Dodaj artykuł  


Inne artykuły

Dom i epitafium - wiersze Wiesława Sokołowskiego 
26 grudzień 2015     
Dzień Odwetu - atak na instytucje finansowe USA 
23 wrzesień 2011      ŁK
Profesor Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski 
5 maj 2009      tłumacz
POpapraniski VAT 
24 sierpień 2010      Bogusław
Palestyńczycy będą skazywani na 20 lat więzienia za rzucanie kamieniami 
4 listopad 2014
Pomnik Plugawej Polski na Rondzie Ofiar Katynia? 
21 padziernik 2010      Marek Głogoczowski
Arabski Plan Pokoju i Puszka Pandory w Iraku 
26 marzec 2010      Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski
Co powiedział Lech Kaczyński w Izraelu 
2 styczeń 2014      Artur Łoboda
UFO - co to jest ? 
23 sierpień 2010      Goska
7 listopad 2011      Bogusław
Oszust skontroluje oszusta 
15 grudzień 2016     
Wizyta Prezydenta Brazylji w Izraelu 
19 marzec 2010      Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski
USA na zgliszczach imperiów Hiszpanii i W. Brytanii  
30 wrzesień 2009      Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski
Powrót komunistycznej retoryki 
22 lipiec 2009
Moja wierna kochanka Unia... 
22 sierpień 2010      Zygmunt Jan Prusiński
O logice myślenia i pewnym fałszywcu 
20 sierpień 2016      Artur Łoboda
Juan Chiński Startuje Na Rynku Obok Dolara, Jena i Euro 
17 grudzień 2010      Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski
Przygotowania Na Śmierć Euro 
28 grudzień 2011      Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski
Gdzie jest prawda, wśród prawd wielu? 
11 styczeń 2011      Artur Łoboda
Kto stał za przewrotem w Turcji? 
29 lipiec 2016


Slavic and East European Journal

Spring 2010

Book Review

Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski. Poland: An Illustrated History. New York: Hippocrene Books, 2008. Illustrations. Index. 282 pp. $19.95 (cloth).

With this work, Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski makes a valuable contribution to Hippocrene Books' long list of publications on Polish history and culture. Pogonowski -- trained as a scientist and identified as a lexicographer-writer on the book's back cover -- is also the author of Jews in Poland: A Documentary History (Hippocrene Books,1997) and Polish-English dictionaries. This most recent book, Poland: An Illustrated History, covers more than a thousand years of Polish history in fewer than three hundred pages. The result of Pogonowski's ambitious attempt is admirable. All major historical figures and events are mentioned. Political and social issues are aptly discussed, and cultural history is very much an integral part of the book. Overall, the book is written in a clear and concise way, which makes it easy for all audiences to read.

The book is divided into many short chapters, ranging from one to a few dozen pages. It also contains maps, timelines of Polish history, lists of Nobel Prize winners born in Poland, and an index of key figures and events mentioned throughout the book. A highlight of the book is the section on the Second
World War. Pogonowski's personal experience of the war no doubt enables him to narrate many events with a rare authenticity and authority. The book describes the Nazi invasion of 1939 in detail and discusses the effects of the German occupation on the press, art and literature. This section is narrated with precise dates and statistics, and the result is a gripping account of the war that commands the reader's attention.

To cover such an expansive period of history in so few pages, one must necessarily prioritize the most important information, sometimes at the expense of narrative coherence. In several instances, the book simply lists historical events as if they were self-explanatory. For example, Pogonowski writes "President Carter stated that his national security advisor would be Polish-born Dr. Zbigniew Brzeziński" (239), without discussing the significance or implications of such a choice. Whether this frequent lack of coherence is a result of space limitations is unclear, but one-sentence paragraphs and a lack of transitions are common throughout the book. Consequently, Pogonowski often leaves ideas and arguments underdeveloped and sometimes his paragraphs lack a logical flow.

The book provides a solid starting point for those seeking an introduction to Polish history, but it is not detailed enough for scholars to use as a reference. In contrast to existing accounts of Polish history, such as Norman Davies's God's Playground (Columbia UP, 1982), Pogonowski's book cites other works only sporadically and has no bibliography. Furthermore, the author sometimes abandons the historian's ideal of objectivity and strays into subjectivity. For example, we see the phrase "parasitic growth of Prussia at Poland's expense" by the map of the 1795 partition (147). Pogonowski's diction sometimes reveals a pro-Poland bias and his desire to portray Poland as a victim. This is especially apparent in the book's conclusion, where he states, "Poland is here to stay, judging by the performance of Polish culture which is of considerable importance to Europe, flourishing as it does in the physical center of the European continent" (253).

