book review

  • Book review: Ludwik Habuda, “Decentralization vs. Centralization of Administration in the Structure of the Division of the Country” [Decentralizacja vs centralizacja administracji w strukturze zasadniczego terytorialnego podziału kraju], Wydawnictwo Adam Marszałek, Toruń 2009, pp. 373

    Professor Ludwik Habuda is a grand specialist in the field of broadly understood research on local and regional self-governments. €The value of his studies is even greater as he tackles with issues concerning not the current legal status of such bodies, but he tries to get to the core of the problem by concentrating on a more demanding topic – the key features of a decentralized and a centralized structure.

  • Book review: Jan Zielonka, “Europe as an Empire. Fresh Glance at the European Union”, The Polish Institute of International Affairs, Warsaw 2007, pp. 268

    Seemingly the European Union topic, globalisation and new international order issues have received enough attention, with scores of books published on the subject, innumerable conferences and seminars held, both in Poland as well as in countries all over the world, Western Europe in particular. Despite all that, many questions bothering academics and politicians remained unanswered, not to mention ordinary people in EU member states and countries aspiring to the Union membership. Still no one knows in what direction the changes should proceed, in relation to the European Union as well as the rest of the world, commonly referred to as globalisation or economic globalisation processes. We still do not know the future shape of Europe or the world. It is unknown to us what the new international order will look like, what main centres of power will develop, responsible for worldwide harmony, security, and peace. For that very reason the European Union idea, globalisation and integration processes have as many supporters as adversaries. What’s more, those who until recently were the enthusiasts of globalisation, are saying today, like the Noble laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz, that the way “in which globalisation is conducted, (…) should be thoroughly well-thought-out again”. At the same time we observe the renaissance of all kind of nationalisms and attempts to glorify the concept of an ethnic state, as a counterweight to commonwealth and above-national structures. It appears that the ideas that once united Europe, peace and prosperity, are not sufficient today. 

  • Book review: “Human Rights Under Domestic Law”, Agnieszka Florczak and Bartosz Bolechow (eds.), Wydawnictwo Adam Marszałek, Toruń 2006, pp. 157

    The work entitled “Human Rights Under Domestic Law”, edited by Agnieszka Florczak and Bartosz Bolechow is a joint publication devoted to broadly understood regulations regarding protection of freedom and human rights.The publication is a collection of six articles covering issues in the area of protection of freedom and human rights under domestic law in selected post-communist countries and in the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. €The book is addressed to students of law, political science, administration and sociology, as well as journalists, officials and all those who want to broaden their knowledge in the field of protection of human rights and freedoms.

  • Book review: Przemysław Grudziński, “Intelligent State: Poland in Search of an International Role”, Wydawnictwo Adam Marszałek, Toruń 2008, pp. 180

    The new book by an experienced historian and a diplomat Przemysław Grudzinski, who in this moment is the vice minister of Polish Foreign Affairs, is an interesting effort to answer the key question - what foreign policy is needed by Poles at the beginning of 21th century. The book can be divided into three main parts. First, the author, based on a theory of international relations and history, and his own diplomatic and scholarly experience, tries to find a solution for the Polish foreign policy. Secondly, the theoretical foundation shows the place of Poland in history and an international system since modern era until today. Thirdly, such an approach allows him to consider what kind of policy is needed for Warsaw today.

  • Book review: Paul Collier, “The Bottom Billion”, Oxford University Press, 2007

    Paul Collier’s recent publication: ”The Bottom Billion” tries to give an answer to the question stated on the cover: why are the poorest countries failing and what can be done about it? Collier points at fifty states claiming that the real problem lies there, affecting circa one billion of their population. The sources of the decline in living standards are identified in four groups: the trap of a conflict, natural resources – usually being a part of the problem, less frequently part of the solution, the problem of being landlocked by “bad neighbors” and last but not least – bad governance.

  • Book review: Jarosław J. Piątek, “Tactical Aspects of the Armed Struggle”, Toruń 2005

    In 2005 Adam Marszalek Publishing House published a pioneer book: Tactical Aspects of the Armed Struggle, which intended to be a briefing position about a not very well explored part of military history – the analysis of evolution of tactical factors influencing warriors and soldiers in the past historical époques.

  • Book review: “Local Government: A Politological Study”, ed. Joanna Marszałek–Kawa, Wydawnictwo Duet, Toruń 2007, pp. 262

    The history of local government on Polish territories is not shorter or less fascinating than in other European countries. However, political obstacles, military conflicts, changes in the statehood system or finally its loss caused that what wherever else is the basis for further development of local democracy in Poland has to be built from the start. I mean here of course the long-lasting tradition of independent shaping and strengthening patterns, views and visions of local & regional self-governance, of which chance to fully develop Poland had not have. €The socio-political reality of today’s 3rd Republic is a dynamically evolving country, which due to the rapidness of that change demands strong support from its finest researchers and scientists.€ The goal set for them is to present a wide range of concepts that will allow to program the future direction of progress. €This way the necessary fundaments for Polish democracy at the regional and local level, and a tradition of discussion and sustainable development is born. In my opinion a good attempt to take part of the mentioned responsibility was the book edited by PhD Joanna Marszałek-Kawa from Univeristy of Nicolaus Copernicus in Torun, Poland.

