Zach's Reviews > Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945

Postwar by Tony Judt
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M_50x66
's review
Apr 29, 12

Read from April 08 to 29, 2012

Reading Tony Judt’s Post-War makes you a better person. It is, in fact, difficult to ‘review’ a book that covers Europe, c. 1945-2005. Perhaps it is not perfect, I am not the best historian to ask, but what I can say is you should- perhaps must- read it. Especially if you are an American asking the normal Yank questions: ‘Europe, WFT?’ It pleases me to no end to see that in Judt the great tradition of British Historiography lives on. He writes with verve and panache and is not afraid to make judgments. Post-War neither hails the dawn of European golden age nor bemoans the impossibility of such an age; rather it seeks to understand the past in such away that facilitates moral and ethical engagement with the present. Thankfully Judt facilitates such engagement not by preaching or sermonizing but by telling a story, the story of how Europe got here. Moreover Judt can write. At 830 pages Post-War is daunting, yet it never lags and- more often than not- he leaves you wanting to know more about a given moment rather than slogging through details. He artfully counterpoints survey and anecdote and leaves no arena untouched. Nor is Judt in the business of making or breaking heroes. Men and women are men and women who make good and bad decisions. He holds leaders and nations to task, but he also understands how good- or rather normal- people can and do make reprehensible choices. I really can’t recommend Post-War highly enough. Read it.
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