When Adam Zamoyski first wrote his history of Poland, in the 1980s, the country was in a state of subjugation, its living culture largely surviving only underground or in exile. Although the election of Karol Wojty?a as Pope John Paul II and the dramatic rise of Solidarno?? had brought Poland into the world's consciousness, it was not until the collapse of the Soviet empire in 1989 that it returned to life as a political entity.No nation's history has been so distorted as that of Poland. In 1797 Russia, Prussia and Austria divided the country up among themselves, rewriting history to give the impression that Poland had never been a fully sovereign state, only a backwater that needed civilising. In fact the country they had wiped off the map had been one of the largest and most richly varied in Europe, embracing a wide variety of cultural and religious traditions, accommodated within one of the boldest constitutional experiments ever attempted. Its destruction initiated a series of struggles that culminated in the two world wars and the Cold War.Today, after the turmoil of the past two centuries, Poland has been restored to its rightful place as one of the most homogeneous and vigorous nations of Europe. Adam Zamoyski's full revision of his classic history is perfectly timed.