Tony Judt’s Postwar makes one lament the overuse of the word “groundbreaking.” It is an unprecedented accomplishment: the first truly European history of contemporary Europe, from Lisbon to Leningrad, based on research in six languages, covering thirty-four countries across sixty years in a single integrated narrative, using a great deal of material from newly available sources. Tony Judt has drawn on forty years of reading and writing about modern Europe to create a fully rounded, deep account of the continent’s recent past. The book integrates international relations, domestic politics, ideas, social change, economic development, and culture—high and low—into a single grand narrative. Every country has its chance to play the lead, and although the big themes are superbly handled—including the cold war, the love/hate relationship with America, cultural and economic malaise and rebirth, and the myth and reality of unification—none of them is allowed to overshadow the rich pageant that is the whole. Vividly and clearly written for the general reader; witty, opinionated, and full of fresh and surprising stories and asides; visually rich and rewarding, with useful and provocative maps, photos, and cartoons throughout, Postwar is a movable feast for lovers of history and lovers of Europe alike.
A magnificent history of postwar Europe, East and West, by arguably the subject’s most esteemed historian.