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The First Thousand Years
Patrice M. Dabrowski
“The book is very readable and fluidly written. The action flows gracefully from one setting to another with appropriate transitions and cues along the way. Dabrowski’s presentation contributes fresh interpretations of events in several important respects.”—Keely Stauter-Halsted, University of Illinois at Chicago
“Dabrowski provides an engaging and reliable overview of over ten centuries of Polish history. She has done so in a balanced, fair manner with regard to a broad range of controversial issues. And she has done so in a way to make the reader comfortable with matters for which he or she might bring relatively little in the way of previous knowledge or interests.” —Paul W. Knoll, University of Southern California
"In this sprawling and ambitious work, ... Dabrowski proceeds systematically from Poland's foundational myths, with their roots at the end of the first millennium, to the fall of Communism and the establishment of democracy in 1989. Dabrowski avoids academic prose, and even those with no background will find the text engrossing. Precise yet lyrical, she convincingly connects the lessons of Polish history to issues of universal import."—Publishers Weekly
Since its beginnings, Poland has been a moving target, geographically as well as demographically, and the very definition of who is a Pole has been in flux. In the late medieval and early modern periods, the country grew to be the largest in continental Europe, only to be later wiped off the map for more than a century. The Polish phoenix that rose out of the ashes of World War
I was obliterated by the joint Nazi-Soviet occupation that began with World War II. The postwar entity known as Poland was shaped and controlled by the Soviet Union. Yet even under these constraints, Poles persisted in their desire to wrest from their oppressors a modicum of national dignity and, ultimately, managed to achieve much more than that.
Patrice M. Dabrowski has taught at Harvard, Brown, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and currently works at the University of Vienna. She is the author of Commemorations and the Shaping of Modern Poland.
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