The Sarmatian Review

Books and Periodicals Received

A History of the Poles in America to 1908, Part III (Poles in the Eastern and Southern States), by Wacaw Kruszka. Edited with an introduction by James S. Pula. Translated by Krystyna Jankowski. Washington, DC. The Catholic University of America Press. 1998. viii + 394 pages. Hardcover.

We read with interest the part about Texas and other southern states. And then we exclaimed, where is the Index? A review to follow.

Inwentarz materialow do dziejow Kosciola Katolickiego w Archiwum wilenskiego gubernatora wojennego. Tom pierwszy Materialow do dziejow Kosciola Katolickiego w Rzeczypospolitej i w Rosji. (inventory of materials found in the archives of the Vilnius Military Governor and pertaining to the history of the Catholic Church in the Polish Respublica and in Russia). Edited by Marian Radwan. Lublin. Instytut Europy Srodkowo-Wschodniej Press. 1997. 279 pages. Index. ISBN 83-85854-23-1. Paper.

This mostly Russian-language inventory lists documents, letters, petitions, reports of arrests, secret police files etc. It covers the years of partitions of Poland starting with 1796, and it deals with the Vilnius area which at that time was predominantly Polish and Jewish rather than Lithuanian. The documents listed were written in the nineteenth century; a few come from the twentieth. The inventory is chronological, and an excellent index makes navigation easy. The documents listed are presently located in the Lithuanian State Historical Archives, Vilnius, Gerosios Vilties 10. The inventory of documents and other scholarly work was done in 1934 by a Polish Catholic priest, Bronisaw Ussas (1885-1977).

A great deal of this unique bibliography deals with the fate of the Roman Catholic clergy in the Russian Empire, expropriations of Catholic churches and their takeover by the Russian Orthodox Church, and the various Catholic religious orders in Poland-Lithuania. Another recurring theme is the attempted Russification of Poland and Lithuania. A fascinating inventory and a potential starting point for PhD dissertations on Polish and Lithuanian topics.

Inwentarz Materialow do dziejow Kosciola Katolickiego w minskich archiwach gubernatorskich. Tom drugi Materialow do dziejow Kosciola Katolickiego w Rzeczypospolitej i w Rosji. Edited by Marian Radwan. Lublin. Instytut Europy Srodkowo-Wschodniej Press. 1998. 261 pages. Index. Paper. Mostly in Russian.

The second volume of the series described above contains titles and brief descriptions of documents about deportations to Siberia, expropriations of Catholic clergy, monks and nuns, and the closing of Catholic churches in the Minsk area in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Anyone entertaining the illusions about religious tolerance in the tsarist empire would be quickly disabused by perusing this volume which lists several thousand cases of religious intolerance in the Minsk area alone.

Inwentarz Materialow do dziejow Kosciola Katolickiego w minskich archiwach grodzienskiego gubernatora cywilnego. Tom trzeci Materialow do dziejow Kosciola Katolickiego w Rzeczypospolitej i w Rosji. Edited by Marian Radwan. Lublin. Instytut Europy Srodkowo-Wschodniej Press. 1998. 182 pages. Index. Paper. Mostly in Russian.

The third volume of the above series lists documents in the archives of the Grodno [Hrodna] governorship dealing with the harrassment and persecution of Catholics under the tsars. Interestingly, the documents gathered here indicate that in the Grodno governorship at least, twice as many Eastern-rite Catholics became Roman Catholics as Catholics of either rite who converted to Russian Orthodoxy.

Od Unii Florenckiej do Unii Brzeskiej, by Oskar Halecki. Translated by Urszula Borkowska. Lublin. Instytut Europy Srodkowo-Wschodniej. 1998. 2 vols. 270 +345 pages. Index, bibliography. Paper. No price given. In Polish.

A Polish translation of Oskar Halecki's important work, From Florence to Brest, Archon Books 1968. Halecki's prose is vigorous, his learning stupendous, and his relevance undiminished after a generation of neglect. The edition was co-sponsored by the John Paul IIFoundation in Rome. The topic is ecumenical. It is a study of two attempts to reunite Western and Eastern Orthodox Christianity. The kind of book history buffs hunt for in old bookstores; hopefully, the present edition will find a resonance it deserves.

Fixing Russia's Banks: A Proposal for Growth, by Michael S. Bernstam and Alvin Rabushka. Stanford, CA. Hoover Institution Press. 1998. 114 pages. Index. Paper.

