In this sweeping novel, James A. Michener chronicles eight tumultuous centuries as three Polish families live out their destinies. The Counts Lubonski, the petty nobles Bukowksi, and the peasants Buk are at some times fiercely united, at others tragically divided. With an inspiring tradition of resistance to brutal invaders, from the barbarians to the Nazis, and a heritage of pride that burns through eras of romantic passion and courageous solidarity, their common story reaches a breathtaking culmination in the historic showdown between the ruthless Communists and rebellious farmers of the modern age. Like the heroic land that is its subject, Poland teems with vivid events, unforgettable characters, and the unfolding drama of an entire nation. Praise for Poland "Engrossing . . . a page-turner in the grand Michener tradition."--The Washington Post "A Michener epic is far more than a bedtime reader, it's an experience. Poland is a monumental effort, a magnificent guide to a better understanding of the country's tribulations."--Chicago Tribune "Stunning . . . an unmatched overview of Polish history . . . The families themselves come very much alive, and through them, Poland itself."--USA Today "A titanic documentary novel."--The Wall Street Journal
These characters are barely even 2-dimensional; they speak nothing but stilted expositionese; they are not memorable or distinguishable from one another by anything even vaguely resembling personality; since I put it down a couple of weeks ago I struggle to name even one.
The style, such as it is, is confusing. Sometimes it behaves like a history book, sometimes it lectures you about politics or political philosophy, sometimes the 'characters' lecture each other, and at others it weirdly drops into theatre dialogue. It is clunky and so very hard to read.
The only thing I appreciated was the page or so of notes at the beginning that indicated which characters or events were fictional.
Frankly, POLAND isn't nearly as good as I remembered it being. Michener is a great storyteller, and he (and his librarian wife) certainly did their research to get the required historical, geographical, and cultural background. But some of the series of stories which comprise the book are schmaltzy and labored.
Maybe I shouldn't reread and Michener. But I will make an exception for his very early ADVENTURES IN PARADISE, the collection of stories that served as the framework of the musical SOUTH PACIFIC.
Complicated and historically accurate, Michener has managed to provide the history of the country of Poland through the lives of several families. The horrors of the Nazi control and concentration camps are told in gripping detail.
Another wonderful Michener book.
Characters were shallow and lifeless
All young people should read Poland and try to imagine whether they, should they live at that time, would be able to recognize two of the worst tyrannies ever right at their start.
What were those tyrannies? Read Poland and see. Are there any similar tyrannies forming up now?