A history of contemporary Europe includes coverage of thirty four countries and draws on a wide range of newly available sources to document the region s economic development, culture, politics, and , in a volume complemented by maps, photos, and cartoon illustrations , first printing When you think of Europe, nature s paradise , picturesque sights, romantic evenings, vibrant people, effervescent life and soccer league immediately comes into mind Apart from these, there are products whose quality itself makes you identify it with an European nation Perfection is the tag that goes with Swiss watches, German cars, Italian designer clothes, Belgian chocolates , French kitchenware and Danish furniture There are positive aspects that have been missed out but there is no point in discussing it here because the book is about something else Behind the facade of aforementioned goodness and virtues, there is buried a very diabolic and virulent past, which is etched in surviving generation who have gone through the nightmares For others, unfortunate past will be kept alive in the form of books, media and memoirs The protracted World War II which began with Hitler s invasion of Poland in Sep 1939 and ended with it s unconditional surrender in May 1945, was a total war which involved both military and civilians,and resulted in utter misery and desolation Post World war offered a ray of hope but it was too feeble under prevailing circumstances It presented conundrum issues in multitude.There may be only few cities or towns which were not sucked into the war The human losses was uncountable and even if the number of casualties are recorded, it s questionable The scale of destruction, once threatened to lead the world to apocalypse People vanished in large numbers This includes extermination in death camps or killing field, diseases, starvation , shooting and burning The war was not restricted to battles and movement but people had to endure horrific times where everybody have lost something and many lost everything It was an anarchic situation where political parties were banned and elections rigged People were hounded by the series of events and horrified by contemplating unforeseeable future The race which suffered inexplicable ordeals and pain were Jews The history has been unkind to them Not only German driven Holocaust, but Polish, Swish , French and Dutch contributed no less to their suffering They were identified, arrested , deported and subjected to death The war if persisted for few years would have completely obliterated Jews from this world Post war , the myriad number of displaced and battered civilians presented a complicated problem to Europe and that was hitherto refugee crisis The problem was that of feeding , housing , clothing and caring people in still not unified Europe The economy of most nation was in doldrums but the situation has called for public investment The moot question before government was where to channelize the investments when the resource was scarce.The war was a blizzard and once it passed through, it hardly provided the required relief to European colonial powers The war left nations like Britain and France in economic shambles To add to their woes, there were increasing demand from Asian and African colonies which compelled this powers to relinquish their traditional claims During the war , Britain had lost some territories to Japan Their surrender to Japanese forces in Singapore was a humiliation from which Britain could never recover France too suffered humiliating defeats in Indo China, which along with Syria, Lebanon and North African nations like Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia were its key colonies The colonial power were following the lower trajectory and were in steady decline Moreover, military defeats , domestic instability and economic deterioration compounded their problem So it did not make much sense to hold on to colonies and soon these nations began to retreat from their colonies It was an economically, politically and militarily predicament for these powers For few centuries, they have kept the colonial subjects under servitude Now the myth of European might and invincibility was broken.Post World War II, there was a shift in power equation Traditional power like Germany was defeated while France and England, albeit victorious were completely drained out Two new superpowers emerged USA and Soviet Union Then entire Europe was polarized The Western Europe was under the influence of USA while Eastern Europe became satellite states of Soviet Union and headed by Communist government There was a distrust and there was a geopolitical tension between Western and Eastern blocs, which came to be known as Cold War This continued for than four decades Due to the intensifying Cold War, there was no peace treaty The Europeans lived under the shadow of World War and there was always a scary anticipation of a third What troubled American blocs were the possibility of German revival again and expansion of Soviet Union These were the rationales that gave birth to NATO , which was inter government military alliances between USA and most of the Western European nations, with the key objective was to strengthen western allies against possible attack of Soviet Union on Western Europe On similar lines, Eastern European formed a similar alliance known as Warsaw Pact Both USA and Soviet Union started flexing muscles on their sphere of influence After Suez Canal was nationalized by Egypt, France and Britain had secretly planned to attack Egypt but the plan was shot down by the USA The objective of Sovietization of Eastern Europe was to draw it steadily away from Western Europe They were in a position to eliminate anyone, it wished in the Soviet blocs through staged administrative procedures and false testimonies and confessions Their military tanks also entered Hungary and erst while Czechoslovakia, when they felt Communism was threatened These Soviet satellite states