  • Book review: P. Ebigg, R. Fiedler, A. Wejkszner, S. Wojciechowski, “The Lexicon of Contemporary Terrorist Organizations”, Institute of Political Science and Journalism, Poznań 2007

    Terrorism is one of the greatest threats to contemporary civilization.  e incidents that take the form of terrorist attacks occur in the territories of many countries, and they diff er not only in motives and methods, but also in realization measures.  ese incidents continue to grow in numbers and escalate. In fact, terrorism paralyses huge masses of people and causes harm to the proper functioning of democratic countries, especially their economic, social and political institutions. Rich countries are as much aff ected by it as those plunged in economic crises. Because of globalization, terrorists may freely travel around the world unnoticed by the most advanced identifi cation systems. 

  • Book review: Bartłomiej Michalak, “Protes Parties in Western Europe. Analysis of Political Relevance” (Partie protestu w Europie Zachodniej. Analiza relewancji politycznej), Wydawnictwo Adam Marszałek, Toruń 2008, pp. 312

    Protes Parties in Western Europe. Analysis of Political Relevance by Bartłomiej Michalak is a book that deserves attention of wide range of readers, who are willing to deepen their knowledge concerning transformations of contemporary party systems. It is political parties that since nearly two centuries are a phenomenon of European political life. In other parts of the world they bring attention of not only researchers, but also of constantly growing social groups. Today, political life of any society is hard imaginable without parties, its coalitions, contentions and conflicts as well as almost constant presence of parties’ leaders and activists in everyday life of millions of citizens of big metropolis and distant provinces.

  • Book review: Michael Sandel, “The Case against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering”, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Massachusetts), London (England) 2007, pp. 162

    The most important task of contemporary science is to serve humanity. It seems that technology develops in two different ways. On the one hand technology does everything to make human’s life carefree, easy and safe. But on the other scientists do their best to solve most pressing problems so that people could once and for all forget about troubles like AIDS, cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. Until tody technical progress was followed by the progress of the humanity but it seems that contemporary hi-technology left behind moral reflections of people. Michael Sandel’s book e Case against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering is a moral reflection on those problems accompanied by technological changes. It is an attempt to establish a border that cannot be crossed – on its one side human being is still a human being but on the other one it is just an artifi- cially stimulated machine.

  • Book review: “The US Foreign Policy After the Cold War”, (ed.) J. Zając, Wydawnictwo Adam Marszałek, Toruń 2006, pp. 225

    The world unrivaled position of the United States, a country which determines many aspects of global policy, attracts a lot of interest as regards underlying objectives for US decisions in the field of external relations. The consequence with which the US acts on the international arena raises questions concerning objectives of the US activity and goals they would like to achieve. e American foreign policy provides basis for establishing national foreign policies for several countries, including Poland. us, interest is growing concerning the policy, as well as its nature, directions and priorities. 

  • Book review: Marek Szulakiewicz, “Dialogue and Metaphysics. In Search for the New First Philosophy”, Wydawnictwo Adam Marszałek, Toruń 2006, pp. 288

    A serious disease of the contemporary world is a state of “the loss of being”. We started to see redundance of metaphysics as a result of reduction of reality to a physical dimension that had been made by positivism. There was no place for scientific discipline which subject had undergone destruction. Being was reduced to objects, to objectivity, to things which only appear to man. “is way we have lost the being, only objects have stayed, things which surrounded us (…) e true existence is confront with material existence.” The same vision of contemporary situation can be found among representatives of the “end of philosophy” discourse such as J.-F. Lyotard, G. Vattimo, O. Marquardt, R. Rorty, P. Laslett. 

  • Book review: “Peace and Antiterrorist Operations in Process of Maintenance of International Security in Years 1948–2004”, (ed.) Dariusz S. Kozerawski, Wydawnictwo Adam Marszałek, Toruń 2006, pp. 250

    After the Second World War European countries experienced a period of stability in terms of international situation. Governments of war-damaged states undertook reconstruction of devastated cities and national economies. Considerable war damage caused by War World II resulted in the onset of a period of counteracting possible international disputes. The establishment of the UN as well as NATO initiated the process of resolving conflicts in a diplomatic way and with the use of force of the UN.

