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Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II (Anglais) Broché – 2 mai 2013


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Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II + Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-56 + Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin
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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

Grimly absorbing, conveys the pity of war and its sorry aftermath with integrity and proper sympathy (Ian Thomson Sunday Telegraph)

Moving, measured and provocative (Dominic Sandbrook Sunday Times)

Extraordinary...exceptional...reveals a continent where moral values were often missing and basically lawlessness prevailed for several years (Trevor James The Historian)

Savage Continent is a powerful and disturbing book, painstakingly researched and written with both authority and an impressive historical sweep (James Holland)

A major new historical talent has arrived... a brilliantly organised and scrupulously objective survey of a continent on the floor (BBC History Magazine)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Biographie de l'auteur

Keith Lowe is widely recognized as an authority on the Second World War, and has often spoken on TV and radio, both in Britain and the United States. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Inferno: The Devastation of Hamburg, 1943 (Penguin). He lives in north London with his wife and two children.


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Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 480 pages
  • Editeur : Penguin (2 mai 2013)
  • Collection : VIKING NFIC PB
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0141034513
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141034515
  • Dimensions du produit: 12,9 x 2,7 x 19,8 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.8 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (4 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 33.827 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Oggydoggy le 6 juin 2013
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Un ouvrage passionnant et prenant, qui montre à quel point la WWII en Europe n'a pas été que la lutte entre les Alliés et les pays de l'Axe, mais qu'elle aussi a fait "croître et embellir" des conflits locaux qui ont perduré bien au delà de la prétendue armistice. Sans oublier le paysage de ruines qu'a été l'Europe à la fin de cette guerre et les difficultés rencontrées par les peuples européens pour reconstruire leurs pays et leurs vies. Le tout formant une immense apocalypse à l'échelle du continent.
Au delà des faits, des statistiques et des massacres, Keith Lowe nous interpelle sur la capacité fondamentale des Européens d'aujourd'hui à "oublier sans oublier" et nous donne des clés pour comprendre pourquoi notre Europe politique balbutie sans fin et n'est qu'économique et technocratique.
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Manuel le 13 août 2013
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
C'est une histoire européenne méconnue que nous livre Keith LOWE. Malheureusement notre mémoire historique est de plus en plus façonnée par des mythes et par le cinéma. Nous nous imaginons une Europe en paix une fois la guerre terminée.

Or l'auteur nous rappelle que l'après-guerre a été une période où la violence et la pauvreté ont perduré bien après la guerre. Les institutions politiques ayant été annihilées par la guerre, le désordre et le non-droit ont régné. Les nettoyages ethniques ont perduré, voire se sont accentués après la guerre. Imagine-t-on, par exemple, aujourd'hui, que la Pologne fût un état multi-ethnique où à côté de Polonais, vivaient de fortes minorités d'Allemands, d'Ukrainiens ou de Juifs ?

De même on se surprend à découvrir les abus faits aux populations civiles "libérées" que ce soit par les troupes soviétiques ou même Alliés. Abus, entre autres, qui allaient des femmes pauvres "achetées" avec des boîtes de conserves aux viols de masse. C'est une réalité peu glorieuse qu'on se garde d'évoquer dans les films.

