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62 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars impassioned, stimulating, thought-provoking
I was motivated to write this review by looking at the average rating and seeing only three and a half stars; that is absurdly low for a book that is already becoming a classic. Don't be put off by the negative reviews on here which are mainly written by people with specific hobby horses or concerned about a few insignificant factual errors - but those are inevitable in a...
Published on 14 Jan 2011 by Mr. R. Bates

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66 of 82 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing, but...
Most reviewers have understandably, and rightly, focussed on the grand themes and the author's interpretation of events and conflicting political philosophies. I read the book at least in part, however, simply to refresh my knowledge of basic historical facts about the postwar era, and I still hope to use it as reference material to meet that same end. What disappointed...
Published on 15 Sep 2007 by Vinyl obsessive


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62 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars impassioned, stimulating, thought-provoking, 14 Jan 2011
By 
Mr. R. Bates "rab181" (nottingham, uk) - See all my reviews
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I was motivated to write this review by looking at the average rating and seeing only three and a half stars; that is absurdly low for a book that is already becoming a classic. Don't be put off by the negative reviews on here which are mainly written by people with specific hobby horses or concerned about a few insignificant factual errors - but those are inevitable in a work with such breathtaking scope. If the most serious error in a book that covers the contemporary history of the whole continent is about the date of the first eurovision song contest, then that tells you that Judt gets a lot of things right.

Those who write that the first chapters are the strongest are more on the money (but then, name me a historian who can analyse the present as well as s/he can the past). And those opening chapters are simply awesome. If you don't learn to look at the second world war and its legacy in a new light, if you don't think again about the rebuilding of Europe, about the implementation of Stalinism in eastern europe and the attitudes of western intellectuals, or how the intellectual and cultural movements of western europe in the 60s and 70s interacted with the times they sprang from, then you are probably already an excellent historian in your own right and I would like to read your books as well.

You might not agree with all of his conclusions, but the fact that the book is so (in his word) opinionated is a good thing - it challenges you to work out what you yourself think and why. It avoids repeating the received wisdom, and challenges it on a great many subjects. It demands that you engage with a lot of still-live topics (cumulateively, the book adds up to a powerful argument in favour of rational social democracy). It makes cogs turn in your mind. You thought you had a picture of postwar europe in your mind's eye - Judt shows you that it was only a thumbnail. There is a lot to discover, and to contemplate.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A huge work - in terms of size and in terms of quality, 8 Sep 2009
By 
Audrius Alkauskas (Lithuania and Switzerland) - See all my reviews
This is a huge piece of work. It took me more than two years to finish the entire book, and I took long breaks resting from it. Nevertheless, it was worth the effort. This volume is now one of the most important works in my collection of history books.
Three things impressed me in "Postwar".
1. English. In the globalized world where everybody seems to speak English it is quite easy to loose good taste for language, especially in the academic literature. We read books on history and science without any expectations of their language having the richness of a fictional literary work. Tony Judt certainly breaks this rule - he writes in a beautiful language, cleverly formulated sentences, and carefully constructed paragraphs. One often forgets one is reading a book on history. Thus, it was a huge pleasure to read "Postwar".
2. Broadness. The depth and broadness of topics covered is impressive. Each country, small and big, each important aspect of social life, is covered. For people mostly familiar with the history of their own country, like myself, this book will provide a lot of valuable information and a lot of insight about what was happening in other countries in Europe after 1945. Whether you would like to know about national conflicts in Belgium or the origins of the Hungarian revolution, this book is the book to look at, at least to get the most important information.
3. Objectivity. I am very pleased with the objectivity of the book. In my opinion, Tony Judt does not take any initial opinion on a subject described. The reader is left with sufficient information to have his/her own judgement on each of the topics. In this regard the present book is a pleasant exception.

