We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 Audiobook

Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945

Regular Price:$31.47
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

A Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and Named One of the Ten Best Books of the Year by the New York Times Book Review.

Almost a decade in the making, this much-anticipated grand history of postwar Europe from one of the world’s most esteemed historians and intellectuals is a singular achievement. Postwar is the first modern history that covers all of Europe, both east and west, drawing on research in six languages to sweep listeners through 34 nations and 60 years of political and cultural change—all in one integrated, enthralling narrative. Both intellectually ambitious and compelling to read, thrilling in its scope and delightful in its small details, Postwar is a rare joy.

Tony Judt (1948–2010), the author of 11 books, was Erich Maria Remarque professor of European studies at New York University and director and founder of the Remarque Institute.

©2005 Tony Judt (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“A book that has the pace of a thriller and the scope of an encyclopedia…A very considerable achievement…Brilliant." (New York Review of Books)

“Remarkable…. The writing is vivid; the coverage—of little countries as well as of great ones—is virtually superhuman.” (The New Yorker)

“Massive, kaleidoscopic, and thoroughly readable…[Judt’s] book now becomes the definitive account of Europe’s rise from the ashes and its takeoff into an uncertain future.” (Time)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (742 )
5 star
 (450)
4 star
 (182)
3 star
 (68)
2 star
 (28)
1 star
 (14)
Overall
4.5 (592 )
5 star
 (391)
4 star
 (134)
3 star
 (42)
2 star
 (15)
1 star
 (10)
Story
4.3 (598 )
5 star
 (336)
4 star
 (160)
3 star
 (70)
2 star
 (19)
1 star
 (13)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    History Princeton Junction, NJ, United States 10-18-11
    History Princeton Junction, NJ, United States 10-18-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    707
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    20
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    81
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book, but not terrific listening"

    I thought this a really excellent analytical look at post-WWII European history. This isn't straight history, it is historical analysis. The author has a point of view and he isn't shy about sharing it.

    That being said, it is way too long and complex for audio to be its best vehicle. Yes, you can listen to it, but no, it wouldn't be my first choice. Lacking access to an index or the ability to flip back and reread a section to establish a context for what the author is currently discussing, I couldn't get as much out of this as I would have liked.

    Well written and competently read, there are obvious edits and issues with consistent recording levels that are unacceptable and should be fixed.

    The narrator is good, not exceptional. It's definitely worth your time ... but read it in print too.

    39 of 40 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike From Mesa 07-30-12 Member Since 2015

    MikeFromMesa

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2084
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    265
    188
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    382
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An intellectual's history"

    Having grown up in the period following the Second World War and having read a great deal about world events during this period I assumed that I knew most of what would be covered by this book but thought that a British view of European history might be both more interesting and more informed than what I had read previously and hence worth reading. I had no idea how little of what this book covers I actually knew.

    I have read many history books covering Europe since the Napoleonic Wars and expected this book to be written in a similar way – an accent on political events, the effect of new weapons on policy and the impact of world leaders on the events in their respective nations as well as those around them. I was both disappointed and pleased to find that this book is a very different type of history. World shaping events, such as the fall of communism and the liberation of the Eastern European nations from the Soviet grip, were covered relatively quickly (the decade of the fall of communism’s power over Eastern Europe was covered in one chapter) while extensive coverage is given to the intellectual basis for and philosophies of the pro-communist and anti-American movements. While some of the wars of the period are covered (for example the British, French and Israeli war against Egypt and the war after the breakup of Yugoslavia) these type of events do not seem to be the main area of interest for Mr Judt.

    Some examples of subjects covered by this book are the intellectual's blindness to Stalin’s terror, the large numbers of displaced persons left at the end of the Second World War and the resulting "ethnic cleansing" that took place with the cooperation of the Allies, the origins of and comparisons between the Social Democratic systems in Scandinavia, the spreading role of government in culture and the arts and the expanding role of European theaters and film. Mr Judt’s argument seems to be that these events and trends had much to do with the new shape that Europe was taking after the end of the war. I can only concur and think that the view of history that I had before reading this book was too narrow and simple.

    This is a very opinionated book. Much of what is presented as fact seems to be largely opinion. One example would be Mr Judt’s snide references to those who doubted the ability of the southern European nations to control their expenses enough to properly qualify for entry to the Euro zone. He sneered at those concerns and spoke of the financial probity of these nations, but we know now, of course, that he was completely wrong. It was not his being wrong that bothered me but rather his sneering reference to those who turned out to be right. Another example is his off-hand dismissal of Margaret Thatcher and her views with no facts presented to buttress his statements.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that this book was written by a British author and so the book contains a large number of British terms with which the reader may be unfamiliar. Examples are use of the world valve instead of tube, use of the phrase “put paid to”, the British value of thousand billion instead of trillion, the phrase "plastic macs" and so on. Another concern is the use of French, German and Italian phrases with no English translations with the view, I assume, that anyone intelligent enough to read this book would know the languages in question.

