Poland is celebrating the millenium of its existence this year. The modern Polish state, though, has existed only for the last fifty years. It was created on the ruins of three empires that divided the Polish kingdom among themselves in the 18th century. Hans Roos' book describes in substantial detail the involved internal and external developments during World War I that ultimately led to the establishment of the new Polish state under Pilsudski. Internal dissensions were tearing the democratic regime apart soon after its inception. Poland then was ruled by a more or less authoritarian form of government up to World War II, which began with Hitler's attack on Poland while Soviets were taking over the eastern territories. A separate chapter deals with wartime German occupation and eventual ""liberation"" into the people's democracy under Soviet hegemony. The final two chapters take up post-World War II Poland, first under the strict Stalinist regime within the Soviet bloc and then under the modified communist regime of Gomulka. Written by a German from a German point of view, the book is objective enough to recommend itself as a primer on modern Polish history. There is a good general bibliography for those who would like to inform themselves further.