BOOKS BOOKS and Periodicals Received

Poland's Holocaust: ethnic strife, collaboration with occupying forces and genocide in the Second Republic, 1918-1947, by Tadeusz Piotrowski. Jefferson, NC and London. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers (Box 611, Jefferson, NC 28640, <>. 1998. xiv + 437 pages. Tables, appendix, notes, bibliography, index. Hardcover. $55.00.
This is an impressive work that deserves careful scrutiny and wide dissemination. It clearly aspires to be a major work on the subject. The author has gathered a great deal of evidence about systematic and sometimes Byzantine attempts to destroy Poles and Poland undertaken by the Nazis and the Soviets, and the sporadic but exceedingly brutal attempts by Poland's minorities to kill and destroy persons of Polish nationality. Those who suffer from Polonophobia will not like this book. A longer review to follow.

"Appreciating and Enhancing the Polish Oasis: The Best of European Agriculture," by John Bacher and Metta Spencer. Small Farmer's Journal, Vol. 22, No. 1 (Winter 1998), 49-53.
We liked this text so much that we sent it off to an expert for evaluation. His opinion may be vastly different from that of the article's authors. Their 5,000-word text argues that Poland's small farmers, besieged by advice from international economic agencies and deprecated by Poland's intellectual establishment, are in fact doing almost everything right. Their small holdings are often organically fertilized by farm animal manure. Their land is not as severely damaged by pesticides as the collective farms in Russia or the large and subsidized farms in the United States and Western Europe. Unlike the managers of the mega-farms toward which the government policy directs them, Polish farmers treat every piece of land individually, they know it and appreciate its uniqueness. They are ripe for consciously organic farming, for the production of food that fills America's health food stores. Also, small farms alleviate unemployment in cities to which peasants generally trek when their small holdings are swallowed up by agricultural corporations oriented toward short-term profits.
This is not the first time that we have seen this argument made. It had previously been made in Tygodnik Solidarnoscand elsewhere. It is heartening to see it repeated in an American context.

Allied Wartime Diplomacy: A Pattern in Poland [1958], by Edward J. Rozek. Boulder, San Francisco and London. Westview Press. 1989. xxiv + 481pages. Index, bibliography, five appendices. Paper.
Originally published by John Wiley, this book details the political maneuvering of the Soviets whose goal was to push the Marxist revolution through Poland into western Europe. Mindful of their failure to do so in 1920, the Soviets decided to give Central Europe a breather while consolidating their grip on power within their own state. They signed the Treaty of Riga in 1921, thus repudiating the Curzon Line as the eastern boundary of Poland. In 1932, they further signed a nonagression treaty with Poland. But when the opportunity came for an alliance with Hitler, the Soviets 'silenced their criticism of fascism, rejected Western offers of alliance, and helped plunge Europe into World War II.' Having acquired half of Poland through the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, they staged a fake 'plebiscite' to consolidate their hold on power in western Ukraine and western Belarus. 'Using the protection of the Red Army, the Soviets made maximum use of the NKVD and local communists to arrest, deport, and murder local Polish patriots and... potential leaders of the opposition to Soviet rule.' After enlisting British and American support for their cause, the Soviets then broke relations with the Polish government-in-exile, enlisting their own puppets as the rulers of Poland.
Professor Rozek contends that the British objective to dominate western Europe made Churchill cede eastern Europe to the Soviets as a trade-off, while Americans watched with relatively little interest. He further contends that, once the Yalta accords were signed, there was no chance whatsoever for a return to democracy in east central Europe. Rozek sees history in moral terms, placing the blame for fifty years of Soviet colonialism in eastern Europe not just on Stalin but on Churchill and Roosevelt. He points out that the empty assurances of France and England in 1939 hurt rather than helped Poland, for they made the Polish government reject out of hand the possibility of yielding to German demands and ceding Gdansk and the Polish Corridor to Germany.
This is a well argued and passionate book, of the kind that one seldom sees in current historical literature. In the 1990s, scholars have tended to hide behind abstruse language, in the hope perhaps that it would obscure their own attempts at ideological advocacy. Yet we should heed Friedrich Nietzsche's warning that advocacy is inevitable in historical scholarship, and open advocacy is more desirable than a recondite one. In spite of the passage of years, Professor Rozek's book remains vibrant and alive.

Other Books Received:

Three Eras of Political Change in Eastern Europe, by Gale Stokes. New York-Oxford. Oxford University Press (198 Madison, NY 10016). 1997. xiii + 240 pages. Paper.
In this book, much attention is devoted to former Yugoslavia and to Poland, but the book also contains generalizations about the region. A review to follow.

General Anders and the Soldiers of the Second Polish Corps, by Harvey Sarner. Cathedral City, CA. Brunswick Press (P.O. Box 2244, Cathedral City, CA 92235). 1997. xviii+313 pages. Index. Photographs. Hardcover. $40.00.
Harvey Sarner seems to be one of those fine individuals whose lives are dedicated to giving exposure to the good news of history. In addition to this book about General Wladyslaw Anders, he also wrote a book about the rescuing of Albanian Jews from the Holocaust. A review to follow.

Historiografia krajow Europy srodkowowschodniej (tr. of "Historiography of the Countries of Eastern Europe," a 1992 issue of the American Historical Review devoted to Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria), edited with an introduction by Jerzy Kloczowski. Lublin. Instytut Europy Srodkowo-Wschodniej ( 1997. 213 pages. Paper. In Polish.
A translation of an entire issue of the American Historical Review published by a research center associated with the Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin. The book is obviously meant to popularize in Poland the standard views on East Central Europe in the American academia. Note the change in the title, however.

Polish Fables, by Ignacy Krasicki. Translated by Gerald T. Kapolka. A bilingual edition. New York. Hippocrene Books(<>). 1997. 105 pages. Hardcover. $19.95.
A collection of 65 versified fables by Bishop Ignacy Krasicki (1735-1801).

Dictionary of 1000 Polish Proverbs, edited by Miroslaw Lipinski. New York. Hippocrene Books. 1997. 130 pages. Paper. $11.95.
A bilingual dictionary of proverbs. If nothing else, it shows how many European (Christian? Indo-European?) sayings occur in many languages, sometimes being almost the calques of each other. A useful little volume. It will be of value in teaching Polish and in reflecting on Polish-related subjects.

Polish Folk Dances and Songs: a Step-by-Step Guide, by Ada Dziewanowska (assisted by Basia Dziewanowska, Jas Dziewanowski, Stas Kmiec, and Jacek Marek). New York. Hippocrene Books. 1997. 672 pages. Hardcover. Index, bibliography, numerous illustrations. $39.50.
Contains descriptions of various regional dances of Poland and some history. A painstakingly detailed work.

Podhale: A Companion Guide to the Polish Highlands, by Jan Gutt-Mostowy. New York. Hippocrene Books. 1997. 309 pages. Hardcover. $19.95.

Polish Wedding Customs and Traditions, by Sophie Hodorowicz Knab. New York. Hippocrene Books. 1997. 196 pages. Hardcover. $19.95.

Historical essays related to the Millennium of the City of Gdansk, 997-1997, edited by Stan Garczynski. Houston. The Polish Numismatic Association & Polish American Congress, Texas Division. 1997. Drawings, bibliography. 40 pages. Softcover. No price given.

Return to April 1998 Issue
The Sarmatian Review
Last updated 09/12/01