To someone wishing to have an introduction to twentieth century European history, 550 pages may seem off-putting. However, my advice would be to persevere. Although the subject matter is hard, Ian Kershaw`s language is extremely accessible and he draws you into what is, essentially, the ultimate thriller.
In these 550 pages you basically have everything you need to know about the first half of Europe`s twentieth century i.e. both world wars, the lead up to both world wars, and the turbulent years in between. If you want to know how Mussolini came to power, it is here. If you want to know how Hitler came to power, it is here. If, like me, you are interested in what was happening in countries like Slovakia and Hungary in 1918 - 1920, again, it is here.
I had expected this book to be mainly a political and military history, but social and cultural history is also covered, and very well. For example, the great novels of the period are discussed e.g. Ernst Juenger`s Storm of Steel, Aldous Huxley`s Brave New World and George Orwell`s The Road to Wigan Pier amongst others. Indeed, George Orwell allows the author to show his sense of humour, when Ian Kershaw gently chastises George Orwell for not attending the Wigan 10 - 17 Liverpool Stanley Rugby League game in February 1936 while he was preparing to write The Road to Wigan Pier. Yes, amazingly, Ian Kershaw does manage some lighter moments into this seminal history.
If you are an A level student of European history or a European languages student or a European area studies student, you have to read this book.
To Hell and Back: Europe, 1914-1949 Pocketbok – 18 Maj 2016
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Ian Kershaw is the author of Hitler, Fateful Choices and The End.
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In the summer of 1914 most of Europe plunged into a war so catastrophic that it unhinged the continent's politics and beliefs in a way that took generations to recover from. The disaster terrified its survivors, shocked that a civilization that had blandly assumed itself to be a model for the rest of the world had collapsed into a chaotic savagery beyond any comparison. In 1939 Europeans would initiate a second conflict that managed to be even worse - a war in which the killing of civilians was central and which culminated in the Holocaust.
- ASIN : 0141980435
- Utgivare : Penguin Books Ltd; 1:a utgåvan (18 Maj 2016)
- Språk : Engelska
- Pocketbok : 624 sidor
- ISBN-10 : 9780141980430
- ISBN-13 : 978-0141980430
- Rangordning för bästsäljare: #71,483 i Böcker (Visa Topp 100 i Böcker)
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weighty but worth itGranskad i Storbritannien den 18 juli 2017
You might think, in view of the period covered, that this book would be full of military campaigns and generals. In fact, the generals get hardly a mention and the military aspects only enough coverage to allow for understanding who were winners and losers. the book concentrates on the socio-political history and attempts to show political cause and consequence. Thus Kershaw explains not only the horror of Stalin's persecutions and deportations, but also his (twisted) logic. Same with Hitler: not just what he did but why. In no way does he defend their actions, but he shows what was going on in their paranoid minds. He shows how the political failures and naivety of the western powers allowed Hitler to get ahead of the game and also how his backers in Germany only realised afterwards what a monster they had allowed to be born. The suffering and hunger of millions is of course a major theme, as is the to and fro between conservatism and socialism. The link between weak democracy and vulnerability to demagogues is likewise demonstrated. Overall, a very worthwhile if somewhat laborious read.
11 människor tyckte detta var till hjälp
A timely reminderGranskad i Storbritannien den 18 maj 2016
A very timely reminder of what can happen, and did happen, when Europe gives up trying to cooperate and descends into chaos. We are very lucky to be alive today and not in the first half of the 20th century like our grand and great-grand parents. Ian Kershaw's great skill is in describing a Europe which is not so different from the one we know today despite the technological developments of the past 70 years. The two World Wars are not so long ago, and far too recent to be forgotten now.
25 människor tyckte detta var till hjälp
First classGranskad i Storbritannien den 29 mars 2019
As good a history book as you'll ever read. Covering 2 world wars and everything in between this is exactly the level of depth I wanted as someone who had only a limited understanding of the subject. Eloquently written, thoroughly readable, the author skilfully pulls together the various strands of factors affecting the continent at this time.
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An excellent overview of a key period of modern European historyGranskad i Storbritannien den 16 maj 2017
As you would expect from Ian Kershaw, this provides a very well written, authoritative and excellent overview of the traumas facing Europe in this crucial period of history. It is a very timely reminder (when many have grown used to a generation of peace across most of Europe) of the way that the continent was torn apart by war, divisions and national rivalries in the first half of the 20th century.
4 människor tyckte detta var till hjälp