- Paperback: 960 pages
- Publisher: Pimlico; New edition edition (1 Feb. 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0712665641
- ISBN-13: 978-0712665643
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 5.1 x 21.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 91 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 692,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 Paperback – 1 Feb 2007
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"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." (Michael Howard 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." (Misha Glenny Irish Times)
"A masterly survey of how today's Europe rose from the ashes and exhaustion of 1945." (J. G. Ballard 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." (Dominic Sandbrook Evening Standard, 'Books of the Year')
"A superb work of synthesis, analysis and reflection." (Timothy Garton-Ash Times Literary Supplement, 'Books of the Year')
A magisterial and acclaimed history of Europe in our time, by one of our leading historians.See all Product description
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Judt sometimes writes difficult sentences and has a habit of using unusual words so that frequent references to a dictionary are required. A more annoying habit is the insertion of French phrases. Frustrating to non French speakers.
These are my only criticisms. The reader gains insight into how the modern world developed as well as the idea that we take much for granted. The Europe of today is truly miraculous when seen from the perspective of the devastation in 1945.
What most interests me however is how this book covers certain key areas of European development which I have not previously had the opportunity of considering in such depth.
The extent of the devastation of almost all Europe and the necessary reconstruction, apparently accomplished with amazing speed after the war, and the enormous importance of cleverly designed Marshall Aid in achieving this;
The development of the Iron Curtain, the rapidly changing perceptions by the rest of the world of Stalin's intentions and activities, and in particular how this was experienced by the eastern European countries themselves. I had mostly been used to considering this from a western perspective.
The development of the Common Market, mostly at the instigation of the French, who just as they had after the First World War, wanted to protect themselves, but this time the muscle and strength was always and increasingly provided by Germany.
Prior to reading this book I didn't really understand quite how the EEC had worked, its parameters, its purpose and limitations.
Judt's views on later events were less revelatory to me because I had been there at the time, but his perspectives are always interesting.
Judt takes great care to consider the experience of many different countries, and as he does so I learned an enormous amount about the differences between say the Czech, the Polish, the Yugoslavian experience of being communist.
His epilogue is a consideration of the experience of the Jews after the war and I found this too especially valuable, and although he does not discuss the state of Israel, Judt helped me understand why the establishment of the Israeli state was so important.
Having not yet completed reading the book, I can't comment on the 1960s-2000s, but if Judt's description of the postwar and early cold war years are any indication, I will not be disappointed. This is a very personal history, so if you like a more detached writing style, then perhaps you may not like this book. Tony Judt explicitly states that this book contains many of his own bias and interpretations of events. I find that this adds considerably to the text and makes it eminently readable. I also think that since Tony Judt has lived on both sides of the Pond, it gives him a unique ability to write from both a European and an American perspective that will find wide appeal in the English speaking world. This book is for all those who want to understand the origins of the European Union, the history of the European Cold War and the love-hate relationship that exists between Europe and the USA, despite the fact that Europe and the USA are inextricably bound to each other and could quite be each others' salvation in the possible coming conflicts with Asia and a resurgent Russia.
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