Ruin and Renewal (Hardback)

Civilising Europe After the Second World War

Paul Betts

A major new history of post-war Europe

'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.

Publication date: 05/11/2020

£25.00

ISBN: 9781788161091

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: History & Classics

Ruin and Renewal (Ebook)

Civilising Europe After the Second World War

Paul Betts

A monumental new history of post-war Europe - how it was made, and how it made us

'Excellent ... much to ponder' Financial Times

'Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the world of today' - Margaret MacMillan, author of War: How Conflict Shaped Us

'A masterpiece' David Motadel, author of Revolutionary World

1945. Europe lies 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 concept 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.

Rich with original sources and individual voices, this is a gripping, authoritative account of how Europe rose from the ashes of the Second World War - and forged itself anew.

Publication date: 05/11/2020

£9.99

ISBN: 9781782834724

ISBN 10 / ASIN: B07PGL2VYZ

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: History & Classics

Ruin and Renewal (Paperback)

Civilising Europe After the Second World War

Paul Betts

A monumental new history of post-war Europe - how it was made, and how it made us

'Excellent ... much to ponder' Financial Times

'Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the world of today' - Margaret MacMillan, author of War: How Conflict Shaped Us

'A masterpiece' David Motadel, author of Revolutionary World

1945. Europe lies 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 concept 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.

Rich with original sources and individual voices, this is a gripping, authoritative account of how Europe rose from the ashes of the Second World War - and forged itself anew.

Publication date: 02/09/2021

£10.99

ISBN: 9781788161107

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: History & Classics

Reviews for Ruin and Renewal

'Ruin and Renewal is an erudite, rigorously researched, and elegantly written account of the post-war remaking of Europe. Paul Betts provides his reader with a breathtaking panorama of the world of the men and women who, pursuing varied visions for the creation of a new 'civilization', embarked on bold reforms to rebuild the continent on the ruins of the Second World War. His book will fundamentally reshape our understanding of modern Europe - a masterpiece.'

David Motadel, London School of Economics 

'Paul Betts uses the concept of 'civilisation' like a radiographer's dye to reveal some deeply unsettling pathologies beneath the skin of post-war Europe. Ruin and Renewal is an impressively wide-ranging, original synthesis of cultural and political history.'

Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies, University of Oxford 

'Ruin and Renewal is a marvellously subtle and wide-ranging exploration of the ways in which Europe rebuilt itself materially and morally after the Second World War. Paul Betts boldly uses the much debated and controversial concept of civilization to show how Europeans, on both sides of the Cold War, redefined themselves and others. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the world of today.'

Margaret MacMillan, author of War: How Conflict Shaped Us 

'Excellent ... much to ponder'

 Financial Times

'Original and engrossing'

Richard J. Evans LRB

Paul Betts

Paul Betts

Paul Betts is Professor of Modern European History at St Antony's College, University of Oxford. He is the author of Within Walls: Private Life in the German Democratic Republic and The Authority of Everyday Objects: A Cultural History of West German Industrial Design, along with seven co-edited volumes. He has long been interested the relationship between European culture and politics over the course of the 20th century, with special focus on material culture, photography, memory, human rights and private life. His new book is the culmination of many years of reflection on Europe's fundamentally new place in the world since 1945.