Friday, 21 March 2008
I'm visiting Poland in a few days, and have been distracting myself from work by reading some Polish history. I know shamefully little, but with an ever growing Polish population in my own country (Ireland) it really is about time that I learned some more. I've just read A Concise History of Poland [ http://www.cambridge.org/uk/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=0521559170 should you wish to check to check it out], and was impressed by the span of what is a fairly short volume. I'm not a historian, and often find historical text books a little too meaty, but this account of Polish history was a pleasure to read. The study of Irish or English history is happily limited by geography - it is helpful to end one's study of a people where their island meets the sea. The Poles have a more fluid geographical past, with the 'nation' moving around and over the borders of many of today's existing states in the region. Writing their history cannot be an easy task. I'm going to squeeze as much of Heart of Europe: A Short History of Europe by Norman Davies [ http://www.normandavies.com/ ] in as I can before we leave on Monday. It's a heftier volume though, so I don't expect to be able to report much about it.