Ruin and Renewal

Paul Betts


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Profile Books Ltd
2 September 2021
ISBN: 9781788161107
544 pages

From the publisher

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.