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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was fascinating and I became engrossed in it. This product is a good read for both those who are studying the period or those who are merely interested in expanding their... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Bought to read alongside Mark Mazawer's Dark Continent for OU course A327. An interesting & contrasting read, covers slightly more than needed for that course (1990s, Balkans etc)... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Nathalie.w
Superb analysis for seeing UK post war history in the light of a European perspective.Published 4 months ago by MR A GRIFFITH
This is a fascinating book written with clarity: and I have used it in my final year's course in HistoryPublished 4 months ago by Patagonia
Excellent. Interesting to learn what happened on the other side of the iron curtain.Published 6 months ago by Janis