Ce livre aura aussi le mérite de nous montrer la chance que nous avons aujourd'hui de vivre dans une Europe en paix et où règne l’état de droit. Il nous invite aussi a garder l’œil ouvert. Les notions même de civilisation et d'humanité tiennent finalement à très peu de chose...
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par PI le 28 avril 2013
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Very good account for those interested in the period 1945-1955 in Europe. Lowe touches upon almost every country in Europe and the immediate aftermath of the second world war. Paints a vivid picture of the real and would be resistant fighters, real and scape-goat collaborators and the huge population movements that took place then. It helps appreciate the role the UN adn EU have played since then in avoiding major open conflcts in that part of teh world. Leaves the reader with the request: more, please!
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A powerful and well researched account of the world since 1945. The cruelty is sometimes unbearable, likewise in Germany, Russia, France or countries on their way to independence. Without me going into detail, Keith Lowe brings also forward the psychological consequences of committing non stop actrocities which spiral down to sadism, willful torture without end and which finally gears without remorce towards infants and babies. How much responsibility does Europe account for, considering the breakdown of moral values worldwide?
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306 internautes sur 313 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The chaos of postwar Europe 3 juillet 2012
Par Paul Gelman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
In the introduction to his book, Keith Lowe writes that the story of Europe in the immediate period following WW2 " is not primarily one of reconstruction and rehabilitation-it is firstly one of descent into anarchy". Such a history has never been written before.
This book,which comes to fill in this void, has four main parts and its main theme is that of vengeance. Its other themes are those of displacement, famines, moral destruction, rape and civil wars.
In other words, after WW2 there was an atmosphere of chaos and violence almost everywhere and people decided to take the law into their hands. It was also the time to settle old scores. Yogoslav partisans decided to cut off the noses of their opponents, while Sudeten Germans were butchered in Czechoslovakia. Dutch and Belgian collaborators were summarily executed and their houses were set on fire, while in Italy the bodies of Fascists were displayed in the streets where they could be spat at by passers-by. In Hungary, members of the far-right Arrow Cross were forced to exume mass Jewish graves in very hot weather while local people threw sticks and stones at them. In France, clandestine prisons were set up where suspected collaborators were subjected to multiple forms of sadism including mutilation, rape, enforced prostitution and every type of torture imaginable.
This book is also about the history of ethnic cleansing and inter-communal and political violence. Poland harnessed the wartime hatred for Ukrainians to launch a program of expulsion and forced assimilation. Slovaks, Hungarians and Romanians embarked on a series of population exchange.
Take, for example, Berlin. It was there where Hannelore Thiele was raped by seven in a row, "like animals". Anothee woman was raped by Russian soldiers-twenty-three of them, therefore she had to be " stitched up in a hospital. I never want to have anything to do with any man again".
Some Lithuanian partisans who fought against the Russians and against Communism were hunted down by the KGB even in the seventies. One of them, Juozas Luksa, was betrayed by someone he thought he was his friend and by 1956, the last of the partisan groups in Lithuania was finally destroyed. For years hundreds of thousands of nationalist partisans "fought a doomed war against the Soviet occupiers in the forlorn hope that the West would eventually come to their aid".
Lowe also describes in great detail the civil wars which tore Europe apart from the Baltic to the Mediterranean. He emphasizes that Europe as we know it today emerged out of a complete and total chaos and reminds his readers not to forget this fact.
If one can speak of ruthlessness and the pursuit of power while destroying any civil rights, Romania can serve as a very good example, and in one of the best chapters of the book, Lowe shows how the Communists seized absolute power there by suppressing free speech and by a process of collectivization of farms introduced by the Petru Groza government. The Stalinization of the whole country manifested itself in the suppression of churches. The authorities placed bans on baptisms, church weddings and public celebration of Christmas. The mighty shadow of the Soviet Union was everywhere in Eastern Europe.
The book is extremely original in its contents and views about the re-emergence of Europe-a continent which knew so many dark days. Lowe has conducted a meticulous and scrupulous research, incorporating primary sources and interviews in eight languages-a tremendous task in itself. This chilling and outstanding book should be read by anyone who is interested in contemporary history and especially in the origins of postwar Europe and the beginnings of the Cold War. Highly recommended!
143 internautes sur 150 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A fuller and sadder story of post war Europe 16 juillet 2012
Par Alan F. Sewell - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This book opens a window on the "Old Europe" of virulent ethnic hatreds and murderous ethnic cleansings against minority groups. The book reveals that contrary to what we've been taught these atrocities did not end with the defeat of the Nazis in 1945. In fact the defeat of the Nazis inflamed them for several more years. It really wasn't until 1948 or 1949 that Europe gained some sense of political and economic stability. During this time murderous inter-ethnic wars added a toll of hundreds of thousands more to the tens of millions killed outright in the war.

Author Keith Lowe brings home the terror of these early post-war years:

* He describes the near-total destruction of European cities. Some cities like Warsaw had nearly 100% of their housing stock destroyed and most of their pre-war populations obliterated. They might as well have been vaporized with hydrogen bombs. The prewar economy in all of Central and Western Europe was defunct due to loss of life, worthless currencies, and obliteration of urban and industrial infrastructure. America did its part to restore economic order in Europe with billions of dollars of aid via the Marshall Plan, but this took several years to produce results.