The book rightfully claims to be an illustrated history, as it contains facsimiles of numerous paintings and photographs. Additionally, many charts and maps are reprinted from Pogonowski's earlier book, Poland: A Historical Atlas (Hippocrene Books, 1987). They are convenient and show the author's meticulous work, though the charts tend to include details that can distract from the main issue. For example, the map of the final partition in 1795 includes information of the Polish gentry's rise and fall, and on how the Polish Commonwealth had the greatest freedom in Europe (147). The book concludes with a list of "Nobel Prize Winners Born in Poland" and a "Chronology of Poland's History." Helpful though they are, the lists are also at times misleading. Nobel Laureate Czesław Miłosz, for instance, was born in modern-day Lithuania -- then part of the Russian empire -- not in Poland.

The book would have benefited from better editing, which would have caught such errors as the misdating of Stanisław Wyspiański's life (it is dated in a caption 1846-1916, rather than the correct 1869-1907 (189)) and the Seven Years War (printed as 1758-1763 instead of 1756-1763 (122)). Furthermore, Polish diacritics are often misprinted: Łódź as Łódż (230, 238), Pożegnanie as Poźegnanie (136), Jędrzej as Jedrzej (197), and Przegląd as Przeglad (184). The book is also not free of typographical errors: Gdańsk as "Gdański" (237) and Balloon as "Baloon" (208) are just two examples.

Overall, it would be most appropriate to treat this book as a starting point rather than an authoritative source of information about Polish history. Even though it has shortcomings, it is ideal for those with little to no knowledge of the subject matter. It is easy to read, and the graphs and maps certainly make the fact-filled narrative more interesting. Finally, this book makes a strong case for anyone who has doubts about Poland's significance in Europe.

Tony H. Lin, University of California, Berkeley
14 lipiec 2010

przysłał ICP 




1. The presentation by Mr ICP himself such a critical review of his own work shows his integrity and professionalism.
2. While right at pointing material and editing errors (noticeble in other ICP' works as well), the critic failed to focus on the unique approach of ICP in such essential areas as role of Jews in Polish history or exposing antiPolish slanders and stereotypes so common in the USA. The latter makes ICP vulnerable to groundless accusations of bias.
3. The area covered in the book is so extensive that some simplifications are unavoidable. Moreover, the book isn't addressed to leading scholars, but rather to well educated US citizens. They may be well educated by US standards, but... Mr ICP is aware of their shortcomings.
4. Even though I was brough up as a Pole, I lost interest in Polish history long ago. Poland ceased to exist through a process of long gradual decay. It is a sad story that only few Poles share my opinions, therefore, I do not identify myself as a Pole anymore. Hence my opinion on the latest ICP's book is no partisan by any means.
5. The other mentioned book, Jews in Poland, seems to be much more intertesting from my point of view. Many predict the fall of American Empire coming soon. It's worthwhile to understand mentality of a small nation who had such a tremendous impact on rise and fall of several empires. In this regard, I would compare that book to 200 YEARS TOGETHER by Alexander Solzenitzin
I commented upon the book at the time of Alecander Solzenitzin's burial. No doubt Mr Tony H. Lin, University of California, Berkeley is aware that same Jewish milieus in the US declared 200 YEARS TOGETGER as the worst book whenever written by whomever. Worse than MEIN KAMPF by adollf Hitler or LENIN by Antoni Ferdynand Ossendowski.
Mr ICP may consolate himself that his book on Jews in Poland will be found slightly better by the same people...

tłumacz, wynarodowiony



Izrael, Indie i Pakistan Powinny Zrezygnowac z Broni Nuklearnej?
kwiecień 6, 2005
Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski
Tortury w Ramach Prywatyzacji Sil Okupacyjnych w Iraku
wrzesień 10, 2006
Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski
Sąd francuski skazał Roberta Faurissona za "kłamstwo oświęcimskie"
padziernik 9, 2006
Jednostka wszystkim?
padziernik 20, 2007
Remigiusz Okraska
Słowiański bazar
sierpień 28, 2007
nadesłał Marduk
Eskalacja na Bliskim Wschodzie i destabilizowanie świata?
styczeń 8, 2007
Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski
Jak Polak z Zydem
luty 15, 2007
Jerzy Malinski
Prawda czy fałsz? fakty sprawdzić każdy może..
wrzesień 20, 2005
Apel skazancow sowieckich - Polakow z Kazachstanu
listopad 13, 2006
W imieniu prezesa Zinkiewicza
Open Letter to Michael Jones and Israel Adam Shamir
lipiec 27, 2008
marzec 8, 2005
Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski
"M.Jurek prezydentem RP"?
kwiecień 25, 2007
Dariusz Kosiur
"Nie ma wątpliwości, terrorystów Al-Kaidy przetrzymywano i torturowano w Polsce"
czerwiec 22, 2008
lipiec 24, 2008
Marek Jastrząb
Dokąd zmierza prawo
marzec 17, 2007
Marek Olżyński
A więc po staremu
listopad 24, 2005
kwiecień 11, 2008
Marek Jastrząb
Odpolitycznianie prokuratury
luty 22, 2003
Jan Józef Lipski Ojciec Różowego Salonu
lipiec 11, 2006
Karol Górski
Prawda o nobliście
listopad 8, 2006
Aleksander Szumański


Fundacja Promocji Kultury
Copyright © 2002 - 2012 Polskie Niezależne Media