The subject of this volume is the social and political history of East-Central Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, with particular emphasis on Polish society in the interwar period (1918-1939) and the role of the intelligentsia. These articles make available the results of work otherwise published only in the author's books in Polish. The first part deals with key themes in the history of the last two centuries - nationalism and the nation state, the role of culture in the recovery of Polish independence, the Versailles system, and the growth of authoritarianism and fascism. The second part focuses on the history of Polish society in the 20th century, highlighting the extraordinary importance of the intelligentsia in modern Poland. Two articles also discuss the impact of new technologies and media in interwar Poland.