The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

Does the Dog Die? A Brief Review of A Traveller’s History of Poland, by John Radzilowski

It’s been a while since I last blogged — life events got in the way. But I’m back on track now and should be for a while.

If you want a thorough briefing in a country’s history, you really can’t go wrong with the Traveller’s History series. These books are about 250 – 300 pages long and provide an overview that has just enough depth that you feel you really learn something about the country. Plus, accompanying bibliographies allow you to pursue certain time periods or individual in more detail if your interest is piqued. I’ve previously read the books about England and Canada; I chose Poland because it got excellent reviews, unlike the history of Russia that I started off wanting.

I really like Radzilowski as an author. The rap on history books is that they’re often dry, but Radzilowski tells a smooth-flowing story, although I wouldn’t go so far as to call his writing “lively.” Still, he conveys a light humor when writing about King Wladyslaw I, whose nickname was “Elbow-High,” and you sense his outrage and horror when he’s writing about the Holocaust. Yet his emotions don’t distract from the story.

I also liked that the book has the right number of maps so that I felt like I knew what was going on with Poland’s ever-shifting boundaries. I came away from this book feeling that I’d learned a lot about a really interesting place that hadn’t registered in my consciousness all that much. A good learning experience should leave the student feeling privileged and excited, and while I don’t want to overstate the case, I did feel that way after finishing this book. If you are at all interested in Polish history, read this book — it’s a great starting point.

Now, the purpose of this blog is to alert animal lovers to books that feature scenes of animal abuse and the like. This is a history book. So there’s not a whole lot going on with animals, making the book SAFE for animal lovers. Read, learn, and enjoy!

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April 18, 2010 - Posted by | Book Reviews, history, nonfiction | , , ,

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