Cover image for Warsaw
Crowley, David, 1966-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London : Reaktion, [2003]

Physical Description:
208 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DK4622 .C76 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Warsaw has an unenviable reputation in the minds of many: often invoked as the epitome of the brutal environment produced by Soviet aesthetics and planning, its name conjures up a grey, faceless world of tower blocks and Orwellian governmental buildings; its image -- perhaps more so than that of any other city in the former Soviet block -- inextricably tied to the fate of the Communist system. Warsaw appears to have been locked in the vice of history -- crushed by one totalitarian system, remade by another, only now being liberated by market forces. The history of this power play is only one of the stories that can be told about the life and environment of Warsaw; however, to those who live there or know the city well, Warsaw can be an exciting and stimulating place.

Avoiding the predictable pathways of conventional architectural and urban history writing, David Crowley reveals Warsaw's visual and urban cultural history through narrative and anecdote, telling stories of the everyday, albeit in extraordinary circumstances. Warsaw examines the ways in which the fabric of the city has been shaped by Communist ideology since the late 1940s, and shows how the city has been spectacularly transformed since the introduction of a market economy in 1989. It also reflects on the ways in which the citizens of Warsaw use and enrich their living areas and the city they inhabit. In Warsaw, the past runs deep, and buildings are marked by myths and curses. David Crowley acts as our guide through this scarred yet uplifting terrain.

Author Notes

David Crowley is Tutor in the History of Design at the Royal College of Art, London.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

This work pulls together the cultural and natural aspects of the capital of Poland, which has undergone tremendous change since the downfall of communism in 1989. Crowley, tutor in the history of design at the Royal College of Art, London, and author of National Style and the Nation-State: Design in Poland from the Vernacular Revival to the International Style, first traveled to Warsaw in the mid-1980s, when the scars of Communist architecture were ubiquitous. Almost two decades later, he is able to document the remarkable changes that this war-torn and often-oppressed city has undergone since that time. He takes a tour of the many historical monuments and buildings and also explores Warsaw's tourist appeal, focusing on facets of everyday life there, such as the lively markets and diverse neighborhoods. The text is accompanied by a comprehensive reference section and 60 photographs, many historic, but the book's user-friendliness would have been enhanced by an index. Part personal travelog, part historical account, this is recommended for large public libraries.-Melinda Stivers Leach, Precision Editorial Svcs., Wondervu, CO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 7
I Monuments in Ruinsp. 17
II Shops and Marketsp. 98
III At Home in the Cityp. 143
Conclusion: Whither Public Space?p. 182
Referencesp. 193
Acknowledgementsp. 207
Photographic Acknowledgementsp. 208