Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Postwar-Pessimist Association

#32 - "Postwar" by Tony Judt

I've been raving about this one for a while, so finally posting about it seems a bit of an anti-climax. For those who haven't been subject to my ravings (via e-mail, the blog, or over drinks) about it, Judt's book is a sprawling history of Europe since World War II. And, yeah, it's great. An amazingly detailed book on such a heterogenous subject; I feel like I've learned quite a bit upon finishing it, both on subjects I had some knowledge about (Eastern Europe, primarily) and on subjects I knew nothing about (Portugal under Salazar, French intellectual debates of the 1940s and '50s, and just about everything else, really).

Perhaps most impressively: it's so well-written. Even someone with just a casual interest in the subject could dive into this -- no small feat for an 800+ page book. Very readable and conversational -- the only time I felt my interest lagging was during descriptions of European Union bureaucracy, but sometimes, you just can't do much with a subject.

I'm sure everyone can find something they wished was covered more fully (WHERE'S THE ALBANIA??), and there are certainly some flaws/omissions/logical leaps, but I can wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone with even a passing interest in the subject. Great work.

Link: Judt's Remarque Institute at New York University

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