This concise book by two noted economists argues that Russia's banks are presently insolvent, and that the solution is twofold:first, allow foreign banks to enter the Russian market and freely compete with native banks; second, by a series of debt-for-equity swaps, allow foreign and domestic investors to acquire shares in Russia's banks, thus freeing them from government bondage. At present, banks are channels through which the Russian government distributes its largesse to favorite industries and enterprises. According to the authors, Russians hold $40 billion in cash. That amount of money could move the Russian economy forward if it were deposited in banks and used as loans to productive enterprises. But Russians distrust their banks and prefer to keep the money under mattresses.

These proposals assume that Russia is a normal country where decisions are taken with a view to improving the fate of the country's citizens in a peaceful way. However, if Russia is still ruled by those whose habits of thinking include 'empire above all,' or 'if someone wins, someone else has got to lose,' all such reasonable schemes in which everyone wins have no chance of being implemented. The optimistic scenario presented by Bernstam and Rabushka does however deserve wide dissemination.

Constitution and Reform in Eighteenth-Century Poland. Edited by Samuel Fiszman. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Polish Studies Center. 1997. xxix + 562 pages. Hardcover.

A collection of articles dealing with the May 3, 1791 Constitution. In spite of some excellent contributions such as that of Norman Davies, the volume is marred by static concentration on the letter of the constitution with too little analysis of why this worthwhile document remained a paper tiger.

Amerykanie z wyboru i inni, by Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm. Warszawa. Dom Ksiaki w Warszawie (Ksiegarnia, ul. Jasna 26, 00-056 Warszawa). 1998. 391 pages. Photographs. $20.00 air mail including postage (US checks accepted). In Polish.

Twenty-two interviews with famous and not-so-famous persons of Polish background (most of them living in America) by a prolific writer who has been dubbed 'a woman of success' by a reviewer in the Paris Kultura. The interviewees range from the generation that fought in World War II (Andrzej Pomian, Zofia Korbonska) to contemporary middle-aged and young Poles who can be dubbed 'persons of achievement.' Interesting fates and pleasant reading. The author's invariable sympathetic interest in her subjects is a model to follow. As has been frequently noted in reviews of her books, Ziolkowska-Boehm has a remarkable ability to abstain from hasty editorializing.

Other books received:

Polska i Europa w planach Stalina, by Richard C. Raack. Translated by Piotr Kosciski. Warsaw. Ksiaka i Wiedza. 1997. 263 pages. Index, bibliography. Paper. ZL.24.80. In Polish.

The Polish translation of Professor Raack's English language book, Stalin's Drive to the West, 1938-1945:The Origins of the Cold War published by Stanford University Press and reviewed in the SR (April 1997).

Polish Folk Embroidery, by Jadwiga Turska. New York and Warsaw. Hippocrene (171 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016) and REA. 1997. 336 pages. Numerous color photographs and illustrations, bibliography. Size: 11 3/8'' x 8 1/2''. Excellent paper. Hardcover. $75.00.

This is one of the prettiest and most original coffee table books we have seen in recent years. It shows works of art, and it is itself a work of art. The album consists of huge photographs of embroidery from the various towns and regions of Poland, including some exquisite tablecloths. There are also some folk costumes. This short review does not give justice to this unusual book. We are not usually enthusiastic about coffee table books, and books on folk themes leave us yawning. This one is an exception. It is well worth buying, and it would make a suitable gift.

The Story of Two Shtetls, Bransk and Ejszyszki: An Overview of Polish-Jewish Relations in Northeastern Poland during World War II, Part One, by Wojciech A. Wierzewski et al. Toronto-Chicago. The Polish Educational Foundation in North America (Polish Voice Publishing, 390 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M6R 2M9, Canada). 1998. 190 pages. Paper. $9.00 US (including surface mail postage, add $1.50 for air mail), $10.00 US overseas, $13.00 Canadian in Canada.

A collection of essays on Jews in Poland and in America by Wojciech A. Wierzewski, Sophia Miskiewicz, Joseph S. Kutrzeba, Man Elchanan, Zbigniew Romaniuk, Tamara Trojanowska, Danusha Goska, John Radzilowski and Mark Paul. The volume we received was defectively put together and the table of contents did not correspond to the actual text. If someone had attempted to discredit this edition, he/she could not have done a better job.

Magnetyczny punkt: wybrane wiersze i przekady [the magnetic point: selected poems and translations], by Ryszard Krynicki. Warszawa. Wydawnictwo CiS. 1996. 318 pages. Hardcover.

Krynicki is a bit sophomoric for our taste. A typical post-colonial writer who does not know he is post-colonial.

THE POLISH HERITAGE ART CALENDAR 1999, edited by Jacek Galazka. New York: Hippocrene 1998 ( $10.95.

This year's theme is the city of Krakow. Paintings by Wyspiaski, Matejko, Pankiewicz and Tetmajer are reproduced in this lovely wall calendar. A good gift idea.

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The Sarmatian Review
Last updated 09/24/98