1450 Blossom Hill Rd, San Jose, Ca
Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II, By Keith Lowe
4.5 stars, 496pp
"A superb and immensely important book."―Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
The Second World War might have officially ended in May 1945, but in reality it rumbled on for another ten years...
The end of World War II in Europe is remembered as a time when cheering crowds filled the streets, but the reality was quite different. Across Europe, landscapes had been ravaged, entire cities razed, and more than thirty million people had been killed in the war. The institutions that we now take for granted―such as police, media, transport, and local and national government―were either entirely absent or compromised. Crime rates soared, economies collapsed, and whole populations hovered on the brink of starvation.. In Savage Continent, Keith Lowe describes a continent where individual Germans and collaborators were rounded up and summarily executed, where concentration camps were reopened, and violent anti-Semitism was reborn. In some of the monstrous acts of ethnic cleansing the world has ever seen, tens of millions were expelled from their ancestral homelands. Savage Continent is the story of post–war Europe, from the close of the war right to the establishment of an uneasy stability at the end of the 1940s. Based principally on primary sources from a dozen countries, Savage Continent is the chronicle of a world gone mad, the standard history of post–World War II Europe for years to come.
This is the description from Graham about why he nominated this book:
The Iron Curtain book describes conditions in Eastern Europe after the war and the situation of being occupied by the Russians. The Russians were interested in extracting war reparations and did engage in expropriation. The book then describes how the political situation in Eastern Europe was manipulated to create Communist societies similar to the Soviet state. The tactics and propaganda as well as the chosen leaders are described with particular focus on Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Other countries are also covered.
This is a very difficult book to write as the archival materials are in a dozen different languages. The writing is clear and easy to follow and the writer is clearly quite deeply knowledgeable. Thedifficulty of writing such a book is probably why no one has written such a book previously. ( to the best of my knowledge)
Members: We will also be picking the books for our next reading list at this meeting. The suggestions will have been brought to January's meeting and collected, and we will have had a month to consider them before voting.