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Friday, July 12, 2013


Tony Judt is one of the most renowned, relatively (2010) recently deceased public intellectuals, historians around. His book Postwar - A History of Europe since 1945 is a massive - in physical size and scope - undertaking to tell the history of the divided - and then re-united - continent following the two wars that shaped its destiny. He devotes 900 pages to this endeavor, which yet is obviously impossible, he is obliged to concentrate on a number of major states while putting forward major trends and faultlines.

For me it was a fascinating introduction into regional and temporal parts of history I had been little familiar with previously. Necessarily slightly superficial where I already had a good understanding, essentially Germany and to some extent France, but ever there Judt contributed new elements or analysis to my understanding. Most valuable though, was the book for me where I knew hardly anything about such as Eastern Europe but also, say, Italian or UK history of the 1960s-1970s. The end with it heavy concentration on the very recent past seemed a bit redundant for anybody well versed with the news of the day (say, the last ten-fifteen years), yet a great overview for anybody interested in European history.

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