In summary: a huge work, both in terms of size and in terms of quality. Highly recommended.
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73 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Europe's Guilt, 23 Nov 2005
By 
P. J. T. Brown "edmo" (Palmers Green) - See all my reviews
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Tony Judt's book is a lively and contentious narrative of Postwar Europe from the effects of WW2 right up to the removal of the last statue of Franco in Madrid on March 17th 2005. The key European events covered in detail: Cold War, formation of the European Union, collapse of Communism, war in the Balkans. Weaved through this is a commanding sense of social and political history from a liberal/left perspective.
It is particular strong on film [and TV] which is used to underscore political and social narratives, with plenty of illustrations from memoirs and satire. The grand theme is Europe's collective guilt over the Holocaust and how the different countries have denied, then acknowledged (or not) their roles. This theme is defining for Judt and it will continue to define Europe's collective persona for future generations. On this latter issue Judt's arguments are well illustrated with examples from literature and Europe's intellectuals - both largely ignored by the politicians.
Europe's future will be tested by whether or not it grow towards something more than just a grand market place for the exchange of goods and services.
My only regret is the lack of a thematic bibliography - bibliographical references are within the text at the bottom of the page only.
This is a big read at 830 pages - but it is engrossing
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars i can see, 30 Aug 2010
The author opinion is transparent throughout every page and is the opinion of a person who has assessed thoroughly his thought with the search of facts; it also comes out as a text who has been assessed after discussions with scholars. The inner background, felt by the author, is perceivable (his religion origin, his political inclination) and some perspective is not objective, but when this happens it is well declared; this may sound as a drawback, however he is able to turn this as a powerful tool which makes the text an essential recount of this time that Europe went through. The text, finally is very enjoyable. Sometimes European history looked to me as a grey and bland epoch: it turns out as a exciting period that must be learned. I can finally understand many whys and other secret stories.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big theme, small print, 11 Mar 2013
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Judt provides a comprehensive but penetrating account of postwar Europe. There is, however, a health warning: the print in this paper back version is minute, making it very difficult to read. Much better to buy the Kindle version, which can be read in comfort. It's almost worth buying a Kindle to read this outstanding history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars historian Tony Judt takes the reader on a journey from the ashes of 1945 right up to the middle of the 1980′s that is both enthr, 4 July 2014
This review is from: Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 (Kindle Edition)
A lot has been written about Europe between 1939 and 1945. Indeed, a lot went on in those years that would have a profound effect on the future of the European continent, and the world. But just what were those effects? In this masterpiece of narration, historian Tony Judt takes the reader on a journey from the ashes of 1945 right up to the middle of the 1980′s that is both enthralling in its detail and brilliantly written. True, the author is at times quite-single minded in his views on certain topics, but one can hardly expect an author to remain entirely neutral throughout a work of this scope. That said, I had no trouble distinguishing fact from opinion.
What really captivated me about this book is the sheer scope of what is covered. Far from concentrating on the west, Judt takes us behind the iron curtain, providing a clear and vivid picture not only of events, but attitudes, mindset and the thinking behind much of the cold war and its effect on both sides of the divide.
In summary, of all the books I have read on this period, this one is by far the most comprehensive. It is also written in a way that is guaranteed to captivate the reader, something that cannot be claimed by all of its contemporaries. As for who should read it, I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in the state of modern Europe and the path which has led us to where we are today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading, 25 Jan 2013
By 
Justin Scott "jcdscott" (Melbourne) - See all my reviews
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Stimulating opinion on recent history. Hard to disagree with the author. Well written and thought provoking. What else can I say?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Trusted Account of Europe, 30 Dec 2012
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This book gives a clear narrative of how Europe has changed and emerged from the terrible mess of the end of the Second World War. Tony Judt wrote in a clear, accessible manner and, the occasional barbed comment aside, in an unbiased manner. This is the first book that I have read by this author and the integrity of his writings became clear to me from the outset.

I write this review in December 2012 - a period of our time when the Euro is in crisis, and where the European Union is at a crossroads - and this book gives a clear account of how the Europe we know today came into being. Accounts like this are important, for they enable us, as citizens, to make clear decisions about how we want our institutions to evolve, armed as we are with a clear understanding of the historical context of how Europe became what it is today. And this is important because the debate (certainly here in the UK) has been dominated by Eurosceptics and many of the books on the subject of Europeans follow the Eurosceptic view. These books tend to be read by fellow Eurosceptics because they mirror their views and prejudices, yet there are few alternatives that are actually unbiased and which show a clear understanding of the subject.

Tony Judt's death in 2010 is a terrible loss to us all, for his books show an integrity that is sadly missing in the European sphere. I strongly recommend you read this book,whatever your views about Europe.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant and balanced history, 8 Aug 2011
The grasp of historical complexities and the clarity of the prose are amazing; however, what is truly exceptional is the sense of fairness which comes through each evaluation of a situation or event. I can only recommend this book very strongly to anyone who is interested in "where we come from" at this point in Europe's history and who would like to become acquainted with the mind of a great historian. A caveat: the font is very small and the layout too dense for pleasurable reading for a long period.
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66 of 82 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing, but..., 15 Sep 2007
Most reviewers have understandably, and rightly, focussed on the grand themes and the author's interpretation of events and conflicting political philosophies. I read the book at least in part, however, simply to refresh my knowledge of basic historical facts about the postwar era, and I still hope to use it as reference material to meet that same end. What disappointed me, however, was to discover some very basic errors about rather trivial matters which must call into question the overall standard of research and the veracity of what is presented.

For example, on pages 482/3 we are told that the Eurovision Song Contest was first broadcast in 1970 and, in an uncomfortably lengthy rant about its shortcomings, that it was a 'hopelessly dated format' that would have been 'out of date fifteen years earlier'. Which is somewhat ironic given that it was first broadcast in 1956! We can deduce that Prof Judt obviously isn't a Sandie Shaw fan.

In another rather bizarre diatribe, this time against the UK's present-day 'Heritage' industry, he cites what he perceives as the sanitised presentation of the early history of the pottery industry by reference to Josiah Wedgwood, complaining that (schoolchildren) .."...would search in vain for evidence of how the pottery workers lived or why the region was called the Black Country". Which, of course, it wasn't; the 'Potteries' and the 'Black Country' are distinct entities divided by a broad expanse of rural Staffordshire.

On page 299 he tells us that "Englishmen were the first to conquer Everest, with the help of an appropriately colonial guide", a statement which I imagine might cause some consternation amongst denizens of New Zealand and Nepal.

It could just be that Prof Judt is weak on the softer, 'cultural' issues, but my confidence in the rather more weighty 'facts' and obscure minutiae about rather more remote areas, as presented in his book, has been rather seriously dented.

The worst - and most amusing - of several rather sloppy 'typos' appears on page 339, where we learn that in the early 1950s there were "just 89,000 private cars in Spain: one for every 314,000 persons" - so, that's about 28 Billion Spaniards having to thumb a lift...
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