Barbarism and Civilization: A History of Europe in Our Time

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Oxford University Press, 2007 - History - 901 pages
1 Review
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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Contents

V
xxvi
VI
1
VII
9
VIII
16
IX
25
X
33
XI
36
XII
47
LXV
406
LXVI
409
LXVII
413
LXVIII
419
LXIX
426
LXX
442
LXXI
450
LXXII
460

XIII
55
XIV
62
XV
75
XVI
79
XVII
89
XVIII
95
XIX
106
XX
116
XXI
126
XXII
132
XXIII
138
XXIV
142
XXV
149
XXVI
157
XXVII
164
XXVIII
172
XXIX
188
XXX
204
XXXI
212
XXXII
228
XXXIII
239
XXXIV
241
XXXV
244
XXXVI
250
XXXVII
256
XXXVIII
267
XXXIX
270
XL
278
XLI
286
XLII
290
XLIII
292
XLIV
295
XLV
304
XLVI
309
XLVII
312
XLVIII
322
XLIX
329
LII
334
LIII
338
LIV
344
LV
348
LVI
355
LVII
368
LVIII
371
LIX
375
LX
379
LXI
384
LXII
387
LXIII
394
LXIV
402
LXXIII
464
LXXIV
471
LXXV
476
LXXVI
486
LXXVII
492
LXXVIII
497
LXXIX
505
LXXX
510
LXXXI
519
LXXXII
524
LXXXIII
531
LXXXIV
540
LXXXV
546
LXXXVI
550
LXXXVII
553
LXXXVIII
563
LXXXIX
569
XC
572
XCI
589
XCII
596
XCIII
607
XCIV
613
XCV
620
XCVI
626
XCVII
633
XCVIII
648
XCIX
659
C
665
CI
673
CII
679
CIII
684
CIV
692
CV
695
CVI
704
CVII
712
CVIII
723
CIX
732
CX
742
CXI
749
CXII
757
CXIII
764
CXIV
768
CXV
775
CXVI
780
CXVII
783
CXVIII
785
CXIX
793
CXX
837
CXXI
866
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About the author (2007)

Bernard Wasserstein was born in London in 1948 and educated at Balliol and Nuffield Colleges, Oxford. He has taught at Sheffield, Oxford, Glasgow, and Brandeis Universities and at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Since 2003 he has been Harriet and Ulrich Meyer Professor of History at the University of Chicago. His many previous books include Britain and the Jews of Europe 1939-1945 and The Secret Lives of Trebitsch Lincoln (which won the GoldenDagger Award for Non-Fiction from the Crime Writers' Association).

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