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God's Playground: A History of Poland, Vol. 1 Paperback – July 2, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 638 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; 2nd edition (July 2, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199253390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199253395
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,536,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


`Review from previous edition Anyone who wants to understand what has happened in Poland must dig into Norman Davies's great opencast mine of Polish is very accessible, strewn with vivid quotations from original sources, good anecdotes, and much verse...' Sunday Times

`The magnificence of God's Playground is that Norman Davies has given ust the music as well as the libretto, the passion, poetry, myth, and ancedote as well as the facts...Davies writes with spirit, and his enjoyment is infectious.' Observer

`A yawning gap in Anglophone historical literature has now been filled...Dr Davies writes interestingly and well. His moods vary between cool detachment, passionate involvement, and ironic comment. His range of sources is wide and imaginative...a very substantial achievement.' Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Norman Davies is Professor of History, School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies, University of London.

More About the Author

Norman Davies C. M. G., F. B. A. is Professor Emeritus of the University of London, a Supernumerary Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, and the author of several books on Polish and European history, including God's Playground, White Eagle, Red Star, The Isles, Europe, and Microcosm.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By G. Yatsevitch on March 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
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.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Derek Link on August 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
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.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christel Scouller on February 15, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book. I can highly recommend it. It arrived promptly and fulfilled my expectations. Thank you very much.
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