Preserved Stories Blog


1946: The Making of the Modern World (2015)

A previous post is entitled:

Richard J. Evans’s Nazi Germany trilogy along with a subsequent 2015 text is strongly evidence-based

I have been reading widely about the years from the 1920s into the postwar years, by way of making connections with my father’s 1936 Berlin Olympics photo album; pondering his photos has prompted me to read widely about those years, as I’ve outlined at another post:

My father’s photo album from 1936 Berlin Olympics prompts my reading of Richard J. Evans’ trilogy about Nazi Germany

Over the past few days, along with other books I’ve been reading reading 1946: The Making of the Modern World (2015) by Victor Sebestyen.

A Publishers Weekly review [which I have broken into shorter paragraphs] reads:

In this salient, grim narrative history, journalist and historian Sebestyen (Revolution 1989) portrays 1946 as the year that “laid the foundations of the modern world.” The early postwar period witnessed vast and unprecedented destruction, famine, and displacement throughout much of Europe and Asia, which Sebestyen describes in harrowing detail, reminding readers that human suffering didn’t end with the conclusion of the war.

With mesmerizing detail and riveting vignettes scattered throughout, Sebestyen explores virtually every major postwar theme and event: German de-Nazification and guilt (or lack thereof), lingering anti-Semitism throughout Europe, the early stages of the creation of Israel, civil war in Greece, the disarmament and remaking of Japan, British imperial exhaustion and decline, the lead-up to independence and partition of India and Pakistan, the increasing likelihood of a communist victory in China’s civil war, the division of Europe, and the early stages of the Cold War.

Though admittedly focused largely on Europe, this informed, engaging, and accessible history of the year that U.S. president Harry Truman called the year of decisions will prove to have wide and diverse appeal.

 

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