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For a taste of Polish fiction, try Nobel Prize winner Czeslaw Milosz's The Captive Mind or Jerzy Kosinski's The Painted Bird. The Polish-born US writer of Yiddish novels and short stories, Isaac Bashevis Singer, also won a Nobel Prize, and it's definitely worth dipping into the autobiographical In My Father's Court.Poland by James A Michener is a dramatised version of Polish history. It reads well and is solidly based on fact. Thomas Kenneally's Booker Prize winning Schindler's Ark was the basis of Spielberg's film Schindler's List. The Bronski House by Philip Marsden is an exquisite rendition of the family saga as national history novel. Anne Applebaum's Between East and West is a highly lauded fusion of travel writing and political history.God's Playground: a History of Poland by Norman Davies is one of the best accounts of Polish history. This two-volume beautifully readable work has at the same time a rare analytical depth, thus being a perfect key to understanding a thousand years of the Polish nation. The Heart of Europe: a Short History of Poland also by Norman Davies is a more condensed account, with a greater emphasis on the 20th century.Jews in Poland: A Documentary History by Iwo Cyprian Pogonowski provides a comprehensive record of half a millennium of Polish-Jewish relations in the country which, until WW II, was the major centre of Jewish culture in Europe. Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles under German Occupation 1939-1945 by Richard C Lukas is yet another carefully researched account of these cruel days.Turning to the more recent history, The Polish Revolution: Solidarity 1980-82 by Timothy Garton Ash, is probably the best insight into the Solidarity era.

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