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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Probably not for the casual reader.
This book is clearly the work of a scholar in this subject as the depth of knowledge and research is considerable. Many interesting details are contained here about a period of history that doesn't seem to get talked about and as a person born in the early fifties I have often wondered what it must have been like in the aftermath of the war for those so savagely displaced...
Published 16 months ago by C. Hussey-Yeo

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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Long Road Home - Aftermath of the Second World War
Definitely a must read for anyone interested in World War two and its aftermath. The numbers are simply staggering. My only criticism is that there are virtually no personal accounts by people who experienced this period as refugees or displaced persons (DP's). The book is something of an educational textbook focusing on the organisations and politics behind of people...
Published on 2 Feb 2011 by G. A. Hanson


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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Long Road Home - Aftermath of the Second World War, 2 Feb 2011
Definitely a must read for anyone interested in World War two and its aftermath. The numbers are simply staggering. My only criticism is that there are virtually no personal accounts by people who experienced this period as refugees or displaced persons (DP's). The book is something of an educational textbook focusing on the organisations and politics behind of people uprooted by war.
I found reading the book a bit of a grind - having said that it gives an excellent insight into how post war events, population resettlement and the Cold War influenced the world we now live in.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Probably not for the casual reader., 26 Nov 2012
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C. Hussey-Yeo (Bristol UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Long Road Home: The Aftermath of the Second World War (Paperback)
This book is clearly the work of a scholar in this subject as the depth of knowledge and research is considerable. Many interesting details are contained here about a period of history that doesn't seem to get talked about and as a person born in the early fifties I have often wondered what it must have been like in the aftermath of the war for those so savagely displaced by it. This book more than satisfied my curiosity in that respect but the level of detail makes it a bit heavy-going at times and perhaps more of a book for the serious student rather than those with just a casual interest. Purely my opinion of course and certainly not intended as a criticism. I would urge you to read it and decide for yourself.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars After WW2 ended...., 12 Dec 2011
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This review is from: The Long Road Home: The Aftermath of the Second World War (Paperback)
Describes well the aftermath and consequences of WW2, and what happened socially to all people, displaced or otherwise.
A book everyone should read.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye-opener, 19 Mar 2012
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P. Spencer (Widnes, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Long Road Home: The Aftermath of the Second World War (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. It is very thorough and well researched. I confess to being one of those people who often stops thinking about WW2 when the shooting stops, but Ben Shephard's book will pull people like me up short. The tangle of issues left behind by Nazi policies, shifting borders and the nascent Cold War were terrific and solving them a colossal task. Mr Shephard goes about explaining this very well and is not knocked off course by modern preconceptions and sensibilities. For example he explains that many people did not even consider the treatment of the Jews as something different from that of the greater mass of 'displaced persons' in the immeadiate aftermath of the war. In fact, it seems Europe's Jews were sometimes criticised at the time for seeking out 'special case' status. Also, certain nationalities of Europeans were much more favoured than others when it came to resettlement opportunities in the 'west'.

I found the final chapter on 'Legacies' very moving, especially so for having what had gone before so well explained.

Very thorough; very honest; very enjoyable. Great history writing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE LONG ROAD HOME, 15 April 2012
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William Tait - See all my reviews
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An absolute must read for anyone interested in post WW2 Europe and also for those who are interested in how paradigm shifts take place in historical perception transforming our past into something that it was not. If you are as I am old enough to remember going to the cinema and seeing the Pathe Pictorial News showing week after week items on Diplaced Persons(DPs) and DP Camps and if you ever wondered whatever happened to all those haggard looking people you will find out here.You will also find it instructive to read if you are interested in this period Prague My Long Journey Home by Charles Ota Heller which tells of one family's experience of displacement or uprooting.This is also on Kindle.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Long Road Home, 10 July 2010
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Lewis Whiting (France) - See all my reviews
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For anyone with an interest,in the Second World War and what resulted from it, this is a compelling read. The euphemism chosen to describe those who lost country, home, family was "Displaced Person". These unfortunates met with more trials and tribulations, before they regained a place in the real world. The book tells many of their stories, and the effects they had on the post war world.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating history of post-war Europe's `forgotten people', 14 Mar 2012
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Jeremy Bevan (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Long Road Home: The Aftermath of the Second World War (Paperback)
One of the too-infrequently acknowledged consequences of war is the immense upheaval of peoples that it brings in its wake. In this engrossing study, historian Ben Shephard describes the fate of the `displaced persons' who were a feature of the European landscape after World War II. Unwilling and/or unable to return to their pre-war homelands, many millions of them languished in camps in the allied zones in Germany, Austria, Italy and elsewhere while politicians wrangled over their fate. Even after the war's end, some of those who had already returned eastward (including many Jews from Russia and Poland) migrated westward again - and were joined by others migrating for the first time - as conditions `back home' proved inimical.

