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Poland ⚣ [PDF] ✅ Poland By James A. Michener ✰ – Like the heroic land that is its subject James Michener's Poland teems with vivid events and unforgettble characters In the sweeping span of eight tumultuous centuries three Polish families live out t Like the heroic land that is its subject James Michener's Poland teems with vivid events and unforgettble characters In the sweeping span of eight tumultuous centuries three Polish families live out their destinies and the drama of a nation—in the grand tradition of a great James Michener saga.

10 thoughts on “Poland

  1. Gary Gary says:

    This epic is a phenomenal account of a remarkable nation and a remarkable peopleIt documents the resilience of the Polish people in the face of experiencing their nation being crushed by invaders and powerful neighbors so many timesIt begins in 1981 at the time that Poland lay under the heel of Communist tyranny as a puppet of that Evil Empire the Soviet Union introducing us to the brave Polish farmers leader Janko Buk who out of love of his people prepares to take on the might of the cruel Marxist Leninist monolithWe are then taken back to AD 1204 to discover how Poland bravely stood against the ravages of the savage Mongol and Tartar hordes sweeping through Europe from the EastMichener then documents the repeated rape of Poland through history by the Germans from the West and the Swedes from the North as well as the brave role played by the Polish in beating back the Islamic Ottoman invasion of Europe from the south Is Europe once faced by an Islamic invasion in the 21st century?Through the various partitions of that country whereby Austria PrussiaGermany and Russia divided that nation amongst themselves like a cakeFinally in the 20th Century Poland again re emerged free in 1918 but only for a short while and was to experience being at the receiving end of the two cruellest and most vicious movements in history Communism and Nazism may both be erased foreverThrough this sage we get to know many amazing men and women representing a most resilient nation

  2. Erin Erin says:

    A sweeping historical that focuses on eight significant periods of Polish history I am in one of those strange reading phenomenasthis isn't my first time visiting Poland BUT it is the first time I ever read a book about Poland or set in Poland that isn't exclusively talking about the Holocaust In fact type in your search engine books set in or about Poland and be prepared to be not surprisedSo what did Michener teach me? Well the country of Poland and its people have been at the centre of a lot of conflict through the centuries Time and time again the scenes in the story seem to show other countries such as Russia Germany France and Austria feeling deeply devoted to keeping Poland under their thumb Despite this need to uell the happiness of the people Michener points out the resilience of a people that he obviously came to admire As he states in his foreword he travelled to Poland eight times and traced the steps of his characters and consulted many historians and collections So this book certainly was interesting but having read a few of the author's other works I found this one a bit dry As I had mentioned earlier Poland was a big target Plenty of times it was invaded and villages destroyed and people killed So Michener is definitely writing from the angle of a military historian with all of the strategies and tactics used Secondly I felt that all characters no matter what period of time or century were the same whether fictional or real suffered the dialogue came across as stilted and repetitive Also Michener describes many Polish figures featured as ugly even grotesuely ugly The one or two women who sound even remotely interesting he disposes of uicklyThe latter doesn't surprise me as it makes him a product of his time and in his books he does tend to follow the male line Overall I do want to find a few books that provide details on certain periods of history that this book does touch on

  3. Stephen Gallup Stephen Gallup says:

    Poland was one of several Michener historical novels I read in the late 70s and early 80s when it seemed everybody else was doing the same I rarely hear him mentioned these days and wonder whyI hadn't intended to read it again now but a copy fell into my lap and after opening it idly I was hookedLarge chunks of the story had stayed with me over the years I remembered Michener's accounts of the invasions by Tatars and Swedes and the unspeakable things those people did wonder why modern day Poles don't seem to have a chip on their shoulders the way other nations do about past atrocities I remembered the three layers of Polish society that Michener portrays as a constant throughout the eight centuries that are covered the pragmatic but usually self centered upper nobility the romantic but perhaps selfish gentry and the serfs who are taken completely for granted by their masters while steadfastly serving as the country's greatest resourceReading Poland's long tale of woe I thought of Arnold Toynbee's ironic uote History is something unpleasant that happens to other people We are comfortably outside all of that I am sure My first reading was during Morning in America when one might have been excused for feeling safely insulated from such terrible events This time beginning with the opening scene in which modern day Poles confront the reality that communism has failed them through the point near the end when a true believer betrays his compatriot over an ideological disagreement I found reason to wonder how closely events over the next generation or so much closer to home may replicate what is portrayed hereThe good news is that after every calamity Michener's Poles rebuild So taking the long view it's probably reasonable to hope that our descendents can do the same after the lessons of history have been learned yet again

