The second installment of the eminent English historian’s comprehensive overview of modern European history. After the overwhelming horrors of the first half of the twentieth century, the years from 1950 to 2017 brought peace and relative prosperity to most of Europe. Yet in the shadow of its own history Europe was now a divided continent, still rife with tensions and uncertainty.
The final instalment in the Penguin series, spanning 1950-2017, coherently brings a long and complex narrative up to date ... At times, Kershaw seems to take the primacy of politics too far: more culture and more voices would have been welcome, but his ability to bring together complex stories from Portugal to Ukraine to create a coherent history of transformation is impressive.
...this fine book, while not as obviously thrilling as Tony Judt’s earlier Postwar (2005), has a number of interesting things to say. Kershaw is the pre-eminent contemporary biographer of Hitler and brings a deep hinterland of scholarship to his detailed analysis. He writes elegantly and without jargon, which these days is rarer than it should be.
... the second volume of his expertly crafted history of modern Europe ... a heavy but elegant book—primarily a work of political history that segues into socio-economics and culture. While Mr. Kershaw offers no major reinterpretation of the period, he has produced an accessible scholarly synthesis, panoramic in scope and sound in judgment ... given the emphasis he places on the quality of leadership, one cannot but look with some angst at its absence today.