Poland: Low Altitude

by James A. Michener

Random House; 556 pages; $17.95

"You can't go out and just whomp it up. You have to be prepared," says James A. Michener, by way of explaining how he produces his blockbuster historical novels. In preparing for Poland, his 31st book, he has applied the formula that served him well in previous novels about the 50th state (Hawaii), Palestine (The Source) and South Africa (The Covenant). True, he was not permitted to spend a year or two, as he usually does, at the site of his new novel, but...

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