The Second World War might have officially ended in May 1945, but in reality it rumbled on for another 10 years....
The end of the Second World War in Europe is one of the 20th century's most iconic moments. It is fondly remembered as a time when cheering crowds filled the streets, danced, drank and made love until the small hours. These images of victory and celebration are so strong in our minds that the period of anarchy and civil war that followed has been forgotten.
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 the police, the media, transport, local and national government-were either entirely absent or hopelessly compromised. Crime rates were soaring, economies collapsing, and the European population was hovering on the brink of starvation.
In Savage Continent, Keith Lowe describes a continent still racked by violence, where large sections of the population had yet to accept that the war was over. Individuals, communities and sometimes whole nations sought vengeance for the wrongs that had been done to them during the war. Germans and collaborators everywhere were rounded up, tormented and summarily executed. Concentration camps were reopened and filled with new victims who were tortured and starved. Violent anti-Semitism was reborn, sparking murders and new pogroms across Europe. Massacres were an integral part of the chaos and in some places-particularly Greece, Yugoslavia and Poland, as well as parts of Italy and France - they led to brutal civil wars. In some of the greatest acts of ethnic cleansing the world has ever seen, tens of millions were expelled from their ancestral homelands, often with the implicit blessing of the Allied authorities.
Savage Continent is the story of post WWII Europe, in all its ugly detail, from the end of the war right up until the establishment of an uneasy stability across Europe toward the end of the 1940s. Based principally on primary sources from a dozen countries, Savage Continent is a frightening and thrilling chronicle of a world gone mad, the standard history of post WWII Europe for years to come.
©2012 Keith Lowe (P)2012 Tantor
"Authoritative but never dry, stripping away soothing myths of national unity and victimhood, this is a painful but necessary historical task superbly done." (Kirkus)
I think this book might be better in print -- as an audio book it comes off more as just a listing of events with X number of victims and Y location, repeat. I've read a ton of WWII books and I've read (listened) to all the available post-WWII books on Audible, this is not one of my favorites. I have a pretty high tolerance for facts and figures in audio format and even with that this book came off as dry with the exception of a few chapters. If you're a very tough listener and very interested in this period of time give it a listen -- also check out other reviewers and see what they think and don't just rely on this opinion alone.
This is an excellent story marred by narration that is painful for me to listen to at times.
The story covers a chapter in European history that I haven't seen addressed on its own before. The beginning of the story is a rehash of some of the worst atrocities that occurred during WWII, followed by an examination of life after the war.
The narrator has an accent (Scottish, to my hear) that is fine, and he speaks clearly most of the time. However, he frequently tries to also assume the accent of the character that is being quoted, as if that character spoke English: English with a "German" accent, English with a "French" accent, English with a "Russian" accent, etc. He never quite pulls it off satisfactorily and the result is almost painful to listen to. It distracts me to the point that instead of listening the story, I find myself trying to figure out if he's supposed to be a Russian or a Serb or whatever. A narrator like George Guidall could have made it work, but unfortunately John Lee doesn't.
I plan to buy the book and read it since the subject matter is fascinating to me, but this was a difficult listen.
This is a book for readers interested in a recitation of the number of buildings destroyed in a given locality in Europe, the number of people displaced, and general acknowledgements that the war really disrupted people's lives. While the book sprinkles in quotes from people saying that the destruction was terrible, they weren't given enough context to care about them at all.
No. I prefer books that tell a story through the eyes of its participants.
I have listened to the Ken Follett books narrated by John Lee and enjoyed his narration but this book was a terrible fit for him. The book is simply boring and having a very dramatic narrator like Mr. Lee is absolutely jarring.
Disappointment and frustration.
Something new to add to post war Europe.
Possibly, the changing of accents frequently gets to be a bit much.
The reality of the damage to Europe was staggering. I had no idea of post war Europe before this book.
Absolutely It tells the history of the aftermath of World War II one that we were not taught in school. Very well done. It goes well with Winter World. A must read
Instructrive about how a large war end. Most of us that did not participate to the event remember only the glorious parade.
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