    Still, in spite of all, I think this is a book well worth reading. The narration is first class and I would recommend it to those who would like to know more about the post war development of the modern Europe as explained by someone without a US world view.

    22 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edie Gormet Caliornia 09-23-12
    Edie Gormet Caliornia 09-23-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    148
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Postwar,A History of Europe since 1945"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 to be better than the print version?

    I can't say. I get all my books as audio books now, I commute 4-5 hours a day and it is the thing that makes the commute bearable. My husband is going to read the book. I can say that one advantage to having a paper copy is to make notes.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945?

    There were numerous moments throughout the book that were memorable. I would also say that the overall message was riveting. I definitely believe this book should be required reading in High School and/or college. And, in assessing the status of today's world it would seem we have continued to set in motion a perpetuation of self destruction.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    The narrators voice was often grating on my nerves and boring to listen to.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    War and Greed


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Achlasaba 01-12-12
    Achlasaba 01-12-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    48
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    81
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A required book for history buffs."

    You may, or may not, agree with everything that the late Tony Judt wrote but this book is an incredible tour de force.

    Monumental in length - 43 hours in the narration and beautifully read - this book is a must.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen New York, NY, USA 07-02-15
    Stephen New York, NY, USA 07-02-15 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    24
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    88
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Marvelous, fascinating, lucid, rich ."
    Would you listen to Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 again? Why?

    This irreplaceable book examines the last seventy years of European history with sharp insight and complete mastery. Judt is a vivid in detail as he is perceptive in his analyses of this fascinating but incredibly complex period--the period that created our present world. If you want to know how the present came about, read it.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeremy NEW YORK, NY, United States 11-22-12
    Jeremy NEW YORK, NY, United States 11-22-12 Member Since 2012

    This is the kind of styles I like: good pace, cerebral, well-documented, meaty, mind-bending.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    67
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    276
    42
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    8
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Long book, does not get old"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peregrine Los Angeles, CA, United States 05-10-11
    Peregrine Los Angeles, CA, United States 05-10-11 Member Since 2016

    If it weren't for Audible I'd never get any reading done.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    360
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    228
    51
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    21
    4
    Overall
    "Yes it's long???deal with it."

    Postwar brilliantly and effectively traces how Europe rose from the rubble and death of WWII to become an imperfect but well-functioning community today. The tone is hard-nosed but surprisingly positive and optimistic. Judt had a reputation for a left-wing viewpoint, but in this book he does not have any ax to grind. He is, however, especially hard on nations (especially France) that weaseled their way out of responsibility for the Holocaust.

    Narrator Ralph Cosham is terrific, despite an overuse of a pause-and-raised-eyebrows intonation for Judt's numerous 'scare' quotes.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer 05-04-11 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Sweeping, Impressive, Long"

    This was a great book summarizing history, politics and economy in Europe since 1945. At times more detail than you might care for on a particular subject, but well written and well narrated. I have given up on other audiobooks with similar level of detail, but enjoyed this one greatly. If you like Jared Diamond, you will like Tony Judt.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rodney 03-18-12
    Rodney 03-18-12 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    293
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    260
    100
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    22
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very good book"

    Honestly I just didn't know that much about post WWII history in Europe until recently and this was part of learning about that period, about how Europe was rebuilt and how we got to where we are today.

    I'm giving the book 5-stars, if you have even a passing interest in this period you should pick-up this book without giving it another thought.

    With that said let me offer some mild criticism -- these should not keep you from purchasing the book but there were a few things I could have done without.

    The author is by no means anti-American but almost seems to suffer from a really rare strain of not really giving a care. This I must say is rare since generally Europeans are so arrogant and snobish about America you just assuming anything to do with the US will be negative in todays post-USSR world. This is not the case. The author doesn't blame every bad thing that happens in Europe on America -- but he also doesn't really give America credit for anything either. It really seems that the further you go back the more neutral the stance is, as the book gets closer to today it gets a bit more cold towards the US including taking swipes (not shots to be clear) at Reagan basically discounting his role in bringing down the Soviet Union. This is annoying in my mind but wasn't done in an offensive way -- he wasn't bashing but it's pretty obvious he wasn't a fan of Reagan or Thatcher. At the same time he does a great job of explaining how people in the eastern block lived and how communists ruled, which means it's a pretty negative take on that.