exercised authority at home and at the same time maintained modus vivendi with the Soviet Union The single parties and its rulers in their respective boundaries were suffering from megalomania Staying in power was such an obsession The immediate aftermath of the World War II left most cities shattered and the male workforce out of the scene It was a revival time to atone what have been lost after staggering times During the first five years , nations began to put their economies on the track Then begin an era of exultant and prosperity, an unprecedented one in the next two decade in Western Europe Germany, whose infrastructure like roads, railways, shipyards, factories and mines had survived the war, were in the forefront surprisingly The Nazis in the 30 s had invested in communications, vehicle manufacturing, optics, light engineering industries The objective was war but it began to pay divided post World War economic revival Companies like Mercedes Benz and BMW went on to established reputation for engineering quality and manufacturing reliability After three decades of economies, growth in Western Europe followed inflation and declining growth rates, resulting in unemployment and social discontentment Post Yom Kippur War in 1973, where Syria and Egypt attacked Israel, Arab nation doubled the price of oil in frustration with Western support for Israel, leading to rising oil import bills This coupled with inflation and declining exports led to budget deficit and payment crisis There was recession in every traditional industries like coal, iron and steel From 1980 onwards, economy was again on track First, governments accelerated development in technology and financial market Secondly , they offloaded non performing public assets and the money helped them to balance the budget, albeit in short term On the other side, communist economies were in doldrums and in a wobblier state from the beginning They barely managed to provide citizen with sufficient food Mass productions of redundant industrial goods were produced On the contrary, there were demand for consumer goods but supply was never sufficient and was of mediocre quality Distribution and sale of goods was badly managed There was skimming and rampant corruption , which lead to artificial induced scarcity.Amidst the progress, there was also a discontentment in certain section and region, regarding unfulfilled expectations and loss of pride This gave way to spurt of terrorism across the prosperous region of Western Europe There have been frustrated call for Basque independence, comprising of regions of France and Spain This lead to armed struggle with the authority When Ireland was finally relinquished, The United Kingdom still retained Northern Ireland, which they felt had a sizeable Protestant majority However , this abandonment was an humiliation to certain section of mainland Irish population , who under the flagship of IRA demanded unification , if possible by force Another group that emerged was from West Germany by the name of Baader Meinhof They indulged in bombing, shooting, assassination, kidnapping, taking hostages and robberies They assassinated soldiers, policemen, politicians and some person holding key positions German partner in World War Italy was bedevilled by Left terrorists They were into murders, mutilations, assault, kidnapping Their victims include politicians , policemen and magistrates, prosecutors and judges Some of these organizations had also collusion with West Asian counterpart.The Soviet Union which played a key role in defeat of Hitler, occupied half of Europe In military weapons, it matched west for four decades More than 30% of its resources were diverted towards military funding Later the burden was too much The Soviet Union and communism was beginning to crumble Communism depends on control of economy, knowledge, opinion, people and their movement Soviet Union also exercised control over its satellite states There were demonstrations in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968 but was crushed by Soviet tanks.This invasion left a very bad taste but the message was conveyed that East Europe was deviating from ideological politics During later years, communism was no longer an obstacle but ironically it was becoming irrelevant After liberal minded Micheal Gorbachev became head of Soviet Union, he preached freedom of choice and reforms from within Not only control on citizen was relaxed but also satellite states In 1989, there was storm of revolutions, which began in Poland and soon extended to Czechoslovakia, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and East German One common feature was the irrepressible campaign and demonstrations in opposition to single party rule and change.The upshot was the fall of Communism from Central and Eastern Europe There was solemn abjuration of Communism.Four established nations disappeared from world map Fourteen new countries were born East Germany was unified with West Germany Czechoslovakia became two separate nations Czech Republic and Slovakia USSR and Yugoslavia disappeared in the course of 90 s and what remained was splintering of new nations Balkan region was a dormant region ready to erupt at any time The region was plagued by xenophobia Then chain of events led to full fledged ethnic war , resulting in disintegration of pluralistic Yugoslavia and creation of five new nations as an aftermath Soviet Union case was a remarkable one where there was no war, no catastrophe and no bloody revolution It s institution and authority lost relevance and soon evaporated The breakup resulted in formation of eleven new nations in 1991.In the last decade of 20th century, there was a greater emphasis on European Unity European union was formed , which is a unified trade and monetary body of member countries It eliminates border control between members, which allow flow of goods and people Anything manufactured in one country can be sold to other member country and that too