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The Oxford History of Poland-Lithuania: Volume I: The Making of the Polish-Lithuanian Union, 1385-1569

Robert I. Frost (Burnett Fletcher Chair in History, Burnett Fletcher Chair in History, University of Aberdeen)



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Oxford University Press
15 April 2019
European history; Early history: c 500 to c 1450&1500; Medieval history; Regional government
The history of eastern European is dominated by the story of the rise of the Russian empire, yet Russia only emerged as a major power after 1700. For 300 years the greatest power in Eastern Europe was the union between the kingdom of Poland and the grand duchy of Lithuania, one of the longest-lasting political unions in European history. Yet because it ended in the late-eighteenth century in what are misleadingly termed the Partitions of Poland, it barely features in standard accounts of European history. The Making of the Polish-Lithuanian Union 1385-1569 tells the story of the formation of a consensual, decentralised, multinational, and religiously plural state built from below as much as above, that was founded by peaceful negotiation, not war and conquest. From its inception in 1385-6, a vision of political union was developed that proved attractive to Poles, Lithuanians, Ruthenians, and Germans, a union which was extended to include Prussia in the 1450s and Livonia in the 1560s. Despite the often bitter disagreements over the nature of the union, these were nevertheless overcome by a republican vision of a union of peoples in one political community of citizens under an elected monarch. Robert Frost challenges interpretations of the union informed by the idea that the emergence of the sovereign nation state represents the essence of political modernity, and presents the Polish-Lithuanian union as a case study of a composite state. The modern history of Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Belarus cannot be understood without an understanding of the legacy of the Polish-Lithuanian union. This volume is the first detailed study of the making of that union ever published in English.
By:   Robert I. Frost (Burnett Fletcher Chair in History Burnett Fletcher Chair in History University of Aberdeen)
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 155mm,  Spine: 33mm
Weight:   884g
ISBN:   9780198800200
ISBN 10:   0198800207
Series:   Oxford History of Early Modern Europe
Pages:   592
Publication Date:   15 April 2019
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
I: Towards Union II: Establishing the Union III: Crisis: 1422-1447 IV: Consolidation and Change V: Dynasty and Citizenship VI: Reform VII: Union Accomplished Bibliography Gazeteer

Robert Frost was educated at the universities of St Andrews, Cracow, and London. After teaching for eighteen years at King's College London, he moved in 2004 to the University of Aberdeen, where he currently holds the Burnett Fletcher Chair in History. He is interested in the history of eastern and northern Europe from the fourteenth to the nineteenth centuries. His principal research interests are in the history of Poland-Lithuania, and in the history of warfare in the early modern period.

Reviews for The Oxford History of Poland-Lithuania: Volume I: The Making of the Polish-Lithuanian Union, 1385-1569

This volume meticulously traces the history of the PolishLithuanian political relationship step by step, over two centuries. It is the first exhaustive narrative of these events in English ... a useful contribution to debates on the PolishLithuanian union, and it will bring those debates to a much wider audience, offering fresh perspectives for historians in central Europe to mull over ... This book is the fruit of considerable labour ... and will be read with interest across central and northern Europe. * Natalia Nowakowska, History * an attentive, balanced and scholarly account that engages with the many historiographical and political disputes in the discourse on the Polish-Lithuanian union without, however, giving in to the temptation of providing such politicized conclusions. * Jolanta Choinska-Mika, Parliaments, Estates and Representation * Such meticulous attention to the historiography of his subject is one of the great merits of Frost's work, in which he is nothing if not colorful and unflinching in his judgment of the often conflicting, confused, or biased interpretations of earlier historians ... By limiting hid attention in this first volume to just the years from Krevo to Lublin, Frost manages a far more focused, nuanced, and richly detailed treatment of political currents in this crucial formative period than Davies and earlier historians have been able to offer ... Professor Frost's work is poised to be the definitive treatment of Poland-Lithuania within the temporal and topical limitations that he has set for himself. * Jay Atkinson, The Sixteenth Century Journal * [Frost] gives us the opportunity to re-think many concepts of the union and its definition, and to overcome the narrow image created by national historiographies, reviving discussions of the union's assessment at a new level ... [it] arouses creative scientific thought and discussion, and provides a great impulse to search for new sources and continue research on the topic of the union. * Jurate Kiaupiene, Lithuanian Historical Studies * Robert Frost has written an outstanding book, as good as it is big - a major contribution to the history of the polity linked by the hyphen in its title, and to the history of early modern Europe. The book is a major benchmark in Frost's distinguished output addressing specific aspects of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth's history, situated in the broad context of its contemporary Europe ... Robert Frost's great achievement is to situate the Commonwealth of Lithuania and Poland at the highest level of thematic inquiry, analysis, and expository prose, fully in the company of the best work concerning comparable questions elsewhere in Europe. * Piotr Gorecki, The Medieval Review * This volume is an outstanding contribution to the history of east central Europe in the late medieval and the beginnings of the early modern period. Moreover, by his conceptualization of what a 'union' is in the context of political theory, and how the Polish-Lithuanian example fits into this, Frost make a nicely original contribution. Most importantly, his focus on a 'union' rather than a nation enables him to write with a refreshingly balanced and judicious outlook that contrasts sharply with the more passionately presented work by some but not all previous scholars. Finally, the text of this volume is written in a prose that is not just fluid, but often graceful and eloquent. * Professor Paul Knoll, Reviews in History * Volume one is a splendid achievement in its own right: the bar is now raised for its successor. It remains to note with satisfaction that the writing is measured and assured, and that Oxford University Press has produced the book to its usual high standards. * Richard Butterwick-Pawlikowski, Slavonic and East European Review * A huge and complex work which will certainly define the contours of this field for the next generation ... [Frost] has produced a work that will serve as a comprehensive history, but is, in fact, much more than that: a fiercely argued and superbly developed study of what it meant for Poland and Lithuania to join their political fortunes in the late Middle Ages. * Larry Wolff, Times Literary Supplement *

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