Based on a staggering range of primary material and secondary literature, The Vanquished fills a vast canvas ... Mr. Gerwarth vividly captures the brutality of these struggles ... The author takes a dim view of Europe’s postwar leaders, and it is hard to fault him. Their treatment of the vanquished provoked resentment, and they blithely dismantled long-established multinational structures ... As Mr. Gerwarth’s path-breaking study shows, beneath the surface of seeming peace may lie profound divisions that augur strife more than stability.
His account is both important and timely, and obliges us to reconsider a period and a battle front that has too often been neglected by historians ... as Gerwarth’s well-researched and engrossing book makes clear, there was already plenty of flammable material lying about ... The Vanquished is an excellent guide to help us think again about such issues.
Gerwarth demonstrates with an impressive concentration of detail that in central, eastern and south-eastern Europe the carnage of the first world war by no means came to an end, as it did for the British and French, in late 1918 ... Wisely, Gerwarth does not go so far as to lament the end of Europe’s land empires. But his book argues convincingly that 'the story of Europe in the years between 1917 and 1923 is crucial for understanding the cycles of violence that characterised the continent’s 20th century.'