  4. John Eliade John Eliade says:

    I like James Michener a lot That said it's obvious that he's not for everybody and in fact I would argue that most people are not reading James Michener correctly And before you say You shouldn't need to be told how to read something in order to be able to read it I would say this people should have some understanding of say the Bible or the ur'an or of Nietzche or Plato or Buddhist Sutras before you start engaging with them Or if you're trying to argue that that's intense philosophy not fictional novels well you have a selection to choose from because we do the same with Shakespeare's plays with Dickens' novels etc So I'd argue that a primer is necessary for those who are not familiar with the novels of James Michener Michener has been called the King of beach reading which I find mysterious because his books are massive and if you are reading a hard cover first edition copy like I was can cause wrist cramps which doesn't seem ideal while lying on coastal paradise being enveloped into the annals of a country that was raped by historical forces and the madness of humanity over and over again James Michener uite simply tries to capture the essence of an era into a novelized format For example his novel Space begins with the close of the second World War and the escape of Peenemunde scientists from the Third Reich to the United States and ends with the development of the Space Shuttle And between those important events it covers the political intrigue the military industrial terror of the '60s and '70s the excitement and thrill of landing on the moon the pop culture and misinformation of the American people and then the tragedy of space accidents like Apollo 1 And all through these epic events the mystical location and the representative characters there's the theme woven through the novel what is humanity's next step? Knowing what you know now you can probably construct the basics of Michener's Poland it's about a fictional village Bukowo on the Vistula between Krakow and Warsaw It features three families representing the nobility Lubonski the rising middle class Bukowski and the peasantry Buk And it is woven through with an important theme immortalized in this phrase A Pole is a man born with a sword in one hand and a brick in the other When the fighting is over he rebuilds When Michener wrote Poland it was one of the most prosperous nations in the Warsaw Pact and was facing the least of the Soviet repressions the memory of the Nazi terror in Poland was still fresh in everyone's mind and with Karol Wojtyla just elected to the Papacy in Rome he began his historical research The first four chapters represent essentially the entirety of Polish history From the East West North South discussing the events and effects of the invasions of Poland or just Eastern Europe in general by the Tatars in the 1240s the Teutonic Knights in 1410 the Swedish Protestants in the 1650s and the Turkish attempt to capture Vienna famously defeated by the Polish King Jan Sobieski in 1683 In addition to the fictional families of Bukowo that are witnessing the attacks on their nation Michener also introduces the Von Eschl family who begin as the hereditary rulers of the Teutonic Knights dedicated to the Germanization of Poland All of the historical set up in the book builds up to two main events the Partition and The Terror describing World War II in Poland Michener represents Poland as a nation ahead of its time At the end of the eighteenth century she was busy viciously attempting to adopt sorts of reforms that would allow a gentle rise of a middle class a pacified peasantry but ultimately to the emasculation of the nobility There was no justification for this terrible rape of a free land Such nations as Switzerland had long been encouraged to exist as buffers between larger powers and there was no reason why Poland should have been denied this privilege except that she had committed two fatal errors she had evolved no way to defend herself with a stable government regular taxation and a dependable army; and in her weakness she had endeavored to initiate freedoms which threatened the autocracies which surrounded her Had her neighbors been England France and America instead of Russia Prussia and Austria she would surely have been permitted to exist for the innovations she was proposing were merely extensions of what that first trio had already accepted To be both weak and daring is for a nation an impossibility Instead she opted to protect what was called The Golden Freedom the ability for Polish nobles to veto any action of the elected monarch and instead lost all freedoms for well over a century Her short lived republic between the World Wars ended tragically once again caught in her nightmare of being torn apart by the Germans to her west and the Russians to her east I have not been to Poland yet but in 1910 my great grandfather arrived in America from what was the Russian Kingdom of Poland The uote above about swords and bricks really resonates with me and I can see how that cultural standpoint works so well in my family history Or even this one from the Tatar invasion which explains certain facial features those of us with Polish heritage might find ourselves staring at Asian friends in the mirror and wondering Of course in February of 1242 they did produce bastards but young ones were so earnestly needed to rebuild the settlement that no disgrace adhered to them Such events repeated over the centuries accounted for the fact that many Poles along the Vistula would have darkened skins and eyes slightly aslant as if they represented echoes out of Asia I look forward to going to Poland in the near future and seeing how well Michener's novel holds up to the feeling of being in Poland in the 21st Century because he presents a fantastic image of its history with all the bravery the challenge and the foreshadowing of triumph that Poland would soon achieve He mentions Lech Walesa a few pages in and remember this was first published in 1983 prior to his acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize and his future election in the Polish Solidarity Revolution It's an excellent introduction to Michener fiction just remember that when you see characters espousing expository dialogue that they aren't fictional characters like you might see in other novelists' work they're personified segments of entire portions of a society In a certain and important way we all are Even those of us who are echoes out of Poland

