Andrea BohlmanJan 26, 2021
Political Action and Music in Late Twentieth-Century Poland
Oxford University Press 2020
Musical Solidarities: Political Action and Music in Late Twentieth-Century Poland (Oxford University Press, 2020) by Andrea Bohlman is a study of the music of dissent and protest during the Solidarity Movement in 1980s Poland. This book is not simply a re-telling of significant events in the fight against state socialism or an examination of important political anthems (although she does this as well). Instead, she grounds her study in the media networks and material culture by which music circulated throughout Poland and internationally. Through close readings of clandestine and state-sponsored recordings augmented by archival research and interviews with participants, Bohlman analyzes the hymns, art and popular music that made up the repertory of the Solidarity Movement. She argues that sound both unified and splintered the Polish opposition. She considers how different kinds of music contributed to the civil resilience of a country suffering under martial law, while at the same time narrating the Solidarity Movement and amplifying the political messages of its leaders.
Kristen M. Turner is a lecturer in the music and honors departments at North Carolina State University. Her research centers on race and class in American popular entertainment at the turn of the twentieth century.