The major dilemma this volume addresses is the function of national identity in a modern society, for despite the trend towards globalization, the world continues to be riddled with national conflict. Kloskowska begins by looking at the controversy between two competing concepts of the origin of the nation - political and ethnic, and examines in particular the characteristics of ethnic differences on personal identity and the appropriation of national culture. Her theories are based upon autobiographies by individuals belonging to various national minorities in Poland and other areas where ethnic borders are blurred. The group studied includes mostly young intellectuals from the Ukraine, Belaruss and Silesian-Germans. She examines the national attitudes of the various countries the ethnic minorities have been forced to live with. In conclusion, Kloskowska takes the view that national cultures are either `open' or `closed' and stresses the importance of participating in more than one cultural medium.