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Norman Davies - the Brit who loves Poland and becomes one of Us


Daniel U
12 Nov 2007 #91
Dear forum posters,

For an absolutely horrible set of fables and general assertions re the alleged contribution of Poland toward the Holocaust, I urge you all to read "In the Shadow of the Polish Eagle" by Leo Cooper (2000).

I have part read it and find the book appaling in an academic sense. If you think the line (paraphrased) "Poles were poisoned from an early age to hate the jews" is a bit far fetched, you will enjoy picking this book apart. The tragedy is it was written by a Dr from Melbourne University.

Please let me know if you need further info and I can provide my email address. I have just found this forum and I will likely join. Regards to all, Daniel
zetigrek
16 Aug 2010 #92
Thread attached on merging:
Norman Davies

What do you think about this author of history book about Poland?
andrei - | 25
16 Aug 2010 #93
He's probably the best Poland-specific historian writing in English.
zetigrek
16 Aug 2010 #94
I've just read very intresting biographic note about him and something which suprised me was this part of note:

Niektóre środowiska amerykańskich Żydów, nieprzychylnie nastawionych do Polski, patrzyły na niego nieco z ukosa po opublikowaniu Bożego igrzyska, w którym - ich zdaniem - Polaków przedstawiono w zbyt korzystnym świetle.

davies.pl/e_rjjs_tedyprzeszlinormanowie.php
Intresting...
Is he only an author respected in Poland or world-wide?
convex 20 | 3,978
16 Aug 2010 #95
What do you think about this author of history book about Poland?

Lots of whitewashing. Microcosm is great though.

Is he only an author respected in Poland or world-wide?

He is well known for people looking for English language history of Poland. But, that's kind of a small market..
sobieski 107 | 2,128
16 Aug 2010 #96
I have all his books...but I do not like him all too much. He is not objective and tends to "forget" things... If you read him, you would think Poland has never experienced antisemitism at all for example.

Also his book about the Uprising is very irritating in the way that he anglicized all the Polish names - and in the end devotes a very small part of a big book on the uprising itself.

His best book for me is Europe - A History.

I prefer Adam Zamoyski and Roger Moorhouse.

Microcosm is great though.

Yes Microcosm is very good - written together with Roger Moorhouse (who was his chief researcher)
convex 20 | 3,978
16 Aug 2010 #97
Roger Moorhouse

Can second that, grab Berlin at War, brand spanking new, good stuff.
andrei - | 25
16 Aug 2010 #98
I've just read very intresting biographic note about him and something which suprised me was this part of note:

For me the Polish-Jewish relations were always weird to say the least... the best what fits to them is this:
What was first: the chicken or the egg?
Turned into this:
What was first: the antisemitism or the antipolonism?

Both: Poles and the Jews are no saints to me IMO.
sobieski 107 | 2,128
16 Aug 2010 #99
Just checked it at Amazon. It could be a good addition to Anthony Beevor.

About Polish history, I can also recommend:
Bitter Glory - Poland and its faith 1918-1939 by Richard M. Watt.
Harry
16 Aug 2010 #100
Is he only an author respected in Poland or world-wide?

Poles love him. Worldwide he is far less respected and his approach to history is why he wasn't able to gain tenure at Stanford. He took Stanford to court about that "discrimination" and promptly saw the case tossed straight out by both the court of first instance and the appeals court.
zetigrek
16 Aug 2010 #101
So he is not reliable?
Harry
16 Aug 2010 #102
He's reliable in that his version of history is always the one that presents Poles in the best light.
David_18 68 | 982
16 Aug 2010 #103
Wow you should really become a Propaganda minister or something. I bet you would have been one of Goebbels favourite student ;)

You always got something negative to say about Poland and Pro polish people...
zetigrek
16 Aug 2010 #104
He's reliable in that his version of history is always the one that presents Poles in the best light.

so he presents half-truths, is it that what you mean?
MareGaea 29 | 2,752
16 Aug 2010 #105
Poles love him. Worldwide he is far less respected and his approach to history is why he wasn't able to gain tenure at Stanford. He took Stanford to court about that "discrimination" and promptly saw the case tossed straight out by both the court of first instance and the appeals court.

Second that. The main critisism towards Norman Davies is that he is one-sided, biased and, like sobieski said, he "forgets" things. He seems to write solely from a Polish perspective in that sense that it merely adds up to the glorification of Poland. If you want an objective view on Polish history, Norman Davies is not the historian you'd be looking for.

Wow you should really become a Propaganda minister or something. I bet you would have been one of Goebbels favourite student ;)

This is uncalled for. Harry merely writes down the main opinion of Davies within historian's circles. I know you can't stand any critisism, but you went a bit overboard there.

>^..^<

M-G (likes the Moorhouse suggestion)
Richfilth 6 | 415
16 Aug 2010 #106
I tried to read Rising '44, and couldn't get more than 50 pages in. The completely unprofessional labelling of Poland as "The First Ally", and the insistence on refering to the country by that moniker, immediately marked him out as biased.

