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A Country in the Moon: Travels in Search of the Heart of Poland [Hardcover]

Michael Moran
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

May 15 2008

Honouring a deathbed pledge to his uncle, Michael Moran set out to travel the length and breadth of Poland in order to get an up-close perspective of the country. In this poignant and insightful account, he gives an insider’s view of a country set on a path of wrenching change while simultaneously confronting ghosts from the wartime and communist past. In chronicling the resurrection of the nation from war and the Holocaust, Moran paints a portrait of cities lost and gained, monumental castles, primeval forests, and picturesque landscape gardens among the finest yet least-known in Europe. This captivating journey into the heart of Poland is a timely and brilliant celebration of the return to the European fold of a valiant and richly cultured nation.


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Review

"Respectful and entertaining."  —Booklist


"Erudite, humbling and rhapsodic . . . No thinking traveller interested in Poland should overlook this essential book."  —The Guardian


"Literary travel writing at its best: elegiac, informative and profound probably the best travel book I will read this year."  —Wanderlust


"If you fancy elegant erudition, A Country in the Moon is a three-star feast."  —Time Out


"Moran is a sensitive, intelligent companion, as able to capture the rapacious spirit and chaotic conditions of modern Poland as he is the mournful, savage ghosts of its past. The result is moving and absorbing."  —Metro

About the Author

Michael Moran is the author of Beyond the Coral Sea, shortlisted for the Thomas Cook travel literature prize in 2004.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Many years had passed before I was able to keep that deathbed pledge to my uncle. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Finally, here is a readable introduction to contemporary Poland written by a Westerner in a balanced way. The plot weaves a story of author's experiences working as part of the western assistance effort in early 90-ties during the profound transformation years in the recent Polish history. Intertwined with that personal story is a wealth of little snippets of Polish history, culture and customs which all together provide a gentle introduction for anyone with interest in this highly under-promoted and fascinating country. The author gets away from tired cliches and paints a picture of a vibrant country and its amazing people that you will be inspired to get to know better. If you plan to travel to Poland, disregard some of grim images from early 90-ties as Poland of the 21st century is a much nicer place to visit than way back then! All in all, well done, Michael Moran!
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Country in the Moon Nov. 14 2008
By Barbara E. P. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is not a strictly travel book or travel guide. It is more than that.It is a travel through Poland's countryside, a travel through Polish history, through Polish architecture and sometimes through Polish soul.
Written mostly during the profound changes in Poland (1990 )it seems to be sometimes depressing.
Much is changed in Poland and I hope many after reading this book will be interested in travel to Poland. The author not only fell in love with a Polish woman but he also fell in love with Poland and Polish people. He now lives in Warsaw. The book ends on a very encouraging note as to the successes of the Polish nation on a way to better daily life of its inhabitants and to a bigger role that Poland plays now in the European Union and in to-days world.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Country in the Moon Jan. 30 2010
By J. Bem - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the best book about Poland I have ever read written by a foreigner. It is fair and objective and contains a wealth of information about Polish history both recent and ancient. It covers politics ,geography and economics of Poland after the fall of Communism.It describes the life of common people and the transformation of attitudes after shaking off the effects of almost forty five years of Communist oppression.
This book is a must read for anyone interested in Central and Eastern Europe.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, and a good sourcebook for further reading Dec 23 2012
By armchairsurferrmchair - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The author narrates several "tours" of Poland, such as a rally undertaken in his vintage Rolls Royce, to the backdrop of a dysfunctional business course
he is heading up in a dilapidated training centre which is a survivor of the pre-Solidarity Polish state.

There is a cast of comical characters (rather stereotypical but no less funny for that) and farcical situations arising from the clash of cultures and creaking adjustment of the Polish administrators and workers at the training centre to the new "market culture" they are now being exposed to.

This device lightens some of the dark passages about the Nazi and Soviet
attempts to eradicate Poland which have to infuse any account of modern Poland.

The book is very enjoyable and informative in its own way, and I found that I was discovering new knowledge in areas I was already familiar with.

En route, the author demonstrates a serious knowledge of architecture, classical music (and naturally, Chopin) and the complications of Polish history. There are also some fine descriptions of Polish landscape and urban vitality and decay, and many insights into the "cavalier" aspects of Polish character.

Throughout there are ample references to sources many of which I have personally noted for further reading.

The love affair and career events provide a good narrative drive to underpin the peregrinations of the author, but I found the affair's romantic castle fairytale conclusion with sleigh-bells-on, which is also the end of the book, an easy way of closing the covers.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm not Polish but like the book Sept. 5 2010
By M. Blom - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A Polish friend has read this book and says it is the funniest travel book ever. I bought my copy in English to read in preparation for an extended trip to Poland. It has a lot of history but I don't find it as funny as my Polish friend! I think for it to be very amusing you have to "have been there". The author has been there and does a very good job of explaining why he loves the country and the people.
5.0 out of 5 stars Polish History July 4 2013
By Teresa Pawlik - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was recommended by a friend. it does not disappoint. My husband has trouble reading fine print anymore so I downloaded it on my kindle and he is enjoying it. I gave the hard copy to friends to read.
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