The 5 Best Books to Read Before Visiting Poland

Before visiting a new country, many of us want to learn as much as we can about the destination.  Books are a fantastic source of knowledge about the history, culture and people of a place. We want to share our top choices with you.

5 Best Books to Read Before Visiting Poland

1. Shortcuts to Poland by Laura Klos Sokol

This is a book that we recently discovered while in the Warsaw airport and we really enjoyed!  The author is an American living in Poland, so the book is written for English-speakers to relate to.  This book, in a humorous and informative manner, explains the main differences between Americans and Poles.  Damian and I discussed the short stories and laughed the whole way through.


2. Poland by James A. Michener

You have probably heard about Michener from his lengthy historical fiction novels about different places around the world.  We definitely recommend his book Poland.  Though the length may seem daunting, don't let it intimidate you as it is very informative and engaging.  The book will take you through the stories of eight centuries in Poland ending in 1981.

3. A Memoir of the Warsaw Uprising by Miron Bialoszewski

The author of this book is a well known, Polish poet and novelist who gives an in-depth and provoking insight on the Polish Uprising in 1944 Warsaw.  His incredible writing skills will make you feel like a character in his story and leave you with a better understanding of World War II in Poland.  We recommend reading this book before visiting Warsaw and the Warsaw Uprising Museum.

4. The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

This book was inspired by the true story of Antonina Żabińska and her husband Jan Żabiński who were the directors of the Warsaw Zoo during German Occupation.  They both secretly sheltered many Jews who were able to escape from the Warsaw Ghetto.  It is an incredible story of bravery and was later adapted into an excellent film.

5. Vodka and Apple Juice by Jay Martin

This book from 2018, is written by an Australian woman who was living in Warsaw while her husband worked for the Australian Embassy.  It is a realistic and humorous account of her experience living in Poland and includes many comparative stories that individuals can relate to.

Bonus Book

Don’t think that Polish books are only about history.  In 2019, the Polish author, Olga Tokarczuk, won the Nobel Prize in Literature.  She is best known for her book Bieguni (Flights in English).

Do you have a favorite book about Poland? We would love to hear from you so please send us a message here!

Travel Tips

We are Damian and Elizabeth, a Polish-American couple, and we are excited to share Poland with you! We have traveled around the world and seen many places but find ourselves most inspired by our home countries.

Start your trip around Poland.

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