Top critical review
8 October 2018
This is a workmanlike history of Europe since 1950. There is hardly anything original about it - Kershaw is not much of a thinker. What he does do well is summary - I might recommend this book to a fact-hungry teenager who doesn't have a tablet to look up stuff on Wikipedia. On technology, for example, he says quite banal things like it's changed the world and it's probably good but he's not sure. The political history is narrated country by country, and with a main focus on big countries like Germany, the Soviet Union and Britain. Even France and Italy are treated as bit players, there's little detail on southern, eastern or northern Europe so one key aspect of Europe - its diversity - is missed. Newer topics like women's history or postcolonialism get cursory treatment, he really doesn't sound interested in them. In all, there's not much new here, no rethinking of what the history of Europe might be. But if you like a one-thing-after-another summary, this might be the book for you.