  5. Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore says:

    What I knew about Poland was pretty limited—that the Second World War began with Hitler’s invasion of the country and of course Pope John Paul II but not very much else I’d honestly forgotten that Marie Curie was Polish as was Chopin So Michener’s book was a great way for me to get to know about this land Michener sets his story in the fictional village of Bukowo and around three families the peasant Buk the lesser noble Bukowski and the magnate Lubonski and we follow members of these families from the thirteenth century to the 1980s where the story opens and closes The story opens with negotiations between farmers and the government in 1980s Poland the farmer from the Buk family and the minister from the Bukowskis with the government’s stand being communist and Russian and the farmers’ a demand for freedom and better work conditions From there we travel back to 1204 and then through Polish history back to this time to see how the dispute is finally resolved Poland is a country with no natural borders which along with its system of government where the elected ruler was never allowed to have much power lest he deprive the magnates of theirs led the country to always fall prey to invaders—some invasions were repulsed others not so for a period of over 140 years the country even ceased to exist having been divided between Germany Russia and Austria But it was resilient and always rebuilt all that was destroyed time and time again The book as is the case with Michener gave me a holistic picture of the country of major events—a lot of which were wars and invasions and of the character the resilience of this country Besides war music is another theme that Michener explores Polish music vis à vis others not as structured but with a spirit of its own The long chapter on the second world war and how it impacted the country was somewhat of an eye opener for me because I really didn’t know or realise the extent to which the Polish people those who weren’t Jewish were also targeted and lost their lives in concentration camps Michener picks up some of the most horrifying incidents in Majdaneck which are chilling heartbreaking and leave one without words But worse than that the end of that chapter was as much or ominous that the chapter itself for the end of the war didn’t spell the end of the trials for the country In fact the book itself also ends on a rather ominous note but of course this is speaking of circumstances forty years ago But aside from this I enjoyed following the various characters and their stories—it took some getting used to to make a connection between the various generations and family members but once I got my head around that I began to enjoy not that this is the right word considering all the hardships the faced following their stories and seeing how things turned out for all of them This was an excellent read although sombre in tone mostly and with much that was heartbreaking

  6. Bodosika Bodosika Bodosika Bodosika says:

    This book is less the history of Poland and the Polish people and their neighbor and it was well written by the author hence no dull moment The author is a Genius hence I gave it to 4 Star

  7. Doreen Petersen Doreen Petersen says:

    Fantastic book Being of Polish heritage I found this book to be especially good I would recommend this one

  8. Andrew Breslin Andrew Breslin says:

    I was in Poland about 20 years ago hanging out with two Polish friends one of whom spoke three languages fluently the other five We were having a fascinating conversation comparing humor across languages and cultures I asked what subjects were targets of traditional Slavic levity and they told me the most popular type of jokes usually poked fun at policemen and draconian government officials This was just a few years after the collapse of the Soviet Union and its decades of oppression in the region so this seemed entirely reasonableWhat type of jokes do you make in the US? they asked Who do you make fun of?Um blondes I said We make jokes about blondesI didn't tell my two brilliant polyglot companions that we Americans who are rarely familiar with than one language and frankly have never read the instruction manual on the one we do have and have long since invalidated the warranty through gross misuse and negligence have a bizarre affection for jokes about how Polish people are stupidBeing totally unfairly characterized as dimwits by far dimmer Americans is the least of Poles' worries though The centuries of invasion conuest and mistreatment endured by Poland is truly monumental and Michener illustrates this sad and bloody legacy wonderfully I kept turning the pages late into the night as hordes of bellicose peoples overran them from the south north east and west Turks vikings Teutonic knights Nazis Russians The waves of invaders kept coming generation after generation As tragically fascinating as this history is I might not have stuck with it were it not presented in the context of a consistent richly evoked story Writing a historical novel that spans generations is a tough trick One can only develop any single character over the course of small section of the book and by the next chapter he's been worm food for a century But Michener manages to develop the nation of Poland itself as a single character A spunky lovable indefatigable rebel who refuses to be defeated and who incidentally would have absolutely no problem whatsoever screwing in a light bulb all by herself

