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Best of Eastern Europe Tour suggested books

I am taking the Best of Eastern Europe tour next year and love reading books on the culture of the Countries we plan to visit. My wife found a great book on Czech Republic called Czeching In by Lenka Glassner. Which I have almost finished.

I am looking for recommendations for Poland, Hungary, Croatia, and Slovenia.

I do have a great recommendation for a book on Denmark for those planning a visit called A year of living Danisly by Helen Russell.

Thanks for your suggestion in advance.

Posted by
3961 posts

I can recommend two books for Croatia. "The Cellist of Sarajevo" by Steven Galloway and "A Traveler's History of Croatia" by Benjamin Curtis. Both books provided an accurate account of the subject matter.
They also enhanced the information we received from local guides in Croatia.

Posted by
77 posts

A few years ago, I enjoyed reading The Hidden Europe - What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us by Francis Tapon. Knowing very little about the area, I found it an easy read and learned a lot about the history and culture.

Posted by
3644 posts

I don't know how in-depth you are looking for but for Poland I would recommend God's Playground: A History of Poland by Norman Davies. It comes in two volumes, "Origins to 1795" and "1795 to the Present". I own both but you can buy them separately depending on which parts of Polish history you are interested in.

I personally like "Origins to 1795" because I am a huge history buff for medieval history. Note that these books may seem initially daunting but they are very well written and worth the intellectual investment. What makes God's Playground different from the other Polish history books out there is that Davies abandons the traditional nationalist approach to Polish history, instead following the country's development of its rich multi-ethnic heritage.

Posted by
14030 posts

I would recommend another masterful work by Norman Davies on Poland, his book on the Warsaw Uprising in 1944....competent, incisive, scholarly.

On Poland in the inter-war years...definitely "Bitter Fate" by R. Watt.

Posted by
2090 posts

I realize you aren't asking for more books about Czechia but we thoroughly appreciated Madeline Albright's "Prague Winter" and for fiction, Bradford Morrow's "Prague Sonata".

Posted by
130 posts

I did the same thing before my Eastern Europe trip. I wanted to read as much as I could to try to understand what I would see on the tour. Two books that I enjoyed for Hungary were "Eclipse of the Crescent Moon" which is a work of fiction, but describes the siege of Eger, and "The Bridge at Andau" which is about the revolution in Hungary in 1956. Happy reading!

Posted by
3961 posts

Another recommendation for "Prague Winter" by Madeleine Albright. Remarkable story and well written.