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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 31 July 2012
Having read this book, the title "Savage continent" begins to sound like an under statement. I thought I knew how WWII and the terror/horror/loss of life was mind blowing, but was unaware of the sheer scale of what was euphemistically referred to by the Allies as "displaced persons" in all its various guises including ethnic cleansing, particularly in the aftermath of WWII with the inevitable scramble for territory. Documenting atrocity after atrocity I almost became desensitized to what I was reading - the total collapse and ensuing chaos of Europe. Out of such very, very recent total destruction, whereby murder on a grand scale literally became the "norm", it is a miracle how the EEC/EU with all its good intentions/foibles, was ever conceived and maintained.
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on 16 December 2016
What happened in many European countries after the "finish" of the Second World War was horrendous. Keith Lowe writes about the events with extensive documentation - and commendable objectivity. There was ethnic cleansing on the grand scale which finished the policies which the Nazis began: there was savage internecine conflict; there was the imposition of communism on millions; and there was a culture of revenge. These factors still have contemporary relevance.
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on 4 December 2014
Why was i so smug when i looked at todays warring beligerents in iraq, syria, palestine, afghanistan etc? Look at us europeans! We fought the greatest war in history and have lived with peace for 70 years!

I'm so wrong. The more i read this book, the more i wondered how the hell peace had been possible in western europe for 70 years. And then, i wondered, when did the war actually end, especially for those in the east?

A brutal book. There are no national heroes and both victors and vanquished have a stupendous quantity of blood on their hands. Stories elegantly told. The author has an agenda but he reveals his arguments gently and with grace.

If you think you know WWII because you know the back story to Saving Private Ryan and you watch Downfall, then this is for you. Challenge your assumptions, and enter a world where the fight against the Nazis was actually only the catalyst and the backdrop to a colossal bloodletting fueled by Europe wide hatreds of race, religion, class and ethnicity.
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on 1 May 2017
Remarkably interesting and absorbing historical account of the atrocious events that followed WW2. A lesson all should be aware of when
discussing or contemplating any further war
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on 22 March 2017
Very good
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on 2 June 2014
A brilliant and concise tour of the immediate postwar period. Essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the present form of Europe.
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This is a quality work of art from the pen of Keith Lowe. Taking a little documented period of history, the fragmented and vengeful end of the war and the spill over into the years 1945-1950 - and beyond in some cases - the dispute between Lithuania and Russia for example, he manages to show that genocide, anti-Semitism and hatred in general did not end when the war ceased. Looking back nowadays it is almost beyond belief that such hate continued, given the events of 1939-45. But they did. I cannot speak too highly of this book as it looks in detail at issues normally skirted around by the academic world - such as the vengence of slave workers and concentration camp inmates and of population expulsions - be they ethnic Germans, Poles or Ukrainians. I learnt so much from this book; the political fall-out from WW2, the Greek civil war but also how the human spirit can rise above the most hurtful and damaging of situations. Ultimately, amid the tales of destruction and sorrow, this is the message that emerges. Superb.
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on 23 June 2013
This book is a very thorough and evenhanded review of Europe after World War 2. The author touches on most aspects of goings-on in Europe 1944-1949. The book is filled to the brim with stories about a continent torn apart, trying to reconcile itself with what's happened. It is not an easy read, but a rewarding one if you're tired of the myths of a unified Europe on the one hand and the Holocaust deniers and conspiracy theorists on the other.

No punches are pulled in the retelling of post-war genocide and pogroms, as well as stories about mistreatment of german POW's and civilians and the abuses of girls who loved german soldiers. We are told about how some axis countries got off lighter than others, how fascists sometimes stayed in power and how some reforms in the name of justice became undone. We also get a good account of how communists seized power in many countries and the conequences thereof. To recount all the grim stories in this book would be counterproductive and would take far too long.

This is a thoroughly researched book with excellent critique of its sources, and the author goes to great lengths to elaborate whenever numbers he cites are in dispute. He also strives to serve stories and numbers in their proper context, ensuring that the reader manages to follow the authors thread throughout.

I found this book to be a remarkable eyeopener regarding post-war Europe. The consequences of the war are felt to this day.
Read it!
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VINE VOICEon 12 April 2012
A truly jaw-dropping read. As Keith Lowe explains right from the very start the Second World War was so much more than the allies versus the axis and the fight of good against evil. If you wish to get a better understanding of what this struggle perpetuated beyond the usual military texts, then you must read this book. The majority of people would associate the term ethnic cleansing with the Holocaust;full stop. However, events throughout the European continent AFTER May 1945 will leave readers absolutely stunned. In Czechoslavkia, Italy, Poland, Western Ukkraine and Yugoslavia ethnic and religious cleansing was conducted on a truly horrifying scale. Centuries of hatred and mistrust within individual countries and communities within those countries rose to the surface. The undercurrent was undoubtedly right versus left, capitalist versus communist, but the specifics are much more shocking.

The machinations of political parties to achieve their objectives and the ineptitude of the 'Superpowers' to deal with these events lead directly to the Cold War and during the period 1945 to 1950, thousands upon thousands of innocent civilian deaths. Revenge for atrocities carried out during the war lit the flame, but much more sinister plans were at work.

I will not quote specific examples from the text as I would hope that by reading this outstanding account of a period of history that formed the basis of European life for the next 50 years, the reader will be as appalled and enlightened as much as I was.

For anyone interested in this period of history this is an essential read. I cannot recommend this strongly enough.
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on 15 May 2012
An extensively researched and very readable work which should be compulsory reading for all! Keith exposes the horrible truths of the aftermath of World War II which were denied by politicians and film makers. His effort demands the utmost respect and recognition.
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