  9. Mike Mike says:

    One of the overarching themes in this barely fictionalized historical account of Poland is A Pole is a man born with a sword in one hand and a brick in the other When the fighting is over he rebuildsThe other main theme is that Poland might disappear under a foreign power or be completely dissolved for a while but it always comes back The book takes you through a time machine as we move from the 1200’s and the Tatar ravages through the various assaults from EastWestNorth and South by Swedes Germans Turks Russians etc You also get a smattering of cultural history of art music architecture etc along the way History is told through the eyes of the “nobles” gentry and serfs following fictional families as they interact with real figures and events from Polish history Fascinating from end to endThe last part of the book covers the Nazi invasion of Poland and atrocities inflicted The first thing in the main village on the Vistula central setting for the book’s characters has the German overseer read a list of “subversive” villagers who are stood up against a wall and shot When the village is “liberated” by the Soviets the security services show up shortly after with a list of “subversive” villagers and Polish guerilla fighters who are taken away and never seen again Just your basic social justice being meted outThe book ends with events of the early 1980s echoing the rise of Solidarnosc and Lech Walensa Will Poland get out from under her Soviet masters or will she be crushed again? As we know with a little help from the three Amigos John Paul II Maggie Thatcher and Ronald Reagan Poland and the rest of the countries behind the Iron Curtain would shortly regain their freedom5 Stars for a fascinating look at the history of Eastern Europe centered on Poland Still relevant today

  10. David (דוד) David (דוד) says:

    425 stars Poland by James A Michener was his ninth work that I read and as always his writing style kept me glued to the text However amongst his four epic works of historical fictions that I have read so far this one although pretty interesting I would keep it at the bottom of my personal favourite list right under Hawaii while having his Alaska at the second position and the best being The SourceThe book is divided into nine parts1 The book starts and ends with agricultural problems in communist Poland of around the late 1970s The dilemmas faced by different Polish people is exhibited in these two chapters the ones who wanted to have a democratic Poland; and the ones who wanted a socialist Poland and believed that the Soviet Union can lead them into the right direction 4 stars2 FROM THE EAST 5 stars The Tatar Mongolian attacks from the East in the early part of the 13th century is well described this being one of the darkest times in Polish history Of how the Tatars had come along as riding raiders and pillaged towns across the region without any remorse The only thing they learnt from the Polish people was the concept of a city an orderly collection of human beings who could accomplish results that a horde of wandering individuals never could And as they remembered Krakow they established Karakorum3 FROM THE WEST 5 stars In the late 14th century Poland is invaded and occupied by the Order of the Teutonic Knights from the West Germany However at the Battle of Grunwald the combined Polish Lithuanian army having defeated the Teutonic Knights laid the groundwork for the decline of the Order This battle is very well presented4 FROM THE NORTH 5 stars Depicting the Swedish ravaging invasion of Poland from the North during the reign of the Polish King Jan Kazimir in the 17th century 5 FROM THE SOUTH 5 stars Being invaded by the Ottoman Empire from the South during the late 17th century Poland fights back to protect itself and all of Western Europe at the Battle of Vienna Even though it is an act of violent descriptions these were wonderful to read and know6 THE GOLDEN FREEDOM 4 stars This chapter included description of life and politics in the 18th century under what was called as The Golden Freedom wherein the Sejm the Polish parliament which the king was reuired to hold every two years was elected by all nobles while ignoring the majority peasants The liberum veto by which one man in a Seym of hundreds could negate and prorogue the entire work of the Seym by merely crying 'I oppose' is also very well described being a major cause of Poland's partitioning and eventually its disappearance from the map of Europe for than a hundred years The liberum veto was defended as the last refuge upon which a free man the magnate or his henchman could rely to defend his freedom7 MAZURKA 4 stars This chapter describes life in Vienna at the end of the 19th century at the height of the Habsburg monarchy discussing the life of Polish exiles during the country's partition period Description of Polish culture through its language visual arts and music is shown exhibiting the fact that despite the absence of the country politically people still loved and retained their beloved Polish culture8 SHATTERED DREAMS 4 stars Taking place during the first uarter of the 20th century after the reconstitution of Poland the Polish Russian Battle of Zamosc Battle of Komarow as per the Russians is described and stressed upon in which the Poles had won9 THE TERROR 5 stars This chapter begins with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany followed by the life of Poles during its occupation and much later by Soviet occupation The Holocaust is a big part of the chapter although the Jews while being kept in the background focus was laid upon the ways in which the Poles were treated by the Nazis This provided me with a perspective I did not yet know much about The Polish resistance movement in the forests are also a big part of the scenes in this chapterOverall I loved and enjoyed reading the book just like any another Michener novel Michener's writing style is what keeps it going and along with it his thorough research and depiction of historical facts Prior to the reading of this book personally I did not know anything about Polish history excepting at the times of the Second World War But this book did provide me with some astonishing and interesting knowledge about Polish history covering the span of its last eight hundred years Very intriguing indeed

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