated into Polish to be used in schools. It is very thorough, well balanced, and focuses on the Mickiewicz point of view. The book is a good reflection of how Poles see their history. Russophiles probably wouldn't enjoy this very Polish view of history, but it is well written, well researched, and interesting! This is the first book about Polish history, that was translated into Polish to be used in Polish schools.
Comment 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Excellent book. Few years back Norman Davies received an honorary diploma from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow for his outstanding achievements. This book was recognized as a masterpiece, translated into Polish, and is currently used by undergraduate and graduate students in Poland.
I highly recommend it.
Comment 39 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Davies sympathized with Poland as a nation wrongly accused of not doing enough during WW II to help save its Jews from the Nazis. His opinions conflicted with Jewish academics', with whom he quarreled. Those differences in opinion are worth noting by any serious student of Polish history and should not, in any case, be used as an excuse to criticize everything Davies has written. An earlier reader/review characterizes the expression that peasants "live lustily" as a "fairly typical Slavophilic view." Obviously he\she is not Slavic, and the comment and its context is certainly negative. Makes me wonder what people's view the reader represents?
2 Comments 23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
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 now. 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.
Read more ›
Comment 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

God's Playground: A History of Poland, Vol. 1: The Origins to 1795 (Volume 1)
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
This item: God's Playground: A History of Poland, Vol. 1: The Origins to 1795 (Volume 1)