THE PRIVATE POLAND - Review Excerpts

"Janine Wedel has explored the [Polish] society and presented her extremely interesting findings in vigorous and readable prose. Her book should be able to help many to understand what is going on in Poland, and it makes an extremely valuable contribution."

- Professor Ernest Gellner,
  University of Cambridge, Department of Social

"The Private Poland can be compared to Hedrick Smith's The Russians....she paints a fascinating picture of daily life..... Anecdotes peel away our one-dimensional view of a totalitarian state."

- Christian Science Monitor (read review)

"In spite of its engrossing readability this is a serious piece of research by a Berkeley-trained anthropologist who first visited Poland in 1977 and lived there from 1982 to 1986."

- Los Angeles Times (read review)

"She is devastatingly good in her analysis....She is adept, too, at describing the difference between the public and private lives that Poles live and the way they are forced to lie, cheat, connive and cut corners to get along."

- Chicago Tribune (read review)

"[The Private Poland] is written with a great deal of understanding of Polish historic, political and societal realities. With the help of well-chosen material, detailed analysis and empirical research, the author formulates conclusions of remarkable validity....a work of great intellectual value, not only for professionals, but also for the general public."

- Professor Jan Szczepanski,
  Former President, International Sociological

"A remarkable and all-too-rare view of the human dimensions of life behind the iron curtain....the book inevitably adds a great deal to our understanding of the social and cultural reality of those who live under its sway in Eastern Europe."

- San Francisco Chronicle (read review)

"The book is a brilliant account of contemporary Polish society, illustrated by many well chosen examples from the author's own firsthand experience. Probably it is one of the best publications on the topic."

- Osteuropa-Wirtschaft (read review)

"The Private Poland is in many ways one of the most important books written on the subject of communist societies. It presents a most valuable contribution to the understanding of the contradiction between the public face of Poland and, at the same time, the private life its citizens."

- Professor Maria Hirszowicz
  Department of Sociology, University of

"Wedel's study offers a rare perspective on the myriad collisions and collusions of the private and public worlds which comprise contemporary Poland."

- USIA, Addendum (read review)

"Wedel writes like an insider about Polish tenacity and instinct for survival, keys to their very existence."

- Los Angeles Times (read review)

"Janine Wedel renders a multi-layered portrait of Polish life... and opens to the Western reader, in unprecedented detail, the mix of principle and compromise, tradition and improvisation, the bending to necessity while continuing to defy it, which make up the texture of grassroots life in contemporary Poland."

- Professor Walter D. Connor
  Russian Research Center, Harvard University

"This is a sprightly, sensitive book that displays the intelligence of a young social anthropologist....Wedel takes a different tack, one that is unusual for someone who approached Polish society as a serious student. The result is a brief but engaging and accurate portrait."

- Chicago Tribune (read review)

"Her book is highly welcome. For far too long the study of east-central Europe has been dominated by sovietologists and political scientists who are only interested in formal structures and power elite relations."

- New Society

"The Private Poland is a genuine attempt to provide insight into the functioning of Polish society."

- Contemporary Sociology (read review)

"Janine Wedel looks at Polish life as though through the lens of a camera."

- International Affairs (read review)

"Poland emerges in this insightful and important book as a land of intense contradictions where, as one Pole remarked to the author, 'People are tired of trouble and struggle. They simply want peace. Such is life.'"

- San Francisco Chronicle (read review)

"Richly revealing anecdotes...convey the flavour and pattern of life in General Jaruzelski's Poland as she knew it, during and after martial law. A highlight of this unusual work is her admirable exposition of the ancient Polish art of 'how to get by', come hell or high water."

- Catholic Herald (read review)

"The Private Poland is a scandalous book - in the best sense of the word....yet, the not unkind."

- Telos

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