* People resorted to desperate means to survive even in places where the war ended relatively early, such as Southern Italy. Lowe illustrates degrading scenes like those in Italian railway stations and public buildings where hundreds of Italian women lined up to prostitute themselves on the public benches for American soldiers who traded sex for a tin of rations. Later on this happened in Germany. This was a time of starvation rations when the lifeline of many families depended on having a young woman in the household to trade for sex.

* Ethnic cleansing intensified AFTER the Nazis were defeated. The Nazis had desensitized the European ethnic populations, which before had lived in a semblance of harmony, to genocide. The Nazis trained collaborators in the occupied countries to rob, murder, and rape "enemies of the Reich." After the Nazis were defeated the collaborator and the resistance paramilitary groups turned their fire on rival ethnic groups with murderous fury.

* The two most hated ethnic groups were the ethnic Germans who had emigrated to other countries and sadly the small remnant of the Jewish population that had survived German extermination. The ethnic Germans were hated because of the Nazi occupation. They were murdered and terrorized into fleeing from the Czech Republic, Hungary, and especially Poland.

* Sadly, no European nation welcomed the return of the surviving Jews from German concentration camps. The best situation they faced was sullen indifference from nations like Holland. The worst was a renewal of extermination in countries like Poland and the Soviet Ukraine where anti-Semite paramilitaries "took up where the Nazis left off." The surviving Jews were made to understand that they would never again have a home in Europe. Most were coerced into migrating to Palestine.

* Likewise a fury of ethnic cleansing was unleashed against other minorities. Ukrainian paramilitaries slaughtered the Polish minority and the few surviving Jews. Poles slaughtered Ukrainians, Jews, and Germans. Czechs slaughtered Germans and Hungarians. The slaughter had its intended consequence of driving the ethnic survivors back into their home countries. The Ukraine because all Ukrainian; Poland became all Polish; and Germany had upwards of 12 million expelled ethnic Germans dumped back within its shrunken borders, many of whom had been culturally assimilated into other countries for generations.

* The ethnic cleansing was initiated by private paramilitary groups, but it was tolerated and encouraged by national governments for a period of years. The Soviet Union, whose armies controlled Eastern Europe after WWII accommodated the ethnic cleansings, not so much out of malice to any particular ethnic group, but because Soviet theory was that each ethnic group should have a separate homeland.

* The Soviets had good reason to fear ethnic unrest. Ukrainian and Baltic States nationalists kept up an anti-Communist, anti-Soviet guerilla war well into the 1950s. After that they maintained passive resistance until the Soviet Union collapsed. Even the military might of the Soviets couldn't crush nationalist aspirations among its captive ethnic groups.

Keith Lowe shows how fragile civilization is even on a long-civilized continent like Europe. He shows how human beings return to an animal state of prostitution, theft, murder and genocide against minorities when the economy and the law become defunct. He brings the lurid story to life with many heart-breaking personal accounts. Anyone reading this book might be inclined to advise the countries of the European Union to think twice before loosening the ties that the previous generations built up over the decades, primarily as a response to the horror of World War II and its aftermath that Keith Lowe so thoroughly and sadly describes.
88 internautes sur 93 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The end of the war--was not the end of the war 9 juillet 2012
Par Joanna Daneman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
For Americans at home, the end of WWII in Europe and the Pacific meant peace and reconstruction of Europe with the Marshall Plan. But in the wake of the war, another war continued on. The formation of the Soviet Bloc and the hostilities between rival groups in Eastern Europe, and between collaborators and Resistance fighters in Western Europe continued. Food and necessities were rationed (well into the Fifties, did you know?) and as often is the case, a population turns on itself after a war is over and an external enemy is defeated.

Here is the story of many of these conflicts, something that Americans are not so familiar with. For example, Yugoslavia, Greece and Italy had "partisans" who fought the Germans, and after the war continued, were unwilling to lay down arms and still at war with factions. Yugoslavia was created as a country under strongman Tito, but ultimately broke apart in more bitter civil war decades later, after Tito's death.

