Pripet Marshes

Nature, knowledge, and politics in Polish Polesie until 1945
Author: Sławomir Łotysz
Publisher: Cracow: Universitas 2022
ISBN: 978-83-242-3867-5 (paperback), 978-83-242-3794-4 (hardcover)
ISBN e-book: 978-83-242-6646-3

572 pages


The Pripet Marshes, which belonged to Poland throughout the interwar period, are typically portrayed as being no different from the rest of the country. However, everything appeared to be unusual there: hay was gathered by men standing knee-deep in water, trade at the Pinsk market was done directly from boats, and the central part of the region used to change into an inland sea for many months of the year. Łotysz aimed to recreate the area’s interwar era by looking at it from an environmental point of view. As he explains, Polish efforts to drain the marshes were crucial in the state’s policy toward the eastern territories because only the draining of the marshes opened this vast land to colonization and, subsequently, polonization.

Table of Contents (in Polish): PDF

prepublication reviews

“Although it is a scholarly work, it is written in vivid and rich essayistic language, drawing the reader in from the first page and making it a passionate read to the end”.
Professor Anna Engelking, Institute of Slavic Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw

“This is the first monograph on the history of the Second Polish Republic written with an environmental perspective in mind, demonstrating the ecological dimension of key debates concerning this period in Polish history.”.
Professor Adam Izdebski, Institute of History, Jagiellonian University, Cracow

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Łotysz, Sławomir. Pińskie błota. Natura, wiedza i polityka na polskim Polesiu do 1945 roku. Cracow: Universitas 2022.

This research was funded by the National Science Centre, Poland, under grant number 2015/19/B/HS3/03553 [read more].