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Postwar

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960 pages


Europe in 1945 was prostrate. Much of the continent was devastated by war, mass slaughter, bombing and chaos. Large areas of Eastern Europe were falling under Soviet control, exchanging one despotism for another. Today, the Soviet Union is no more and the democracies of the European Union reach as far as the borders of Russia itself. Postwar tells the rich and complex story of how we got from there to here. It tells of Europe's recovery from the devastation; of the decline and fall of Soviet Communism and the rise of the EC and EU; of the end of Europe's empires; and of Europe's uneasy and changing relationships with the memory of the war and with the two great powers that bracket it, Russian and America. With clarity and economy, he tells of developments across the continent as a whole, as well as of the contrasting experiences of Eastern and Western Europe. Along the way, we learn of Greece's Civil War, of Scandinavian social democracy, the stresses of multilingual Belgium, the struggles of Northern Ireland and the Basque country. And this is a history of people as well as of peoples, Churchill and Mitterand, General Franco and General Jaruzelski, Silvio Berlusconi and Joseph Stalin. And Postwar also has cultural and social histories to tell: of French and Czech cinema, of the rise of the fridge and the decline of the public intellectual, of immigration and gastarbeiters, existentialism and punk rock, Monty Python and brutalist architecture. Running right up to the Iraq War and the election of Benedict XVI, Postwar makes sense of Europe's recent history and identity, of what Europe is and has been, in what can only be described as a masterpiece: Europe in our time.




It escapes from the stale paradigms of the Cold War, places the European Union in perspective, and has fresh and provocative things to say about every aspect that it touches. Times Literary Supplement, 'Books of the Year' Judt's brilliant study of Europe after the Second World War is unlikely to be surpassed... Tony Judt has written the standard reference work on European post-war history. Irish Times A masterly survey of how today's Europe rose from the ashes and exhaustion of 1945. New Statesman, 'Books of the Year' For me, the most impressive books of the year were two weighty historical tomes. Postwar, Tony Judt's magnificent history of Europe after The Second World War, covers vast tracts of ground with extraordinary skill, weaving together the stories of West and East in a single, compelling narrative. Evening Standard, 'Books of the Year' A superb work of synthesis, analysis and reflection. Times Literary Supplement, 'Books of the Year' With Postwar... Judt moves up into the ranks of the grand simplificateurs. He dares to expound the sum total of Europe since 1945 in a seamless narrative... This is history-writing with a human face, as well as with brainpower... It is most unlikely that Judt's achievement will be superseded soon. Guardian



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