    So in total this book is very balanced and works extremely well as a modern history.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benjamin F. Jacobson 08-11-14 Member Since 2013

    Amature Pedagogue

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    50
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    5
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic Scholarship, Narrative, and Narration"

    An absolutely amazing, and incredibly thorough, examination and unraveling of Europe in the years 1945-1989. Of course, by necessity, the book actually ranges well beyond these years, particularly back to the world wars, through the disillusion of the Soviet Union, and into the early 2000s. Judt manages to provide a comprehensive general history of postwar Europe, with examples and well-thought out analysis on everything from fiscal policy to music to consumer products to historiography. Obviously a must-read for anyone interested in 20th century European history, but also a very enjoyable book for any historian. The reader also does a fantastic job, reading at a consistent and even pace that keeps the reader interested without going too fast to follow.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Judy Corstjens
    8/19/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A stunning piece of synthesis"

    I was looking for a book that explained the war in Yugoslavia in the 1990s, and thought I might as well get the rest of Europe and 1945-2005 thrown in for the same price, as it were. I ended up living with this book all summer. It is stunning. And it did explain what went on in Yugoslavia very concisely.

    Tony Judt does an amazing job of organising and presenting many threads from all over Europe (including Russia, Ireland, Eastern Europe through the cold war years, right up through the European Treaties that are causing so much angst today). Judt is never shy to give opinions and make judgements, to analyse and explain: it is far from history as one damn fact after another. For a person of my age - who grew up through this period - it explains the background behind and significance of all the half-noted, half-understood news reports of the 60s, 70s, 80s... really a wonderful cornucopia, too much to take in on one reading.

    Narration. Sadly, not good enough for the quality of the subject and writing. Ralph Cosham manages to sound like the quintessential boring history teacher, droning on at the front of the class on a sunny afternoon. However, the book is so well constructed and so full of interest that this voice is a cost you just have to cope with.

    23 of 23 people found this review helpful
  • pennyh
    3/21/12
    Overall
    "really interesting but shame about the reader"

    This is a very thorough review of European history since WWII. I really enjoyed it; it refreshed my memory about things I'd forgotten and filled in a lot of gaps. My only gripe is the reader - I know history can be a bit of an arid subject to deliver out loud but I found the reader very wooden and his voice really annoyed me by the end.

    21 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Marcus
    London, United Kingdom
    5/10/11
    Overall
    "Masterful"

     Over 40 hours but never a dull moment.  Judt skill is to give you an overview of the events, but he excels in his analysis. There are all sorts of revelations such as the  West didn't mind the Berlin Wall, or there was no chance of a nuclear war. He  gives time to all the countries, but also groups parts of the book by themes.  Very strong on the political and intellectual history, less so on the cultural, but alway enjoyable.  One of the best history books I have ever read.

    20 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • Daniel
    UK
    8/13/12
    Overall
    "Brilliant book, but for the narrator"

    A great book of huge interest yet the narrator has thoroughly ruined this. Quotes that are read with such power and tone by Andrew Marr with his books are totally and utterly confused by Mr Cosham. His voice is dull and is quite honestly difficult to listen to. I for one will never ever download anything read by this man again. (The preview was ok, but listening to him for 10 minutes is too much).

    21 of 23 people found this review helpful
  • G Douglas Whistler
    4/8/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent text, perfectly read"

    Judt's is a magisterial study of the social, political, and ideological fallout of the European wars which came to an end in 1945.  Quite self-conscious of the fact, his historical mode is tragedy; he is moved most by human suffering. But his book includes detailed accounts of such varied additional topics as TV viewership, car ownership, voter turnout, average lifespans, party election results, governmental departments expenditure percentages, relative military capabilities, literary output, philosophical development, and food rationing.  He is at pains (especially in the first two parts) to discuss all European countries equally, and, where he discusses specific processes or trends, he patiently does so for each relevant state or region in turn.  He slips from this careful egality later in the book, though.

    His political views are quite transparent: he is a capitalist European centrist, who, interestingly, shows no particular preference for democratic politics (in the UK/US model), apparently favouring the benevolent and decisive cabinet-government models of Blair, Mitterrand, and (less benevolent, more autocratic, but still presented as admirably determined) Thatcher.  He has no interest in praising any aspects of the Soviet bloc, since, for him, civil liberties and freedom from state repression are paramount; - thus, he is actually only critical of the "weak" and "indecisive"  Gorbachev, whom we might expect to solicit respect.  On a related if somewhat more trivial note, he is violently opposed to Modern architecture; this bias skews some of his arguments, so that some of the apparently intolerable awfulness of Eastern European life in the 1970s and '80s is actually little more than aesthetic.  The text is also, reflecting Judt's personal and professional specialties, very Anglo-French-normative; in fact, even Britain is treated as less familiar than France.  As such, unfortunately, we thus get more on the French internal dialogue than the equally significant British, let alone German.  Also, certain states do not fit well in Judt's chosen narrative: Portugal, Greece, and Cyprus are largely excluded, and I don't recall Iceland being mentioned at all!