  • Book review: Michał Kosman, “United Germany and the Process of European Integration (1990–2002)”, Wydawnictwo Adam Marszałek, Toruń 2004, pp. 205

    Michał Kosman’s book is worth attention not just in the context of the ongoing discussions regarding deteriorating Polish-German relations. It deserves to be read for a number of reasons – in order to verify widespread opinions on the role of Germany in European politics in the final decade of the twentieth century. €The most important of these reasons are: high competence of the young researcher (affiliated with universities in Bydgoszcz and Poznań), his balanced opinions and comments formulated on the basis of Germanlanguage publications and magazine articles, and thorough factographical presentation.

  • Book review: Wojciech Peszyński, “First Elections to the European Parliament in Poland” (Pierwsze wybory do Parlamentu Europejskiego w Polsce), Wydawnictwo Adam Marszałek, Toruń 2007, pp. 147

    Political scientists, in their research work, concentrate on various topics. For some, thoughts and ideas of a famous statesman are fascinating and for others is the future influence of NGO’s on local communities. One thing, one time is said to have enough potential to unite attention of most of political scientists, as this is an event when they may observe how matters that they are especially interested in are apprehended. is mentioned event is, in my opinion, what elections indeed are and some may even say that elections are the festival of politics and sometimes of democracy.

  • Book Review: Marceli Kosman, “United Germany and the Process of European Integration (1990–2002)”. Adam Marszałek Publishing House, Toruń 2004, pp. 205

    Michał Kosman’s book is worthy of attention not just within the context of the ongoing discussions regarding deteriorating Polish-German relations. It deserves to be read for a number of reasons, in order to verify widespread opinions on the role of Germany in European politics in the final decade of the twentieth century. The most important of these reasons are: high competence of the young researcher (affiliated with universities in Bydgoszcz and Poznań), his balanced opinions and comments formulated on the basis of German-language publications and magazine articles, and thorough factographical presentation.

  • Book Review: “The Faces of Terrorism”, edited by Sebastian Wojciechowski, Institute of Political Science and Journalism at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland 2006, pp. 216

    Terrorism in a contemoprary world plays a vital role. It becomes more and more dangerous due to technical development and access to information on terrorist means and methods allows better communication between terrorist groups. Contemporary political terrorism characterises variety and diffi culty far more developed now then centuries ago. Terrorists are able to interfere into politics of diff erent countries, using terrorism actions to achieve particular goals. €The increase of confl icts and tensions on ethics, religion, ideology or sociolology made it possible for terrorism to appear in new forms and become a solution for current global issues.

  • “Governmental Elites of the Third Republic of Poland. Sociological Portrait”

    €The reviewed position is a novelty on the publishing market in Poland. It was written as a report based on a scientific research run by Sociology of Politics Panel of the Insitute of Sociology of the University of Warsaw directed by Jacek Raciborski. €The reading matter of the book concerns an analysis Jerzy Buzek and Leszek Miller cabinets, which by the fact of a complete difference between the mentioned above makes it only more reading-worthty. €There should be doubt that the undertaken problem is a point of interest for political scientists and sociologists, however it does not make it any easier to study. One of the most significant problems, which authors did shed some light on, is a fact that their repsondents tend to stay silent on many cases.

  • Book Review: A publishing review of a work written by Arkadiusz Kawecki entitled “From a Plebiscite to Elections: Birth of a Democratic Party System of Regional Societies”, Adam Marszałek Publishing House, Toruń 2006, pp. 280

    Doctor Arkadiusz Kawecki is an employee of the Institute of Political Science and European Studies at the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Szczecin. His academic interest is focused on the problems connected with the formation of a democratic system in Poland, developing election processes, and the birth of local communities. In addition, he is concerned with German studies. The reviewed work is en endeavour to present the processes of birth and the following stages of the formation of voting attitudes and behaviours of local communities. It has been conducted taking into consideration the development in the former Szczecin district of political organizations, individual and collective examples of political activity, the process of election campaigns and the results of elections. The proceedings have been performed on the background of transformations and stages of democratization of public life in Poland, institutionalization of which took place as a result of another presidential, parliamentary, and local authority elections.

  • Book Review: A publishing review of a work edited by Maria Marczewska–Rytko entitled “Populism at the Turn of the 20th and 21st Century: A Panaceum or a Trap for Modern Societies”, Adam Marszałek Publishing House, Toruń 2006, pp. 250

    Recently on the publishing market there appeared an interesting work devoted to the issue of populism in the current politics. € is book defi nitely deserves special attention. First of all, it successfully fits in the bibliography so far, just to mention the work edited by Ryszard Markowski Populism and Democracy or a book by Joanna Dzwończyk entitled Populist Tendencies in a Post-Socialist Society. Secondly, the reviewed work presents the reader with a wider perspective.

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