Tony Judt's 'Postwar' makes one lament the overuse of the word 'groundbreaking.' It is an unprecedented accomplishment; the first truly European history of contemporary Europe, from Lisbon to Leningrad, based on research in six languages, covering thirty-four countries across sixty years in a single integrated narrative, using a great deal of material from newly available sources. Tony Judt has drawn on forty years of reading and writing about modern Europe to create a fully rounded, deep account of the continent's recent past. The book integrates international relations, domestic politics, ideas, social change, economic development, and culture - high and low - into a single grand narrative. Every country has its chance to play the lead, and although the big themes are superbly handled - including the cold war, the love/hate relationship with America, cultural and economic malaise and rebirth, and the myth and reality of unification - none of them is allowed to overshadow the rich pageant that is the whole. Vividly and clearly written for the general reader; witty, opinionated, and full of fresh and surprising stories and asides; visually rich and rewarding, with useful and provocative maps, photos, and cartoons throughout, Postwar is a movable feast for lovers of history and lovers of Europe alike.
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