Barbarism and Civilization: A History of Europe in Our Time
Here is the definitive history of contemporary Europe, a controversial but authoritative and lively narrative that is destined to become the standard account of the period from 1914 to the present.
In this important new book, University of Chicago historian Bernard Wasserstein offers the first serious, full-length history of a century of convulsive change. It is a history of barbarism and civilization, of cruelty and tenderness, of technological achievement and environmental blight, of imperial expansion and withdrawal, of authoritarian repression and of individualism resurgent. Wasserstein provides both a narrative of the main contours of the political, diplomatic, and military history and an analysis of the underpinnings of demographic, economic, and social developments. Most notably, the book explores the evolution of values and sensibilities in a period when, for the first time, God disappeared as a living presence in the minds of most Europeans.
Wasserstein argues that barbarism and civilization were not polar opposites: rather they marched hand in hand. Twentieth-century Europe saw incontestable improvements in living conditions for most inhabitants of the continent: average life span was extended by more than half; real incomes increased dramatically; illiteracy was all but eliminated; women, ethnic minorities, and homosexuals advanced closer to equality of respect and opportunity. Yet the century also witnessed some of the most brutish episodes in the recorded history of our species. Hence Wasserstein's conclusion that "greed, selfishness, lies, and cruelty are the stuff of the history of Europe in our time."
Drawing on the latest scholarly findings, including recent disclosures of intelligence materials and archival revelations that followed the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, Wasserstein captures the essence of contemporary European history in an engaging narrative that is by turns grim, humorous, surprising, and enlightening.
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Review: Barbarism and Civilization: A History of Europe in Our TimeUser Review - Goodreads
In 1919 Irving Berlin released a song titled 'The Near Future', the famous line from which pretty much conveys the essence of Wasserstein's ponderous test. This is a real snoozer looking for a text-book contract.
1 Europe at 1914
2 Europe at War 19141917
3 Revolutionary Europe 19171921
4 Recovery of the Bourgeoisie 19211929
5 Depression and Terror 19291936
6 Europe in the 1930s
7 Spiral into War 19361939
8 Hitler Triumphant 19391942
13 Stalin and his Heirs 19491964
14 Consensus and Dissent in Western Europe 19581973
15 Europe in the 1960s
16 Strife in Communist Europe 19641985
17 Stress in Liberal Europe 19731989
18 The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe 19851991
19 After the Fall 19912007
20 Europe in the New Millennium