Poland Author:James A. Michener The tense opening chapter of this forceful and timely novel is set in the fall of 1981 in Bukowo, a small village on the Vistula River in southeast Poland. Here an important meeting has been called for a group of militant farmers, led by Janko Buk, to present their grievances and demands to the Minister of Agriculture, Szymon Bukowski, and othe... more »r Communist officials. When the farmers insist that the local Catholic bishop join the discussion, Warsaw orders a four-week adjournment. The final chapter is a continuation of the first.
The main body of the book, placed betwen these two contemporary scenes covers eight important periods of Polish history, from the thirteenth century to the present day= a succession of heroic efforts, sometimes victorious, often tragic, to repel invaders: Tatars, Germans, Swedes, Turks, Russians. By the end of the eighteeth century Poland had disappered fromt he map of Europe, having been completely asorbed by Germany, Austria and Russia, a condition that prevailed until the end of the first World War. By 1920, the newly independant nation was strong enough to turn back a Soviet drive which was intended to conquer all of Europe, but two decades of freedom came to an appalling end in September 1939 witht he Nazi and Soviet occupation, surpassing in brutality and viciousness even what had been eperienced in the Polish past - the atrocities committed in places like Lublin and Majdanek are heartbreakingly portrayed.« less