Disease and privation was rampant--though we remember the Berlin airlift, other parts of Europe saw diseases of starvation such as pellagra (a niacin deficiency) --especially in Romania where corn is a staple and processed corn is notably lacking in that nutrient.

More disruption and violence; a civil war in Greece, the subjugation of Eastern Europe under the Soviet bloc. It's all in this worthy history and lest we forget how Europe formed itself, with blood and tears after the worst war in its history, we should read this and remember. Recommended.
50 internautes sur 53 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Overwhelmed by the Magnitude 4 mars 2013
Par Jeffrey Swystun - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Lowe covers one of the most amazing periods in human history. From January, 1945 to the end of hostilities in Europe there was an escalation of violence that increased the military and civilian losses compared with early periods in the war. Instead of winding down, the conflict intensified creating an apocalyptic landscape. This did not stop when the Axis powers unconditionally surrendered. The end of the war set off a period of vengeance producing famine, displacement, ethnic cleansing, and lawlessness. Institutions that held countries together were destroyed and the winning powers were overwhelmed or used the situation to advance political agendas. The end result was citizens of Europe, battered by war, were hardly better off in peace.

The book roughly covers from 1944 to 1949 with the majority looking at the latter half of 1945. Thankfully the author shares a concern of mine, that is "the plethora of vague and unsubstantiated statistics that are regularly bandied about in discussions concerning this period." Of course, this is bound to happen given the scale of World War Two including the deaths of 35-40 million people. Savage Continent is obviously well researched and supported but is missing the narrative skill that historians like Beevor and Hastings provide. The content and subject matter is harsh, brutal and Lowe seems overwhelmed by the magnitude to humanize these events. It comes off as stark statistics that numb over time. Yet, this history is still an important contribution to the period's study. Other books covering this subject readers may wish to look at include: After the Reich by MacDonough, Exorcising Hitler by Tayler, Postwar by Judt, Armageddon by Hastings, Germany 1945 by Bessei, and Endgame by Stafford.
18 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A horrifying and heart breaking story 21 août 2012
Par Hatter - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This book examines the physical and moral devastation produced by WWII and how the survivors (both victims and victors) tried to cope in the immediate aftermath. The story is often horrifying and heart breaking, and I feel about this book, much as I feel about Holocaust memorials. In one sense I believe no one should ever have to view such images or contemplate such actions. In another sense I believe everyone should have to view such images and contemplate such actions. My wife keeps asking why I would want to read such a book, and I often wonder that myself. I have the idea that it is important to periodically stop and remember that war is not a fun filled, Hollywood romp, which is over in time for dinner. It produces consequences that endure long beyond our individual lifetimes. I also have the idea that we need to periodically be reminded of the evil which we are all capable of committing. Moral instruction and moral behavior are important precisely because we are all capable of unspeakable evil.

The following is an excerpt from the book and relates an article (by Ilya Ehrenburg) published in Pravda after the Russians liberated the first of the Nazi death camps:

"Ask a captured German why his countrymen destroyed six million innocent people and he will answer 'They are Jews. They are black or red haired. They have different blood.' All this began with stupid jokes, with the shouts of streets kids, with signposts, and it led to Majdanek, Babi Yar, Treblinka, to ditches filled with children's corpses."

In the midst of our current US Presidential election campaign, this book also reminded me of how morally corrosive hatred and hatefulness are. Yes, they are also very powerful motivators, and perhaps our politicians will ride those forces to electoral victory, much as Hitler and the Nazis did. But at what cost? When we vilify and demonize everyone who holds a different opinion, who wears different clothes, who has a different conception of God, who lives in a different area, and/or who has a different income level, we slowly destroy our own sense of compassion, empathy, and shared humanity. If we continue to indulge in the increasingly hate filled politics of the past several decades, I believe it will not matter which candidate wins, our country, ourselves, and our claim to any meaningful morality will have lost.

This is an important, although often disturbing book, and probably is unsuitable for some readers. I cannot say I enjoyed the book, but I think it deserves a wide reading.
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