Poland: a history – Adam Zamoyski

I’ve decided that I need to know more about the history of Europe beyond the history of royal families and famous individuals and, since this book was already on the book shelves after my partner read it, this book seemed like a good place to start.

This wide ranging book covers Poland in all its geographical sizes, shapes and forms from the middle ages to the establishment of the Third Republic (what Poland currently looks like – ish).

It covers the ever changing geography of the country, including when it didn’t officially exist, the various nationalities who made up the Polish Commonwealth, how its culture developed and the part religion played in the nation’s evolution.

I loved finding out more about the country and how it was run. In some ways far in advance of other European nations, including England, and in other ways sowing the seeds of its own decline. I loved reading about the cosmopolitan nature of the country during the renaissance: how people travelled far and wide, including beyond Europe, bringing back ideas, art and new ways of doing things.

Reading this book also helped me to make sense of things I’ve seen and heard about whilst travelling round Poland.

The challenge of reading a book as far ranging as this one is trying to keep the lines of continuity in my head over the period I was read it. It must be said that I didn’t help myself by having another book on the go at the same time but…

I haven’t read a history like this before so I don’t really have anything to compare it to but, if you’re looking for a history book that’s a bit different and you’re interested in European history I’d recommend it.

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