'Excellent … much to ponder' Financial Times
In 1945, Europe lay in ruins – its cities and towns destroyed by conflict, its economies crippled, its societies ripped apart by war and violence. In the wake of the physical devastation came profound moral questions: how could Europe – once proudly confident of its place at the heart of the 'civilised world' – have done this to itself? And what did it mean that it had?
In the years that followed, Europeans – from politicians to refugees, poets to campaigners, religious leaders to communist revolutionaries – tried to make sense of what had happened, and to forge a new understanding of civilisation that would bring peace and progress to a broken continent. As they wrestled with questions great and small – from the legacy of colonialism to workplace etiquette – institutions and shared ideals emerged which still shape our world today.
Drawing on original sources as well as individual stories and voices, this is a gripping and authoritative account of how Europe rose from the ashes of the Second World War, forging itself anew in the process.