March 6, 2012

Book: Poland by James Michener

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 2:43 pm

Michener does as thorough a job of Poland as he did for Alaska (see earlier review of ‘Alaska by James A Michener‘). He uses the same technique of populating fictional characters and interweaving them with real ones to create the atmosphere and personalize the story for the reader.

This is a good book but the history of the land itself traverses the much covered European history, especially the Nazi
times, and thus, has less of a sparkle than Alaska, not due to any fault of the author or the country, but simply because the stories have been told so many times. So this really feels like like reading another perspective. Interesting, yes, definitely, and at the end of it all, I got a feeling of having lived through parts of it.

Poland has always been subjugated by foreign powers, and this book takes us through the history of the land, starting with the invasion by Tartars in the thirteenth century, followed by the Teutonic occupation and then the Viking occupation of Poland. Then it was occupied by the Ottoman empire. It was free for a few decades and then came the Nazi occupation, followed by the Communist rule. The story was written in the early eighties and so does not cover the final freedom of Poland in 1990 with the collapse of the Soviet Union, nor its integration into Europe via the EU.

A wonderful effort but since the material has been covered extensively before, only a 6/10



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