- Hardcover: 480 pages
- Publisher: Viking; 1st Edition edition (5 April 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 067091746X
- ISBN-13: 978-0670917464
- Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4.2 x 24 cm
- Average Customer Review: 155 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 234,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II Hardcover – 5 Apr 2012
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Graphic and chilling. This excellent book paints a little-known and frightening picture of a continent in the embrace of lawlessness and chaos (Ian Kershaw)
Moving, measured and provocative (Dominic Sandbrook Sunday Times)
Savage Continent is a powerful and disturbing book, painstakingly researched and written with both authority and an impressive historical sweep (James Holland)
Grimly absorbing, conveys the pity of war and its sorry aftermath with integrity and proper sympathy (Ian Thomson Sunday Telegraph)
Extraordinary, disturbing and powerful ... it is to Lowe's great credit that he resists the temptation to sit in moral judgment ... it is time we acknowledged the hidden realities of perhaps the darkest chapter in all human history (Daily Mail)
Extraordinary...exceptional...reveals a continent where moral values were often missing and basically lawlessness prevailed for several years (Trevor James The Historian)
Impressive and heart-rendering study...Lowe marshals all the elements of the story with cool even-handedness, especially where statistics are concerned, and explains how subsequent generations have manipulated the historical record to suit their own purposes, either to diminish their guilt or demonise others. (Christopher Silvester Daily Express)
An excellent account...Lowe's vivid descriptions of Europeans scrambling for scraps of food, rampant theft and 'destruction of morals' are a timely reminder that a certain humility is in order when we look at less fortunate continents today. (Brendan Simms The Independent)
A major new historical talent has arrived... a brilliantly organised and scrupulously objective survey of a continent on the floor (BBC History Magazine)
About the Author
Keith Lowe is widely recognized as a leading authority on the Second World War. He is the author of Inferno: The Devastation of Hamburg, 1943 and Savage Continent, which was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller and won the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize. He has spoken often on television and radio, both in Britain and the United States, and his books have been translated into 20 languages. He lives in north London with his wife and two children.
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The "popular" perception of WW2 in Europe is a picture painted by the Allies after the war, to both justify their actions during the war and to further their political aims. The grossly simplistic picture of "the good Allies beating the nasty Germans, who committed the Holocaust" ignores the reality of a sea of small scale forgotten ethnic, political and civil wars, which, in my opinion, resulted in regional horrors that matched the Holocaust, but are now largely forgotten. This book is well researched, almost comprehensive and both an entertaining and thoroughly informative read. It also provides the student of WW2 with some understanding of the rationale for the Germans behaviour toward the various indigenous populations in the occupied countries.
My only major regret is that the author chose to "omit the horrors perpetrated against the German civil population by the Soviet forces, because this is well documented elsewhere" - this was a massive and unfortunate omission. To discover those events, and to gain a small understanding of why the German forces fought so desperately against the Soviets in 1945, you need to read Hellstorm: The Death of Nazi Germany by Thomas Goodrich.
Some assertions clash with other sources: Lowe says that food was short in Germany all through the war, others that they were doing very well on plundered countries until the Russians pushed back; Lowe says that the Dutch hunger winter was circumstantial, others that the Nazis inflicted it in retaliation for the national rail strike; the destruction of Gestapo HQ in Copenhagen on 10.3.45 was not 'luck' but targeted with precision by the RAF.
A good book will make you read more into the subject and I found myself buying more books about the aftermath of the war and finding out more horrific stories that today I am astounded that most people know nothing about.
I never knew of any film documentaries or books or even web pages that dealt with this subject until I read this book and I find it unbelievable that this subject is not spoke about in schools when learning about WW2. Deaths after the war are more than most other wars yet this subject is anonymous.
From other sources I have read or watched, most of what Keith Lowe writes is spot on. The fact I went on to find out and understand more is worth the 5 stars.
I knew about the plight of millions of displaced people, the treatment of German prisoners of war, the suffering of women and children, the return of surviving Jews,etc...But what about more examples of lawlessness and chaos like the repulsive civil war in Greece, the insidious communist takeover of Eastern Europe, the shocking ethnic cleansing in Poland and Czechoslovakia , the rampant, persistent antisemitism, a little everywhere,...
Every chapter in this book is intensely disturbing and shocking . And now I think of 2015 : the constant threat posed by Putin's Russia, the offensive attitude of many East Europeans towards Syrian and Afghan refugees, the smouldering hatred between Croats, Muslims and Serbs , the Far Left in power in a Greece where the extreme Right is also all powerful and I ask myself : what have we learnt ? What is the purpose of knowing about past History ? Should this war that ended nearly 70 years ago be " regarded as little more than Ancient History " ? Should it be remembered ? It should not be allowed to poison the present, says Keith Lowe.
This is without any doubt one of the most powerful and impressive History books that I have ever read. Mr Lowe is a genius.
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