I am not sure why I bought this book. The history of western Europe after the war does not exactly seem the most fun to hear portion of human history; in fact, one would expect a lot of economic numbers about what Europe rebuild while all of the interesting historical stuff was happening in Russia, the US or in Asia.
Certainly true, western Europe is not just economic growth but there was a lot going on at the time. First, these were the times were the foundations of the European Union were put into place. As a French, I always took that as a given and view the Germans as some of the friendliest in Europe (certainly more than the French). Nothing like that post-war, I did not know that, even in the fifties and sixties, the German government acted to stop the prosecution of known nazis or that a third of Germans had favorable views of Hitler (of course, that's very different now!). Second, I did not realize the general cultural boom all across Europe, specially given the current constant hammering of American pop culture in modern Europe. Third, there is a lot of dark history to be learnt from eastern Europe and its complete abandonment by the western countries.
The greatness of the book is the material is delivered in a very lively manner, in a way that is very accessible to a history layman. The only possible cost of this is that the economic history has certainly taken the back seat, and (while this is just my opinion) it seems that most of western history is due to politicians rather than the evermore inter-connected business world.
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