POLAND: Eagle in the East by William Woods

POLAND: Eagle in the East

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The People's Poland rates more than this hasty survey (Woods spent two months in 1967, two weeks in 1968) which is readable but analytically muddy. Starting with the near decimation of Poland during the Second World War, Woods mixes hearsay and historical generalization for a pseudo-documentation of those events, and then uses the same method along with data from interviews to depict Poland today. Woods, who has written six novels and one other travel book (A Yugoslav Adventure) was invited to Poland by the government: they offered freedom of travel if he would write an unbiased account. But the book is careful, hedging on every major issue. Poland is an agricultural country, ineptly pulling itself into the industrialized world; but then, Wood asks, how can farmers become factory workers without some hiatus destruction of efficiency. The Church, the Party, the farm, and the film-makers, all appear here. Woods points out that Poland is scared: hence it clings to the Soviet Union despite strong religious and nationalist tendencies. But the gutsy, dissolute, often desolate Poles elude Woods completely, though he does make it clear that Poland is in transition, while seemingly going nowhere.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1968
Publisher: Hill & Wang