Shephard's nuanced study traces carefully the roots of the crisis, notably to Germany's wartime requirement for forced factory and agricultural labour, and the redrawing of political allegiances as the Red Army swept westward to Berlin. He's careful to differentiate between groups' reasons for being where they were when the war ended, as well as between their vastly differing responses to incarceration. And though all may have seemed chaotic, Shephard clearly documents the - initially faltering, later heroic - efforts of UNRRA and western governments to stave off starvation and provide the displaced with some semblance of `home' in the hundreds of camps that dotted the middle European countryside. And although laced with plentiful first-hand testimony from the relief workers who helped resolve the situation (sadly, there's rather less from the denizens of the camps), Shephard is clear that it was really only American domestic political considerations that provoked any serious momentum towards a resolution. He is particularly insightful on the way the run-up to the 1948 American presidential election campaign helped clear a political log-jam and led to the creation of the state of Israel that was to become home to so many of the displaced, as well as on the way attitudes towards communism dictated US immigration policy. A fascinating account, then, of a time of `shaking of the nations', and its impact on a somewhat overlooked and hugely disparate group of people.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for post-war knowledge., 28 Oct 2010
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This book was reviewed as being one that everyone should have in their library.Yes!
I am a pre-war baby and found it essential to understand more fully what my parents and family were discussing after 1945. The Tragedy of it all is so unbelievable that I would say it is essential reading for everyone who has a modicum of understanding about that war and its results from a "people" point-of-view.

The first chapter alone bring info. that was not generally known so this man really did his homework. Perhaps one day a proper parallel book will reveal after the 1st World War why my grandfather was murdered by the Bolsheviks for being a capitalist!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A look at post-war Europe..., 22 April 2011
By 
Jill Meyer (United States) - See all my reviews
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British author Ben Shephard has written a masterful look at the post-WW2 people migrations in his book, "The Long Road Home". It's a story not often covered in the history books, which often go from Allied victory in May, 1945 right into the Cold War.

Millions of people survived WW2 in different locations than they had begun the war. Not only Jews, but hundreds of thousands of European Christians were either forcibly taken from the captive countries to work in Germany or volunteered to do so. After the war, these people were on the move across Europe. Also, of course, Jews who survived the Nazi concentration camps were freed. Prisoners of war - both Allied and Axis - were finding their way home, as well.

But what was "home" and did it exist anymore? Boundaries had been redrawn, countries that had existed before the war noceased to exist, and countries, like Poland, that had been split in half during the war - half-German, half-Soviet - once again appeared on the European map as a single nation. But if borders were redrawn, the advent of the Cold War also turned people against each other. Those Christian Poles, for instance, now, in many cases, chose not to return to Soviet-run Poland. Where were they going to go? Added to this mass of humanity on the loose in post-war Germany were the ethnic Germans who had lived in Czechoslovakia for years (and were the pretext, of course, for the annexation of Czechoslovakia by the Germans in 1938). They were abruptly expelled from Czechoslovakia after the war without, in many cases, any property. Homeless and propertyless, they joined the mass of humanity called "Displaced Persons".

The victorious Allied powers, recognising the mistakes they made after WW1 which led, in some part, to the rise of Nazism and WW2, decided to handle the post-WW2 period differently. The new organisation, UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) moved into the mess of post-war Germany - amid the ruins of most German cities - and tried to provide leadership. Released survivors of concentration camps were often put into DP camps, sometimes, as with the case of the DP camp Belson, in the same area as the concentration camps the survivors had just left. Schools and hospitals and small cities were established in the DP camps. Relief workers helped the DP camp inmates (a strange word to use in this case, I think) with every day living and plans for "what next". In the period right after the war, starvation was staved off due to the efforts of UNRRA workers and the occupying forces - the US, France, and Great Britain. Britain had its own troubles with post-war food and energy supplies.

Shephard writes beautifully of both those caught in the post-war morass and those who set about to help. He examines both the greater politics of relief as well as the lives of those who were the recipients. Those millions of people, milling around, trying to make new lives for themselves in the aftermath of a terrible war.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When the US was a beacon of decency, 14 Jun 2011
By 
Maire Mannik "Maire" (Adelaide, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Long Road Home: The Aftermath of the Second World War (Paperback)
For a brief moment at the end of WWII and shortly after, the US was a beacon of world decency and also a dynamo of efficiency. This book is about the untold story of the mainly US led and paid for newly created United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Association that looked after the tens of millions of Displaced Persons at the close of the war.

What is forgotten is that as the armies headed west into Germany they were closely followed by a well organised and equipped relief organisation geared up to deal with all the refugees, imported labourers and camp survivors. This had been planned two years earlier and the priority was to set up accommodation, hospitals and food centres for up to 40 million people. And they achieved this with extraordinary success.

There were three main groups: the French, Dutch and Belgians who were quickly repatriated although just organising trains for millions of them over destroyed rail lines was a major task. Then there were Germans returning from the invaded countries to the east who also needed care. And lastly the Eastern Europeans who had fled before the Red Army and would not and could not be sent back and for whom long term solutions had to be found.

This basic task took many years and the US funded most of it. It's a wonderful record of people doing the right thing.

A lot of of the organisers, although one of top people was an Australian Robert Jackson, were FDR's old New Deal warriors and their determination to save lives at any cost has to be compared with the recent refusal of the US Navy hospital ship to treat Katrina survivors because that would be socialised medicine.

I was born in one of these camps in the US zone and my parents were Displaced Persons from Estonia (the favourite nationality of a lot of UNRRA staff it turns out) and my early memories were of feeling happy and secure.

A beautifully researched and written book, and an important record of what we can sometimes achieve.
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The Long Road Home: The Aftermath of the Second World War
The Long Road Home: The Aftermath of the Second World War by Ben Shephard (Paperback - 7 April 2011)
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