Intro

Welcome to Massolit Books & Café!

Massolit is an independent English-language bookstore, both used and new, located in Krakow's old town. We specialize in popular and academic books, most at significantly discounted prices. Browse on-line through our more than 20,000 titles, or better, visit us in person! We welcome customers to browse the shelves and read our books or periodicals in the café or in the furnished back rooms.


Featured titles

  • 9780307271648 Ghost on the Throne: The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire by Romm, James (A)

    Alexander the Great, perhaps the most commanding leader in history, united his empire and his army by the titanic force of his will. His death at the age of thirty-two spelled the end of that unity. The story of Alexander's conquest of the Persian empire is known to many readers, but the dramatic and consequential saga of the empire's collapse remains virtually untold. It is a tale of loss that begins with the greatest loss of all, the death of the Macedonian king who had held the empire together. With his demise, it was as if the sun had disappeared from the solar system, as if planets and moons began to spin crazily in new directions, crashing into one another with unimaginable force. Alexander bequeathed his power, legend has it, "to the strongest," leaving behind a mentally damaged half brother and a posthumously born son as his only heirs. In a strange compromise, "both" figures--Philip III and Alexander IV--were elevated to the kingship, quickly becoming prizes, pawns, fought over by a half-dozen Macedonian generals. Each successor could confer legitimacy on whichever general controlled him. At the book's center is the monarch's most vigorous defender; Alexander's former Greek secretary, now transformed into a general himself. He was a man both fascinating and entertaining, a man full of tricks and connivances, like the enthroned ghost of Alexander that gives the book its title, and becomes the determining factor in the precarious fortunes of the royal family. James Romm, brilliant classicist and storyteller, tells the galvanizing saga of the men who followed Alexander and found themselves incapable of preserving his empire. The result was the undoing of a world, formerly united in a single empire, now ripped apart into a nightmare of warring nation-states struggling for domination, the template of our own times.

    Read more Ghost on the Throne The Death of Alexander the Great and the War for Crown and Empire.

  • 9781400067893 Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch by Smith, Sally Bedell (A)

    In this magisterial new biography, "New York Times" bestselling author Sally Bedell Smith brings to life one of the world's most fascinating and enigmatic women: Queen Elizabeth II. From the moment of her ascension to the throne in 1952 at the age of twenty-five, Queen Elizabeth II has been the object of unparalleled scrutiny. But through the fog of glamour and gossip, how well do we really know the world's most famous monarch? Drawing on numerous interviews and never-before-revealed documents, acclaimed biographer Sally Bedell Smith pulls back the curtain to show in intimate detail the public and private lives of Queen Elizabeth II, who has led her country and Commonwealth through the wars and upheavals of the last sixty years with unparalleled composure, intelligence, and grace. In "Elizabeth the Queen, "we meet the young girl who suddenly becomes "heiress presumptive"when her uncle abdicates the throne. We meet the thirteen-year-old Lilibetas she falls in love with a young navy cadet named Philip and becomes determined to marry him, even though her parents prefer wealthier English aristocrats. We see the teenage Lilibet repairing army trucks during World War II and standing with Winston Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on V-E Day. We see the young Queen struggling to balance the demands of her job with her role as the mother of two young children. Sally Bedell Smith brings us inside the palace doors and into the Queen's daily routines--the "red boxes" of documents she reviews each day, the weekly meetings she has had with twelve prime ministers, her physically demanding tours abroad, and the constant scrutiny of the press--as well as her personal relationships: with Prince Philip, her husband of sixty-four years and the love of her life; her children and their often-disastrous marriages; her grandchildren and friends. Compulsively readable and scrupulously researched, "Elizabeth the Queen "is a close-up view of a woman we've known only from a distance, illuminating the lively personality, sense of humor, and canny intelligence with which she meets the most demanding work and family obligations. It is also a fascinating window into life at the center of the last great monarchy.

    Read more Elizabeth the Queen The Life of a Modern Monarch.

  • 9780307271730 Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom: China, the West, and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War by Platt, Stephen R. (A)

    A gripping account of China's nineteenth-century Taiping Rebellion, one of the largest civil wars in history. "Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom" brims with unforgettable characters and vivid re-creations of massive and often gruesome battles--a sweeping yet intimate portrait of the conflict that shaped the fate of modern China. The story begins in the early 1850s, the waning years of the Qing dynasty, when word spread of a major revolution brewing in the provinces, led by a failed civil servant who claimed to be the son of God and brother of Jesus. The Taiping rebels drew their power from the poor and the disenfranchised, unleashing the ethnic rage of millions of Chinese against their Manchu rulers. This homegrown movement seemed all but unstoppable until Britain and the United States stepped in and threw their support behind the Manchus: after years of massive carnage, all opposition to Qing rule was effectively snuffed out for generations. Stephen R. Platt recounts these events in spellbinding detail, building his story on two fascinating characters with opposing visions for China's future: the conservative Confucian scholar Zeng Guofan, an accidental general who emerged as the most influential military strategist in China's modern history; and Hong Rengan, a brilliant Taiping leader whose grand vision of building a modern, industrial, and pro-Western Chinese state ended in tragic failure. This is an essential and enthralling history of the rise and fall of the movement that, a century and a half ago, might have launched China on an entirely different path into the modern world.

    Read more Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom China, the West, and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War.

  • 9780375758973 Van Gogh: The Life by Naifeh, Steven (A)Smith, Gregory White (A)

    Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, who galvanized readers with their Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Jackson Pollock, have written another tour de force--an exquisitely detailed, compellingly readable portrait of Vincent van Gogh. Working with the full cooperation of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Naifeh and Smith have accessed a wealth of previously untapped materials to bring a crucial understanding to the larger-than-life mythology of this great artist: his early struggles to find his place in the world; his intense relationship with his brother Theo; and his move to Provence, where he painted some of the best-loved works in Western art. The authors also shed new light on many unexplored aspects of Van Gogh's inner world: his erratic and tumultuous romantic life; his bouts of depression and mental illness; and the cloudy circumstances surrounding his death at the age of thirty-seven. Though countless books have been written about Van Gogh, no serious, ambitious examination of his life has been attempted in more than seventy years. Naifeh and Smith have re-created Van Gogh's life with an astounding vividness and psychological acuity that bring a completely new and sympathetic understanding to this unique artistic genius. "NEW YORK TIMES "BESTSELLER Praise for "Van Gogh: The Life"

    Read more Van Gogh The Life.

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