In This Review

Policy and Politics in Contemporary Poland: Reform, Failure, Crisis
Policy and Politics in Contemporary Poland: Reform, Failure, Crisis
Edited by Jean Woodall
St. Martin's, 1982, 200 pp.
Polen-Das Ende der Erneuerung?: Gesellschart, Wirtschaft und Kultur im Wandel
Polen-Das Ende der Erneuerung?: Gesellschart, Wirtschaft und Kultur im Wandel
Edited by Alexander Uschakow
Beck, 1982, 276 pp.
Count-Down: The Polish Upheavals of 1956, 1968, 1970, 1976, 1980. . .
Count-Down: The Polish Upheavals of 1956, 1968, 1970, 1976, 1980. . .
By Jakub Karpinski
Karz-Cohl, 1982, 214 pp.
The Polish Ordeal: The View from Within
The Polish Ordeal: The View from Within
By Andrzej Szczypiorski
Croom Helm, 1982, 154 pp.
The Real Poland: An Anthology of National Self-Perception
The Real Poland: An Anthology of National Self-Perception
Edited by Alfred Bloch
Continuum, 1982, 201 pp.
The Poles
The Poles
By Stewart Steven
Macmillan, 1982, 417 pp.

The output of books on Poland going behind the headlines approaches flood proportions. Most of them, whether written by Poles or by foreign observers, assume a near total ignorance in the West about Poland and cover much of the same ground in giving the highlights of history since World War II as background for the extraordinary events of 1980-81. Completed before December 1981, these works reflect the hopes for "renewal" and greater freedom dashed, or postponed, by the imposition of martial law. The Woodall volume, well edited and well documented, is written for scholars by scholars now associated with British universities; it is especially good on the failures of the Gierek period and on the crisis within the Party. The Uschakow volume, a comparable book for German readers, includes a chapter by Stefan Kisielewski, a prominent Catholic intellectual and political figure still active in Poland. Karpinski (now teaching in America) and Szczypiorski (interned in Poland after December 1981) personally experienced the upheavals of recent years and describe them well, but both accounts end before the strikes of August 1980. Bloch, using a different method to convey the essence of Polish history and national character, opens with an extended essay of his own, then follows with excerpts from the works of Poland's great writers of the past. Steven, a British journalist, provides a rather light and anecdotal but nevertheless informed and perceptive first-hand picture of Polish politics and everyday life in the strained but heady atmosphere of 1981.