Dodaj artykuł  


Inne artykuły

Magiczna Moc Wielkiej Nocy, czyli emanujące z Ciemności Światło 
23 kwiecień 2011      Marek Głogoczowski
Wołyń 1943  
11 lipiec 2013     
Sędziowskie szambo 
30 listopad 2017      Artur Łoboda
Obama ubiega się o drugą kadencję  
30 styczeń 2010      Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski
Afgańczycy popierają okupację USA 
12 styczeń 2010      tłumacz
W Bogu nadzieja. 
23 grudzień 2011      Bogusław
Kowalski zabił? Zabierzmy broń wszystkim! 
29 wrzesień 2014
Biografie odtajnione 
14 luty 2016      Artur Łoboda
Viva Legia!!! 
19 padziernik 2016      Artur Łoboda
Wniosek o pomnik dla Adolfa Hitlera ! 
19 sierpień 2010      Zygmunt Jan Prusiński
Bramy Valhalli - na motywach Święta Rękawki 2011.  
24 kwiecień 2012     
2009.06.08. Serwis wiadomości bez cenzury ze świata  
8 czerwiec 2009      tłumacz
Pierwsze uwagi na temat wyborów 
11 maj 2015      Artur Łoboda
Zanim wpuszczą Cyklon B 
17 marzec 2017      Artur Łoboda
Historia Prawdziwa Aresztów Leszka Szlachcica 
29 marzec 2015      Dr.inz. Jan Czekajewski
Czy Michał Szpak to reprezentant kobiet? 
7 marzec 2016      Artur Łoboda
Nowe hasła - starzy oszuści 
27 kwiecień 2017      Artur Łoboda
Krakowiak i Krakusi 
6 grudzień 2012      Artur Łoboda
Stanowcze - nie dla kłamstw! 
10 luty 2014      Artur Łoboda
Tonący brzytwy się chwyta 
3 maj 2012      Artur Łoboda


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



Posłowie sami chcą badać sprawę "łapówki Rywina"
styczeń 7, 2003
styczeń 27, 2005
Jan Lucjan Wyciślak
Czas na recesję w USA
sierpień 8, 2005
Książka pod choinkę
grudzień 25, 2006
Sowieci - w Norymberdze - żądali postawienia Niemców przed sądem za zbrodnię katyńską. A Bush ....?
luty 2, 2004
Zamach Stanu w Polsce
wrzesień 27, 2006
To Twoja kolejna "lektura obowiązkowa"
grudzień 31, 2006
Oliwa wypływa
listopad 26, 2007
Najmądrzejszy naród na świecie
czerwiec 26, 2008
Artur Łoboda
Nie ma nic za darmo
maj 1, 2003
Andrzej Kumor
Uczcie się obcych kultur
grudzień 20, 2006
Artur Łoboda
Skutki Napadu USA na Irak
luty 13, 2008
Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski
"Mnożenie dobra"
grudzień 1, 2006
Artur Łoboda
Od Republiki Do Imperium i Troski Imperialne
marzec 29, 2005
Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski
Bo nie ginę
sierpień 5, 2003
Ewelina Igańska
Upadek czerwonego Casanovy
kwiecień 4, 2008
przesłał ( . )
Nowojorska rada przeciwko Autonomii
sierpień 16, 2002
AFERA rozporkowa w Polsce! Naprawde!
grudzień 4, 2006
Gotowa salwa odwetowa Iranu, 11,000 rakiet
padziernik 23, 2007
Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski
O. Rydzyk: Smutna rzecz się stała
kwiecień 14, 2007


Fundacja Promocji Kultury
Copyright © 2002 - 2012 Polskie Niezależne Media