by Pawel Jasienica
Translated by Alexander T. Jordan
The fourth volume of Pawel Jasienica’s magnificent epos of Polish history, “Calamity of the Realm,” covers part of the 17th century and deals with a multitude of wars with Muscovy, Sweden, the Tartars, Cossacks, and Turks. It also describes the complex relations between Poland and France.
The dominant protagonist of the era was Jan III, one of the greatest kings in Poland’s history. He was first and foremost a brilliant commander, whose victories won him the popularity which brought him to the throne.
Jasienica describes in colorful detail the many campaigns of Jan Sobieski, in which he demonstrated a tactical skill that won him battles against enemies far stronger in numbers.