without any additional tariffs or duties Taxes were standardized and a common currency Euro was introduced Now it had become a possibility for families to work in one nation and stay in another.The world order had changed from what it was immediately after World War II There have been lot of positive developments but still atmosphere of distrust, resentment and lack of confidence stays on The relation between US and Europe is on frosty ground The rift widened after US generals were reluctant to share decision making with European counterpart during Balkan war NATO future goal is obscure and after end of Cold War, it has lost its relevance European Union is now powerful enough to put pressure on US Congress and on individual American manufacturers to conform to its norms and regulations or else risk being squeezed out of their market The future of the relationship looks unpropitious.Though ex Communist countries were inducted into European Union, still investors are wary of risking their capitals there Chronic absence of legal protection is an issue Even German investors are not investing on the eastern side as they can find better quality and low wage worker in Poland and Slovakia In the last month, Catalonia in Spain was in news as their parliament voted to declare independence The Catalonia parliament was dissolved by Spanish head of State Catalonia is virtually a state within a state with its own language, institutions and governing councils.The book was shortlisted for Pulitzer Prize The subject is extensive and comprehensive Every key event and occasions have been covered The review has been written based on the contents that could be retained in memory after completion of the book The author deserves loads of appreciation for presenting such a vast subject and wealth of information in a simple and lucid manner The presentation of the subject matters has been done with such finesse that this 960 page book managed to hold on to my attention till the last page It s must have been an arduous task on the part of author to do an research on the subject He has been scrupulous with his observation The book subject matter is simply outside the ambit of the review It cannot do justice to the book If you are a history buff, this cannot be missed It has to be in your collection The book is worth every penny and time spent on it This is highly recommended. Pretty good Excellently researched and laid out Couldn t get past the idea that the book seemed like a postwar history of the major European Powers Yes, they played important roles but every page Germany , The U.K , Italy, France , The USSR Of course, the bookk is titled Post War, so these nations perspectives are highly relevant However, even when references to smaller nations would serve better in enlightening a particular issue, he reverts to the big guns gets a bit annoying after the fifteenth time per chapter The book cannot be faulted otherwise Just a personal gripe I am trying to move beyond the top down approach to history I guess I see there are a lot of views expressed in the reviews here disagreeing with Judt s viewpoints on various issues By and large I am happy with his views although at various points his emphases are different to mine.What most interests me however is how this book covers certain key areas of European development which I have not previously had the opportunity of considering in such depth.These are The extent of the devastation of almost all Europe and the necessary reconstruction, apparently accomplished with amazing speed after the war, and the enormous importance of cleverly designed Marshall Aid in achieving this The development of the Iron Curtain, the rapidly changing perceptions by the rest of the world of Stalin s intentions and activities, and in particular how this was experienced by the eastern European countries themselves I had mostly been used to considering this from a western perspective.The development of the Common Market, mostly at the instigation of the French, who just as they had after the First World War, wanted to protect themselves, but this time the muscle and strength was always and increasingly provided by Germany.Prior to reading this book I didn t really understand quite how the EEC had worked, its parameters, its purpose and limitations.Judt s views on later events were less revelatory to me because I had been there at the time, but his perspectives are always interesting.Judt takes great care to consider the experience of many different countries, and as he does so I learned an enormous amount about the differences between say the Czech, the Polish, the Yugoslavian experience of being communist.His epilogue is a consideration of the experience of the Jews after the war and I found this too especially valuable, and although he does not discuss the state of Israel, Judt helped me understand why the establishment of the Israeli state was so important. This is a great read particularly if you want a very clearly explained history of the economic development of Europe as a whole since the 1940 s to now After getting well into the book I had to go back to read the author s profile to remember he was not an established economist but a historian The writing is crystal clear and comprehensive This is one of the best histories I have read in a long time. As much thought, effort, knowledge, research, etc was invested in the subject of East Europe, that much and less was NOT invested in the subject of Yugoslavia It is disappointing how badly was case of Yugoslavia presented As it was written by an amateur writer.In the chapters and paragraphs that are explaining Yugoslavia, there was not even an attempt to investigate, explore, analyze and synthesize the data, facts and resource texts, the way it was done for the rest of the East.For example, it is stated that Yugoslavia s republic of Slovenia with 7% of population was contributing with about 25% of Yugoslavia s exports.There is no attempt to investigate and