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Books -- esp history books!

Looking for recommendations, esp. interested in readable Polish history books.

Posted by
1758 posts

Perhaps not exactly what you’re looking for, but the novel Mila 18 by Leon Uris tells the story of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. I read it over 40 years ago and remember it as one of the most compelling books I’ve ever read. Timely as ever now on the 75th anniversary of the uprising this month.

Posted by
5971 posts

Eef, two good one-book histories are "The Struggles for Poland" by Neal Ascherson, and "God's Playground" by Norman Davies. Many people recommend the James Michener book "Poland" which is a fictionalized historical novel (too tedious for me). There are others, more specific to certain things. "Rising '44: The Battle for Warsaw" by Norman Davies is about the tragic uprising against the Nazis that resulted in complete destruction of the city. Lots of other books on WWII and the Holocaust.

The most famous fiction books in Polish literature are the trilogy by Henryk Sienkiewicz - three large volumes: "The Deluge", "With Fire and Sword", and "Fire in the Steppe". These are all set in (I think) the 1600s, and are all about knights and rebellions, and foreign invasions. He won the Nobel Prize for these books.

Posted by
707 posts

Many thanks for your recommendations!!! I remember people reading Leon Uris books but never have done so myself! Mila 18 sounds like a winner.

Stan, I am not taking on Michener. I actually did read Poland a long time ago, but once was enough. Thank you for your other suggestions! Very helpful! I'm really intrigued by the trilogy...that's definitely on my list, although Amazon is very unhelpful by mixing reviews with various translations which is slowing me down. I'll definitely check out your one-book histories.

Tonfromleiden, thank you! The Adam Zamoyski history is excellent. I am in the middle of it and learning so much! I will definitely check out your other recommendations!