Slowo o Kisielu [Notes about Mr. Kisiel], by Jerzy Waldorff. Warsaw. Iskry. 1994. 132 pages. Numerous photographs. Notes. Hardcover. In Polish.
A lovely little book about Stefan Kisielewski (1911-1991), Poland's maverick writer, composer and soi-disant libertarian who managed to publish politically incorrect columns in Soviet-occupied Poland in the 1950s and '60s. He also published abroad under the pen name of Tomasz Stalinski. A very human and humane account of Kisielewski's private life and how it intersected with political events. Waldorff, who specializes in popular music, was Kisiel's friend and confidant. This is the kind of book that will be read even by people who do not read books.
The Accomplished Senator, by Laurence Grimald Gozliski. Tr. by W. Oldisworth [Venice 1568]. Introduction to the 1992 edition by Kenneth Thompson. Miami. The American Institute of Polish Culture. 1992. xxxii + 330 pages. Hardcover.
This beautifully printed quarto book is a verbatim reprint of the 1733 edition of a Treatise by a Senator of the First Polish Republic, Wawrzyniec Grzymala Goslicki (1530-1607), whose name was anglicized by the translator. The Treatise deals with matters of good statesmanship and it projects the image of a thoughtful, well-read, patriotic and accomplished man, somewhat in the tradition of The Federalist Papers. One of those fine books of the Polish Baroque whose recognition in Poland was thwarted by policies of the colonial empires that occupied Poland for a century. The accompanying economic hardship prevented frequent reprintings of books important for the maturing of the Polish civic consciousness. Gozliski's book is an example of parenetic literature, i.e., the literature that offers models of behavior for readers. The normative foundations of this treatise make it an excellent example of the Polish Baroque literature, as well as of the European Catholic literature.
Today, American university students and even Polish children in Poland are more familiar with the third-rate Russian writers than with the first-rate productions of the Polish Renaissance or Baroque. This is yet another area in which Poles have a lot of catching-up to do.
The Making of Eastern Europe, by Philip Longworth. New York. St. Martin's Press.  1994.xiv + 320 pages. Maps, index. Paperback.
Like Norman Davies, Longworth uses a 'going back' technique, starting with the present age and ending with eastern Europe's beginnings in the fourth century. His thesis is that the problems of this region were long in the making, and that the Soviet occupation was only partially responsible for these woes. True enough. There is much common sense in this book, although some of Longworth's views seem to be influenced by the hegemonic imperialism of Eastern Europe's neighbors.
Kultura literacka w Polsce XVI in XVII wieku [Polish Literary Culture in the 16th and 17th centuries], by Hanna Dziechcinska. Warsaw. Wydawnictwo Naukowe SEMPER. 1994. 127 pages. Index. Paper. In Polish.
An academic study of Polish parenetical literature, with some attention paid to panegyrical and entertainment works of the period. It concentrates on such literary problems as the writer's self-consciousness (as seen from a historicist perspective), genres, narrative techniques, and literary institution of the time.
Arcana: Dwumiesiecznik. Kultura, Historia, Polityka. [Arcana: Bimonthly. Culture, History, Politics.] Edited by Andrzej Nowak. Vol. I, No. 1 (January-February 1995). Kraków. Arcana Publishers.170 pages. Price: Zl. 5.00. Overseas suscription price per year: $60.00. In Polish.
Arcana is the continuation of Arka, a bimonthly taken over by a philosophically different editorial board, somewhat like Krakow's Tygodnik Powszechny in the 1950s. It is a periodical in the tradition of the Krakow historical school Stanczycy. The present issue includes articles by, among others, Jaroslaw Zadencki, Marian Miszalski, Leszek Dlugosz, Maciej Ilowiecki, Urszula Doroszewska, Leszek Elektorowicz, Jan Prokop, Jacek Trznadel, Bohdan Pociej, Jacek Bartyzel, and Andrzej Nowak. The journal strives to offer a conservative perspective on issues vital to Polish intellectual life.
Vengeance of the Swallows: Memoir of a Polish Family's Ordeal under Soviet Aggression, Ukrainian Ethnic Cleansing and Nazi Enslavement, and Their Emigration to America, by Tadeusz Piotrowski. Jefferson, N.C. and London. McFarland & Co. (Box 611, Jefferson, N.C. 28640) 1995. xviii + 263 pages. Index, numerous photographs, ample footnotes. Hardcover. $29.95.
Written by a university professor, this book ranks among the most eloquent and best documented memoirs of those who survived the double whammy of communism and nazism. During the ordeals before which words pale, the author lost his Christian faith. He preserved an excellent mind and that stubborn dedication which makes people write books. He says in the Preface: "I tell my sociology and anthropology students at the University of New Hampshire: 'Write, for when a person dies, a whole library is lost.'"
Christianity after Communism: Social, Political, and Cultural Struggle in Russia. Edited by Niels C. Nielsen, Jr. Boulder, CO. Westview Press, 1994. ix + 171 pages. Hardcover. $49.95.
A collection of twelve essays (born of a conference) presenting things religious in the Russian Federation from two points of view: that of the mainstream Protestant denominations in the United States, and that of the unabashed propagandists for Russia (rather than for Christianity), including the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Russian clerics still sing self-praises and present self-congratulatory images of the history of their Church in defiance of facts and scholarship. The lack of religious freedom in Russia is never discussed, indeed most writers do not seem to realize that this is a key issue in dealing with Russian religiosity. Virtually no attention is paid to the fact that, as befits a colonial empire, one in five of the present-day Russian Federation's people is not Russian. What is his or her religion? The point of view of non-Russian minorities is excluded in the same fashion in which the point of view of blacks used to be excluded from the descriptions of America in the early twentieth century. A pleasant exception is the contribution of Professor Janusz Ihnatowicz of the University of Saint Thomas in Houston. He speaks in muted tones of the much-suppressed Catholic Christianity in the Russian and Soviet empires.
Other Books & Periodicals Received:
March to Armageddon: The United States and the Nuclear Arms Race, 1939 to the Present, by Ronald E. Powaski. New York-Oxford. Oxford University Press. 1987. 300 pages. Index, Notes. Hardcover.
The author, a one-time college history teacher, records accurately and concisely the story of nuclear armaments in the United States.
The Summit Times: Central and Eastern European-American Journal. Vol. 3, No. 7 (Autumn 1994). 20 pages. Editor: Andrzej M. Salski. Subscription: $12/year. 116 The Alameda, Berkeley, CA 94707-2502.
Widows. Vol. 1: The Middle East, Asia and the Pacific. Vol. II: North America. Edited by Helena Znaniecka Lopata. Durham, N.C. Duke University Press. 1987. xiii + 258 pages; xii + 312 pages. Index, Notes. Paper.
The sociology of widowhood, a collection of papers by various researchers.
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