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Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 (Anglais) Broché – 5 septembre 2006
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Description du produit
Revue de presse
"Judt's massive, learned, brilliantly detailed account of Europe's recovery from the wreckage of World War II presents a whole continent in panorama even as it sets off detonations on almost every page." --The New York Times Book Review
"Remarkable... The writing is vivid; the coverage-of little countries as well as of great ones-is virtually superhuman; and above all, the book is smart. Every page contains unexpected data, or a fresh observation, or a familar observation freshly turned." --Louis Menand, The New Yorker
"Impressive . . . Mr. Judt writes with enormous authority." --The Wall Street Journal
"Magisterial . . . It is, without a doubt, the most comprehensive, authoritative, and yes, readable postwar history." --The Boston Globe
"Brave and remakable." --The Washington Post
"Not likely to be surpassed for many years. . . . This is history writing at its best." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Présentation de l'éditeur
Winner of the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Book Award
One of the New York Times' Ten Best Books of the Year
Almost a decade in the making, this much-anticipated grand history of postwar Europe from one of the world's most esteemed historians and intellectuals is a singular achievement. Postwar is the first modern history that covers all of Europe, both east and west, drawing on research in six languages to sweep readers through thirty-four nations and sixty years of political and cultural change-all in one integrated, enthralling narrative. Both intellectually ambitious and compelling to read, thrilling in its scope and delightful in its small details, Postwar is a rare joy.
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I rarely stumble upon a book I think I should have read 15 years ago, but Tony Judt's seminal work "Postwar - A history of Europe since 1945" is undoubtedly one of them.
Retracing European history from the end of WWII to the early 2000's (he passed away in 2010) there was much to learn from it. It influenced greatly my own difficult relationship with Germany and my overall view on Europe.
Some points worth mentioning:
1. Homogenization of Europe
Judt points out that Europe has never been as homogenous as after WW II. The destruction of the Jews of Europe in addition to the (post) war deportation and expulsion of different ethnicities led for the first time to many multicultural states being managed by a single dominant ethnicity (such is the case in Poland). Far from praising the virtues of multiculturalism the author does hint that the post-war stability of Europe was made possible because of homogenization.
It is a bitter pill to swallow and it made me wonder how and where multicultural nation states were ever successful and without ethnic tensions in the long run.
2. Germany’s selective amnesia
The biggest issue I have with my native Germany is how highest ranking Nazi elites became part and parcel of postwar German society. Later, when the glorified 68 generation took over and criticized their Nazi parents this criticism was never turned into a deeper understanding of the Jewish people but turned into a belligerent and infantile left wing view on imperialism and the equation of Israel to the new Nazis. A very perverted and sick lesson to draw from having Nazi parents.
This view still lives on in Germany’s younger generation. It is neither grounded in history nor in a deeper understanding of socialism but is a mere wish to turn Germany’s recent past into an asset rather than a liability. It is because of Auschwitz that Germans have a higher moral ground on human rights issues and international conflicts while being protected by the umbrella of the mainly US funded NATO.
Although Judt did not succeed in convincing me otherwise he did explain how this selective amnesia was necessary to make Germany functioning again.
It is not fair but life rarely is.
Architecture isn’t really a subject I am much interested in but I didn’t know that the maddening ugliness of post war urban planning in Western Europe was a deliberate effort to break with the past. It was an eye opening fact to me.
There are lots of other points I could list here. I highly recommend this book to young students/professionals in Europe who want to understand themselves.
Although we portray ourselves as being progressive by advancing the idea of a politically unified Europe, this though experiment is deeply grounded in the WW II experience. The radical idea is rather to have a Europe of nation states in a purely economic union.
As long as the EU does not guarantee your military defense, doesn't pay your pension fund and so on, the entire idea remains a paper tiger to me. Germany’s total rejection of nationalism and its embrace of a politically union of Europe is primarily based on the current German hegemony on the continent. I am afraid it does not reflect European identity at large.
But whatever your ideas and opinions on Europe are, one should read "Postwar - A history of Europe since 1945".
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