With that dirty taste in my mouth, I could tell I was reading populist biased hogwash written purely to appease a market that had already made its own mind up about the Uprising.

I'd love to know more about Poland's history, but not from such blinkered fawning sops as Mr. Davies.
convex 20 | 3,978
16 Aug 2010 #107
You always got something negative to say about Poland and Pro polish people...

Some of us like our history without the tug jobs.

You always got something negative to say about Poland and Pro polish people...

So you think he's unbiased?
MareGaea 29 | 2,752
16 Aug 2010 #108
Adam Zamoyski

Can you recommend any works of him? Can't seem to remember having read anything from him. Does he write in English?

>^..^<

M-G (tiens)
David_18 68 | 982
16 Aug 2010 #109
Can you recommend any works of him? Can't seem to remember having read anything from him. Does he write in English?

adamzamoyski.com/books.htm
dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007
16 Aug 2010 #110
He wrote Gods Playground, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Interesting book. Yes he is well known in the UK too.
sobieski 107 | 2,128
16 Aug 2010 #111
Can you recommend any works of him? Can't seem to remember having read anything from him. Does he write in English?

MG, Zamoyski write primarily in English. I have most of his books. His latest one - Warsaw 1920 - is written as a thriller. The same goes for Moscow 1812.

He is - as his name shows - a scion of the great magnate family of the same name.

I hugely prefer his books over Norman Davies.
MareGaea 29 | 2,752
16 Aug 2010 #112
Ah, narrative history writing. Love that! Too many ppl think that history should be a dry recapitulation of even drier facts, dates and figures, but Braudel showed the world, and with him others, that it doesn't have to be that way. I for one whole-heartedly support this stream within (post-) modern history writing.

Sobieski, as a Flemish, I am sure you are familiar with the works of Midas Dekkers, the famous Dutch biologist. He writes entertaining books that yet teach you everything you need to know about certain animals hence making it accessible to ppl of all stature. To say that history should be written like that, is maybe a bit over the top, but it sure is one big step in the right direction. After all, history is about ppl and their deeds and imo it should be accessible to everyone, not only a handful. However, I have no objections to handbooks that give a general overview with all the dates, facts and figures, but in order to reach a wider public and generate interest in the field of knowledge, it's advisable to take the narrative path.

I read that Warsaw 1920 got great reviews, will check if my book-budget for this month has not been exhauted yet, else I will buy a copy next month.

>^..^<

M-G (tiens)
scottie1113 7 | 898
17 Aug 2010 #113
Poles charging tanks using sobers

This is a myth.

The completely unprofessional labelling of Poland as "The First Ally",

He explained that to my satisfaction. I have no heartburn with that term.

Also his book about the Uprising is very irritating in the way that he anglicized all the Polish names - and in the end devotes a very small part of a big book on the uprising itself.

Did you read his explanation of why he anglicized the names? And did you bother to read the Appendices? Didn't you understand that he was writing about events which preceeded and followed the uprising? Or would you have preferred a Cliff notes version: Poles fought Germans in Warsaw. Lots of people died. Germans won?

Enough from me on this subject.
poland_
17 Aug 2010 #114
I don't know much about his private live. Does he live in Poland? Is his wife Polish?

Yes he has a Polish wife and they live between Poland and the UK. Krakow is his base in Poland.
Olaf 6 | 956
17 Aug 2010 #115
Surely his writing is fascinating to read (the book about Europe especially). He is said to be the best foreign historian of Polish history.
But what did you mean by writing in the title "...becomes one of us"?
Harry
17 Aug 2010 #116
so he presents half-truths, is it that what you mean?

No, he is just somewhat selective in what he includes and what he leaves out.

The completely unprofessional labelling of Poland as "The First Ally", and the insistence on refering to the country by that moniker, immediately marked him out as biased.

That really stuck in my throat too. Apart from anything else, I can't actually remember Poland declaring war on Germany in support of Britain.
Sire Brenshar 1 | 61
17 Aug 2010 #117
The completely unprofessional labelling of Poland as "The First Ally", and the insistence on refering to the country by that moniker, immediately marked him out as biased.

That was confusing on Davies part, along with all the Anglicization of Polish names. I feel I can't name any Polish WW2 hero by their real name or not confusing it with someone elses anymore.
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
17 Aug 2010 #118
That really stuck in my throat too. Apart from anything else, I can't actually remember Poland declaring war on Germany in support of Britain.

If you would consider to pause and think a bit you would realize that he uses that term to denote the fact the Poland was the FIRST to fight the Germans. hence....
Olaf 6 | 956
17 Aug 2010 #119
I can't actually remember Poland declaring war on Germany in support of Britain.

WHAT? Wasn't Poland already for quite a long time at war with them before Britain actually made any move? The deal was if any of the countries gets attacked, the rest declare war on the attacker and help his ally. That actually did not happen and Poland fought on their own for initial period of time.
zetigrek
17 Aug 2010 #120
No, he is just somewhat selective in what he includes and what he leaves out.

we can say that about most of historicans, don't we?

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