explain, how or why was that The way it is put in the book, it suggests that Slovenians are, taller, prettier, handsomer, smarter, cleverer at the end, this may be so cynically I add , than the rest of Yugoslavs.There is no attempt even to try to state the fact that Yugoslav economy was also the case of planned economy The same as in the East bloc Like in the case of East Germany, which was delegated to make computers for eastern bloc, or Czechoslovakia that was making steel.Yugoslavia was, if you look it from that perspective, small East Bloc for itself.It also does not mention anything about favorite East Bloc economy planning tool, Five Year Plan and planed transfer of industries In case of Yugoslavia,there was a transfer of industrial companies, machines, people, knowledge and everything else associated, before 1948 from Vojvodina north of Serbia to Slovenia and Albania Also It does not say that many Slovenians were exiled by Nazis to Serbia, and that they survived the war because of the help of Serbians.What I want to say is that, there was no effort by the author to explain that it was not only the enterprise spirit that made Slovenia exporter It was delegated to them too, by politburo of SKJ In Yugoslavia, factories, companies, mines, etc were established per order of The Party, not only by economic wisdom, or common sense.Also, statements about Serbia are very much as if the author gave this chapter to one of his students to write, and he or she just copied Madeleine Albright who also survived the war because of the help of Serbians , or William G Walker opinions and statements.I have to add that, the introductory statement that Yugoslavia didn t die, but was killed, is really good summary of what was going on over there.For the rest of the book, I think that is really very well written As far as I know Great book by the author as always I am impressed with the wide scope of the material and thoughts that went into writing this book which accounts for its size of course The author s pace from the end of WW2 up to the mid 2000 s is actually very reasonable not too caught up in specific details and not to superficial to make the information useless Like most North Americans my knowledge of Europe revolved mainly around historic wars and major global political issues like the Cold War and I really had no clear understanding of the EU and what it meant to Europeans From this book one grasps that the complexity of the new relationship between the states of postwar Europe is totally different from the relationships between 50 States of the U.S And that the global environment that we know as the 21st century is totally incomparable to that of 18th century s birthing grounds for the U.S It is obvious that the European approach to what might be termed federation has to be carefully orchestrated within the context of today as well as so many long term issues that dominate the history of Europe that one has to truly wonder what the probability of their success will be This book has given me much to think about and wetted my appetite to read on the subject.On the negative side, this is one of those authors that likes to write in 50 word imagery It can be very distracting to feel you have to keep a dictionary Google page constantly handy to look up what words mean It is NOT written for the general public IMHO but if you don t mind being fairly constantly challenged with his English vocabulary and references, it is worth the read It would have helped a great deal of this ebook had been one linked to a dictionary so that you could quickly double click a word phrase and get back to the thought before you get lost It did not offer that tool. Excelente texto, muito detalhado, permite ver a hist ria de uma forma diferente da vista nos livros escolares.Um dos livros mais importantes para o entendimento dos movimentos sociais e pol ticos da Europa do p s guerra. This is no easy read To be frank, I started reading on Kindle last August and I am 80% through It is a massive piece of work In his book Postwar Tony Judt describes in sometimes excruciating detail, the economic, social and political changes as well as the reasons for the changes in all the countries of Europe The work is probably most valuable as a reference on subjects such as for example the fall of communism, the effect of the transistor radio on 1960 s youth, the impact of the EU I could go on.Judt sometimes writes difficult sentences and has a habit of using unusual words so that frequent references to a dictionary are required A annoying habit is the insertion of French phrases Frustrating to non French speakers.These are my only criticisms The reader gains insight into how the modern world developed as well as the idea that we take much for granted The Europe of today is truly miraculous when seen from the perspective of the devastation in 1945. Anyone interested in knowing and understanding the sequelae of two world wars during the 20th and the early years of the 21st centuries will have to read Tony Judt s account in Post War This is an incredibly readable and exhaustive account of the history of Europe between 1945 and 2005 Almost always, but not exclusively, political, this book is recounts the major issues that have plagued, helped, or otherwise influenced events in Europe during this time span Judt writes forcefully, coherently, almost as an insider, taking a step back from purely academic writing, making a real effort to reach otherwise unreached audiences with an interest in this subject Further, Judt does not fall into the trap of playing to his social democratic positions the book is remarkable balanced in the different appraisals that are made While editorial at times, with many choices made throughout this account as to what will and will not be addressed, one comes away from this book with a broad view of history during this troubled time when the planet was recovering has it ever recovered from collective trauma A must read A must read A must read.