    The text was published in 2005, and suffers for that: Judt's dogged interest in the "ever-closer union" clause of the EU's arrangements is short-sighted given its long periods of legislative stagnation, the obvious resistance of its populations to that aspect, and in light of its recent moves to fragmentation.  Furthermore, while he does make efforts to discuss the traditionally underrepresented and minorities, his efforts are often slightly patronising and, in the case of his discussions of the actions of women, sexual assaults, and non-hetro-sexualities, normally undermining.  In his early discussion of the Red Army's violence en route to Berlin in 1945, for instance, he feels a need to explain (justify?) the thousands of rapes committed on women by the advancing USSR soldiers, while offering no "explaination" for other hideous crimes.

    The narration is near faultless.  Cosham's voice is perfect for this text, and his easy pronunciation of names, words, and whole passages in many European languages is excellent.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Dinah
    United Kingdom
    10/11/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Definitive History for 'Modern' Europeans"
    What did you like most about Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945?

    I am fortunate enough to have known Tony Judt and regarded him as a friend in the late 70's and early '80's. I can attest to the fact that he is right to have regarded himself first and foremost as a teacher.
    This book is an important one for a non-historian, but a European, like myself, because it fills in many of the important gaps, the 'whys and wherefors' of how we have come to be who we are.
    The size of the book may be off-putting to non academic readers, so as an audiobook, it truly excels.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The writing style and the interplay between personal stories, politics and the appreciation of the human lives, caught up in the changes after the war, are wonderfully done.


    What about Ralph Cosham’s performance did you like?

    The reading by Ralph Cosham can be well appreciated by those who will know that Tony Judt was unable to perform this himself.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I do have an emotional reaction to key parts of this book. My parents were 'displaced persons' at the end of the war, having left Latvia at the time of the country's third 'invasion' (Soviet/German/Soviet).
    I can remember talking with Tony about my parents' experiences and how they came to England, their experiences here of working in industry and in the early NHS.
    I was very moved by the sections on the refugees of Europe; the writing was very sympathetic.


    Any additional comments?

    Personally, I am so grateful to Audible for publishing Post War as an audiobook.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • RAM GOAT
    10/7/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Don't Shoot the Narrator!"
    What did you like most about Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945?

    I purchased this book only because I didn't know what to do with my credit. Although a big fan of the history of the 20th Century, the Cold War period left me with a Siberian chill. However this book was an absolute delight, and brought to life what I had always seen as a turgid, unfathomable, and uninteresting part of our history.

    The depth of knowledge Mr Judt exhibits astounded me, and the statistical evidence he presents make this my favourite work of all time.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I always love a happy ending.


    What does Ralph Cosham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    I see some of the punters are having a go at poor old Ralph. Well let me come to his defence. I thought he was pretty good. His even tones regularly put me to sleep each night, which means that every time I play the audiobook, it's like I'm hearing it for the first time. The man's a genius.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    No really coz I kinda knew the plot already.


    Any additional comments?

    Joking aside, this is fantastic work, and is probably the definitive work post 1945. This is a must for all history fans

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • David Richardson
    UK
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Well worth listening to if you can concentrate !"

    This is a book that really draws you in with its sheer erudition and scope. You do have to concentrate as there are occasional lists of facts and figures which can be hard to take in whilst you're negotiating a roundabout or overtaking! Generally speaking though you can quickly pick up the thread again. Some of the particular highlights are the analyses of European cinema of the period, and the 1968 student riots. All in all, this is a wonderful introduction to the Europe that we inhabit today and I thoroughly recommend it.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Clinteastwood01
    3/11/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "the dullest performance."

    could be an interesting story, but the narrator is so very poor. Monotone in the extreme. couldn't finish this. (and I recently listened to 57hrs of Rise and fall of the 3rd reich)

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • M
    Wakefield, United Kingdom
    1/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Eye opening."

    This is a fantastic book that puts some much needed perspective on the Europe we find ourselves living with at the turn of the 21st century. It filled in many of the gaps that lay in my ignorance of our continent, and opened my eyes - and mind - to many things of which I simply was not aware. Evocatively written, this is historical story telling at its best, and should be read by everyone with an interest in recent history.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.