Critique

1040 Words5 Pages
Telling and retelling of history is not just stringing events into chronological order. Accurate historical narratives must include a critical analysis. Barbara Driscoll notes that From Lech to Lech: Polish History for Young Readers, is a history of Poland intended for Polish children and is a “very short and simplified form” of Poland’s history beginning with the legendary tale of Lech, Czech, and Rus to the Polish partitions, and beyond.1 Although this text is meant for children its historical narrative is too simplistic, Driscoll fails to convey how certain events in Polish history, like Copernicus’s discoveries and contributions, the Third of May Constitution, and the Polish partitions, are controversial, complicated, and what factors led to these events, and how they impacted future events. History does not happen in a vacuum and it is important to analyze, understand, and connect events no matter what the intended age of the reader is. Although, Driscoll’s description of historical events are not inaccurate, her telling of certain Polish historical events are too simplistic and fail to convey accurate and complete historical narratives. Another important event in Polish history is the Third of May Constitution of 1791. Driscoll correctly links the birth of this document to the first Polish Partition of 1772, she writes, “the [second] partition shocked the Poles into action. They redoubled their efforts at reforms.” 2 However, the partition is not the only factor that contributed to this constitution. Driscoll fails to connect the Third of May Constitution to the larger European Enlightenment that was happening in Poland. The King of Poland, Stanislaw Poniatowski, was highly influenced by enlightenment ideals and tr... ... middle of paper ... ...r many reasons, and many factors often contribute. Although the historical events in From Lech to Lech: Polish History for Young Readers are not incorrect, Driscoll's description fails to provide an account of the complex and divided social, economic, and cultural factors that are part the Polish historical narrative. Specifically her history of the Third of May Constitution and the Polish partitions are too simplistic. There is little to no analysis of differing of opinions, when it came to the constitutional reforms, and she fails to provide alternating view points from both the nobility and the peasantry during the partitions. This overly simplistic history of Poland and her people fails to effectively portray Polish history before 1795. This does not give the reader the opportunity to appreciate Poland’s long, complex, and difficult history during this time.
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