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The Xenophobe's Guide to the Poles
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A polarized people. The Poles are either bubbling with life, or comatose; they love or they loathe. It is this total commitment to the occupation of the moment which earns them the reputation of being mercurial. As Hemar wrote in his song: "If only Poles did systematically and economically what they do spontaneously, they would be perfect." Necessity is the mother of invention. Key national characteristics are adaptability, a knack for improvisation, and the ability to make the best of what is available. A good Polish cook is one who can make gourmet soup from a rusty nail. The Polish touch. Devotion to style pervades all areas of life: the table might be rickety, but it is covered with a snowy tablecloth and decorated with a vase of flowers. Never say never. When the Communists rather foolishly tried to stop the Poles practicing their religion, the churches filled to overflowing. "Forbidden" is a term of encouragement to a Pole.
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About the Author

The Lipniackis arrived in Britain (via Siberia and Palestine) when Ewa was three. She was educated in a Polish convent boarding-school in Northamptonshire, and progressed to London University where she took a degree in Polish. In her late teens she was one of the first English Poles to set out to rediscover the real Poland, and found a vast family stretching from the Wol'omin Poles to the Poles of Cze?stochowa. She has been extending this network ever since. A naturalised Willesden Pole, she maintains close links with the Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Rugby and Galashiels Poles. Her home has become a central node on the Polish world trade routes linking the Warsaw, Krakow, Poznan' and Gdan'sk Poles with the New York, New Jersey, Toronto, Melbourne, Venezuela, South Africa and Patagonia Poles. Like bindweed, Polish roots are long and indestructible. A librarian by profession, she can be found most Saturdays at the Polish Library in Hammersmith. She has written several rarefied works on librarianship and a clutch of children's picture books - most of which are illustrated by her cousin, a Balham Pole.

Reviews

'A must for every Pole of any generation. I first read this book travelling by coach to Poland and I laughed and laughed all the way there. I laughed so much that I ached. I am sure people on the coach thought I was totally deranged. It was almost impossible to put the book down. So much of it reflected my own experiences.' -- Reviewer from UK 'Would you like a concise primer on the Polish psyche? On the way to Poland get the background material you need to understand the Polish people. Slightly irreverent but right to the point you get the entire picture of what makes this nation tick. Perfect for travelers to Poland.' -- Review from www.polartcenter.com 'A real gem. If you are an anglicised Pole, of Polish descent or just know a Polish person intimately this little book is a delightful read. It will make you smile, if not laugh out loud, with every page.' -- Review from 'a Pole in the UK' 'Humorous and enlightening. As an introduction to the Poles this is really useful. It has contributed to our market knowledge and helped to develop customer service strategies and new product development and branding for all of our staff. Superb series.' -- Reviewer from Cambridgeshire, UK

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