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Poland in the Modern World: Beyond Martyrdom

ISBN: 978-1-4443-3219-3
390 pages
March 2014, Wiley-Blackwell
Poland in the Modern World: Beyond Martyrdom (1444332198) cover image

Poland in the Modern World presents a history of the country from the late nineteenth century to the present, incorporating new perspectives from social and cultural history and positioning it in a broad global context

  • Challenges traditional accounts Poland that tend to focus on national, political history, emphasizing the country's 'exceptionalism'.
  • Presents a lively, multi-dimensional story, balancing coverage of high politics with discussion of social, cultural and economic changes, and their effects on individuals’ daily lives.
  • Explores both the regional diversity within Poland and the country’s place within Europe and the wider world.
  • Provides a new interpretive framework for understanding key historical events in Poland’s modern history, including the experiences of World War II and the postwar communist era.
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List of Figures vi

Acknowledgments ix

Pronunciation Guide x

Introduction 1

1 Poles without Poland, 1795–1918 6

2 The Political Landscape at the Start of the 20th Century 43

3 Nation and/or Revolution, 1914–22 65

4 The Ambivalence of Democracy and Authority, 1922–39 90

5 Hyperinflation and Depression: The Interwar Period 105

6 Jews, Ukrainians, and Other Poles in the Interwar Period 126

7 World War II, 1939–45 144

8 Conquest or Revolution? 1945–56 186

9 The Year 1956 and the Rise of National Communism 231

10 Communism and Consumerism 258

11 The End of the PRL, 1976–89 285

12 Shock Therapy 328

13 Politics in the Third Republic 348

Index 367

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Brian Porter-Szücs is Professor of History at the University of Michigan, where he has taught since 1994. He is the author of Faith and Fatherland: Catholicism, Modernity, and Poland (2011) and When Nationalism Began to Hate: Imagining Modern Politics in Nineteenth-Century Poland (2000). He is also the co-editor, with Bruce Berglund, of Christianity and Modernity in Eastern Europe (2010).
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A remarkable achievement, Poland in the Modern World offers the stuff of real history. Instead of heroes and villains so often featured in national narratives, Porter-Szücs emphasizes the everyday lives of ordinary people in a global context, bringing the history of modern Poland down to earth in an easily accessible yet highly informative text.
Robert Blobaum, West Virginia University

By virtue of its avoidance of patriotic clichés, its comparative approach and the sophistication of its discussion of politics and economics, this comprehensive and well-written overview will be the first destination for all of us teaching the history of Poland in the modern era.
Antony Polonsky, Brandeis University

There's nothing remotely like this work out there. The approach is authoritative and enlightening yet in an interesting way "democratic". Poland in the Modern World reads very well and will serve as an excellent basis for classroom discussion.
John Connelly, University of California at Berkeley

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