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

Postwar by Tony Judt
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May 06, 2010

it was amazing
Read in April, 2008

I have often referred to this book as a great act of hubris and an uncommon realization of the author's ambition. The sheer audacity in enclosing a continent's history over 60 years in one spine is staggering and only pales in comparison to the striking amount of detail and context Judt provides his readers. In many ways Postwar is the ultimate starting point for anyone who seeks to enhance their postwar history chops, in other ways Judt provides a perfect condensation of thousands of postwar texts, providing an original review of nearly all pertinent developments, and I again stress that no author has approached "all" in this genre to such a degree of completion.

Judt does not focus solely on political development and is certainly not a "Great Man" historian, although he does provide detailed portraits of the drivers of Europe's postwar history. Instead Postwar encompasses social movements, intellectual debates, economic conditions, the slight variations of oppression in the Eastern Bloc, and the importance of music and film in imagining and conceptualizing the shifting understandings of life on the old continent after its suicide. A great achievement in prose and non-fiction, Judt's Postwar is the Complete Idiot's Guide to Postwar Europe for the thinking man.
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