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Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 Paperback – September 5, 2006
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Remarkable... The writing is vivid; the coverage-of little countries as well as of great ones-is virtually superhuman. (Louis Menand, The New Yorker)
Judt treats the entire continent as a whole, providing equal coverage of social changes, economic forces, and cultural shifts in western and eastern Europe. He offers a county-by-county analysis of how each Eastern nation shed Communism and traces the rise of the European Union, looking at what it represents both economically and ideologically. Along with the dealings between European nations, he also covers Europe's conflicted relationship with the United States, which learned much different lessons from World War II than did Europe. In particular, he studies the success of the Marshall Plan and the way the West both appreciated and resented the help, for acceptance of it reminded them of their diminished place in the world. No impartial observer, Judt offers his judgments and opinions throughout the book in an attempt to instruct as well as inform. If a moral lesson is to come from World War II, Judt writes, "then it will have to be taught afresh with each passing generation. 'European Union' may be an answer to history, but it can never be a substitute." This book would be an excellent place to start that lesson. --Shawn Carkonen --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
Top Customer Reviews
I disagree with several criticisms levelled at the book in the following particulars. First, it is claimed that the book offers nothing new. That is true in the sense that what is reported it not new; however such an excellent overview is new.
Second, there are complaints about the lack of footnotes. On this I again say the book is an overview and not directed at specialists. Inclusion of anything approaching an academically adequate footnoting would have expanded the work to two or more volumes.
Third, it is claimed there are errors. Well, sure there are. Judt is writing about developments in 40+ nations which ranged from advanced to backward. However, given the volume of factual matter, there appear to be few errors.
Fourth, it is claimed that the book is too long. I disagree and believe that Judt did an excellent of job of editing down to get the book to the size it is. A reader who is not interested in some parts can skip them.
This is not a work for specialists who will likely criticize it as a popularization as they proceed to write their dry tomes no one but other specialists will ever read.
I grew up in the forties and fifties and spent most of 1961 to 1965 in West Germany in the military and as a foreigh exchange student. It was a delight to read Judt's research about those years and those that followed.
Judt deals very well with the major events (and often their social consequences) that propelled Europe along this pathway. The crucial role of the US, and in an ironic way, of the Soviet Union, helped to rescue Western Europe from post-WWII devastation and provided an international framework that demanded western european cooperation.Read more ›
Anthony Gottlieb has suggested in the ' New York Times' that the book tends to somewhat downplay the clouds hanging over the European future i.e. the demographic dearth,the rapid aging of the population, the relatively high - unemployment.
The work is a primarily positive look at present European development, especially the rapid growth and amalgamation of the past twenty years since the fall of the Soviet Empire.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Tony Judt rules! The book may be a bit too detailed at times, but gives an extraordinary account of how Europe looked like after WW II, and how we came to the Europe of national... Read morePublished 28 days ago by Rafal Andrzejewski
I am starting a trip to Europe next week. I am going to places I had never been before in what we used to call the Eastern block (Berlin, Prague, Budapest). Read morePublished 1 month ago by jzert
Everything that we have lived through, clearly explained.Published 2 months ago by Thilo Ullmann-Zahn
A fascinating and genuinely compelling look at the history of Europe after World War II. I'm reading it before my upcoming trip to Italy, and I have no doubt it will make what I... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Hope R.
Masterful summary of the last 50 years of European history.Published 4 months ago by Stephen B. Seidman