God's Playground

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God's Playground
Gods playground davies book cover.jpg
AuthorNorman Davies
CountryUnited States
SubjectHistory of Poland
PublisherColumbia University Press
Publication date

God's Playground: A History of Poland is a history book in two volumes written by Norman Davies, covering a 1000-year history of Poland. Volume 1: The origins to 1795, and Volume 2: 1795 to the present first appeared as the Oxford Clarendon Press publication in 1981 and have since been reprinted in 240 formats (2005),[1] and in 45 formats (2004) translated into Polish as Boże igrzysko : Historia Polski by Elżbieta Tabakowska (2 volumes in 1, with 1183 pages by Znak Publishers of Kraków).[2] Davies was inspired to the title by Jan Kochanowski's 1580s poem Boże igrzysko ("Mankind: Bauble of the Gods").

The book, which most editions split into two volumes, has received favourable reviews in the international press,[3] and is considered by many historians[4] and other scholars[5] to be one of the best English-language books on the subject of the history of Poland. The author received several Polish honours.

Selected editions[]

  • God's Playground, Columbia University Press, 1979
  • God's Playground, Oxford University Press, 1981, ISBN 0-19-822555-5 (vol. 1), ISBN 0-19-822592-X (vol. 2)
  • God's Playground, Columbia University Press, 1982, ISBN 0-231-05350-9 (vol. 1) and ISBN 0-231-05352-5 (vol. 2)
  • God's Playground, Columbia University Press, 1983
  • God's Playground, Oxford University Press, 1983, ISBN 0-19-821944-X (vol. 2)
  • God's Playground, Columbia University Press, 1984, ISBN 0-231-05351-7 (vol.1), ISBN 0-231-05353-3 (vol. 2)
  • God's Playground, Oxford University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-19-925339-0 (vol. 1) and ISBN 0-19-925340-4 (vol. 2)
  • God's Playground, Columbia University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-231-12817-7 (vol. 1), ISBN 0-231-12819-3 (vol. 2)
  • Boże igrzysko, bibuła edition in the 1980s
  • Boże igrzysko, ZNAK 1989, ISBN 83-7006-052-8
  • Boże igrzysko, ZNAK 1994, ISBN 83-7006-331-4
  • Boże igrzysko, ZNAK 1999
  • Boże igrzysko, ZNAK 2006, ISBN 83-240-0654-0


  1. ^ WorldCat.org (20 December 2017). Formats and Editions of God's Playground: A History of Poland. OCLC 416195288.
  2. ^ WorldCat.org (20 December 2017). Formats and Editions of Boże igrzysko: Historia Polski. OCLC 60569030.
  3. ^ Editorial reviews:
    "Superbly readable, rich in detail.... Davies understands and exquisitely conveys the importance of historical consciousness in Polish life.... This is beyond doubt not only the best book on Poland in the English language; it is the book on Poland. Anyone writing on Polish affairs- past or present- will have to read it. It is a masterly work. Davies is the foremost historian of modern Poland. Of his previous books, God's Playground: A History of Poland is widely regarded as a landmark account" – Carlo D'Este, New York Times Book Review [1]
    "...widely viewed as the best single-volume general history of Poland." – Richard Bernstein, The New York Times [2]
    "He offers one of the best histories of the country. It is a book that reads, not as non-fiction history, but as a popular novel of our times." – [3]
    "The magnificence of God's Playground is that Norman Davies has given us the music as well as the libretto, the passion, poetry, myth, and ancedote as well as the facts...Davies writes with spirit, and his enjoyment is infectious." – The Observer [4]
    "A yawning gap in Anglophone historical literature has now been filled.... Dr Davies writes interestingly and well. His moods vary between cool detachment, passionate involvement, and ironic comment. His range of sources is wide and imaginative...a very substantial achievement." – Times Literary Supplement [5]
  4. ^ "This is a remarkable book... this is a major work that is imaginative, thought-provoking and extremely well written".-- Piotr S. Wandycz, review in The American Historical Review, Vol. 88, No. 2 (Apr. 1983), pp. 436-437, JSTOR
    L. R. Lewitter, review in The Historical Journal, Vol. 26, No. 4 (Dec. 1983), pp. 1032-1034 JSTOR Archived 16 July 2012 at archive.today
    Anna M. Cienciala, review in the Slavic Review, Vol. 42, No. 3 (Autumn, 1983), pp. 510-512, JSTOR
  5. ^ "This two-volume book is a truly magnificent work, and there is no doubt that it is the best introduction available to the incredible imboglio of Polish history. I am not thinking only of its scholarly merit and its depth of insight. Nor only of the fact that the book reads extremely well, thanks to the author's vivid style, his wide spectrum of sources... and his good sense of humor.... What is even more worthy of recognition is that Professor Davies had managed to maintain an equilibrium between understanding and objectivity, sympathy and criticism." – Stanisław Barańczak, Polish literature lecturer at Harvard University [6]

External links[]

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