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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (2,310 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tony Judt Narrator: Ralph Cosham Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2010 ISBN: 9781470801076
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On September 1st, 1939, an aggressively expanding, fascist Germany imputatively violated international accords and invaded Poland, setting off a chain reaction of alliances that resulted in the conflict known as World War II. For six years, this conflict raged, turning into what remains today as the bloodiest conflict in human history. Fighting occurred on every inhabited continent and involved countries from the United States to South Africa to Japan.

In 1945, when the belligerent Germany and Japan finally surrendered, the world was a left a dramatically different place. In the audiobook Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, narrated by Ralph Cosham, historian and Professor Tony Judt examines the events occurring in Europe after the end of the war. This book, which was written over the course of ten years, is a sweeping and yet detailed look at the way Europe was indelibly shaped by World War II.

From the politics of the Cold War to the ethnic violence in the Balkan region during the 1990's, Judt examines the inexorable link between the results of the Second World War and the developments in Europe during the years following. Judt inspects these events in a way that avoids ideological pandering or narrative fallacy, presenting the facts in an objective and unbiased manner. Instead of enforcing a contrived "overarching theme", Judt instead opts for a simple retelling devoid of pontification. For the serious student of history, or anyone seeking a greater understanding of the world we live in and how it came to be, this audiobook is a must have.

Tony Judt, who passed away in 2010, was a professor of European History at the University of New York and the founder of the Remarque Institute of European Studies. He authored 11 books, and is remembered as one of the prominent historians of the contemporary age.

Almost a decade in the making, this much-anticipated grand history of postwar Europe from one of the world’s most esteemed historians and intellectuals is a singular achievement. Postwar is the first modern history that covers all of Europe, both east and west, drawing on research in six languages to sweep readers through thirty-four nations and sixty years of political and cultural change—all in one integrated, enthralling narrative. The book incorporates international relations, domestic politics, ideas, social change, economic development, and culture—high and low. Every country has its chance to play the lead, and although the big themes are superbly handled—including the cold war, the love/hate relationship with America, cultural and economic malaise and rebirth, and the myth and reality of unification—none of them is allowed to overshadow the rich pageant that is the whole. Vividly and clearly written for the general reader, witty, opinionated, and full of fresh and surprising stories and asides, Postwar is a movable feast for lovers of history and lovers of Europe alike.

Both intellectually ambitious and compelling to read, thrilling in its scope and delightful in its small details, Postwar is a rare joy.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Remarkable…The writing is vivid; the coverage—of little countries as well as of great ones—is virtually superhuman.”

    New Yorker

  • “A book that has the pace of a thriller and the scope of an encyclopedia…A very considerable achievement…Brilliant.”

    New York Review of Books

  • “Massive, kaleidoscopic, and thoroughly readable…[Judt’s] book now becomes the definitive account of Europe’s rise from the ashes and its takeoff into an uncertain future.”

    Time

  • “Nobody is more qualified than Judt to combine serious descriptive history with incisive, original political analysis, to cover both Western and Eastern Europe, and to pass stinging yet informed judgments on the behavior and evasions, the deeds and the failings, of his subjects…This monumental work is a tour de force.”

    Foreign Affairs

  • “This is the best history we have of Europe in the postwar period and not likely to be surpassed for many years…Here [Judt] combines deep knowledge with a sharply honed style and an eye for the expressive detail…This is history writing at its very best.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Understanding the complicated and extensive details of the post-WWII political mop-up in Europe requires a 43-hour investment. One could never imagine the endless issues of where to return refugees and how to try war criminals, implement the Marshall Plan, and establish 5,000 miles of borders. Few listeners can hope to absorb all the complex maneuverings, but this audiobook is still worthwhile. The task becomes more palatable with the voice of narrator Ralph Cosham. His smooth facility with the spoken word and linguistic nuance keeps one moving forward. He also rises to the author’s verbal complexity, in English and in delivery of smatterings of foreign words.”

    AudioFile

  • “Distinguished academic historian Tony Judt’s massive, sweeping, comprehensive, elegantly written, meticulously researched history…is a riveting and totally involving listening experience as narrated by Ralph Cosham. The sheer variety of languages and place names demand the most experienced and very best of readers and Cosham, a former journalist and stage and screen actor, is more than up to this task. Judt’s documentation of this period is based on a lifetime of reading and research and the listen is exhilarating, revealing, and exhausting…Judt’s work shows that the study of history is elusory, difficult, traumatic, ‘disruptive, discomforting’ but very, very necessary.  Ralph Cosham’s masterful reading makes this accessible to many who might find reading the nearly 850 pages intimidating or overwhelming. For anyone who listens, especially those who have lived through much of this, Postwar will be eye-opening.”

    SoundCommentary.com (starred review and Editor’s Pick of the Month)

  • A 2005 New York Times Book Review Top 10 Books of the Year
  • A 2006 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for General Nonfiction
  • A 2005 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book
  • A 2005 Time Magazine Best Book
  • Winner of the 2006 Arthur Ross Book Award
  • A 2005 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for History

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ian | 2/15/2014

    " This is a magisterial history of Europe from the end of the Second World War up until when it was written (mid 2000s). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Millicent | 2/7/2014

    " difficult read - but essential from a political and social perspective. heard the author lecture at the library. he was so good that three couples created a book club using this book as the foundation for our political/history interests. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lauren | 1/26/2014

    " Oh God. This is such a great "this is what happened because of..." book. It makes everything make sense. It's readable. If you're not interested in the topic, you should still read it. I say no more. But seriously, kids, read this. Even if, to you, non-fiction blows goats. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 1/23/2014

    " It's hard to write a review of this, but I think if I could say one thing about it it would be that it is probably one of the best books that conceptualizes Europe, as big or small as it may seem, as one thing while still acknowledging the differences within its states and regions. This is a very good book for understanding the interconnected and cosmopolitan situation in modern Europe and where that comes from. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Denise Derocher | 1/15/2014

    " There are few authors of history better than Judt - his research and writing both are exquisite!! And the man was brilliant - I miss the idea of him being on the planet. RIP, Tony. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diane | 1/14/2014

    " A great overview of Europe after World War II until the end of the century. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris | 12/6/2013

    " Brilliant. 1945 to present Europe in a tidy...878 pages. OK, it's not a beach read, but you can skim. Also great for the '90s. In college I wasn't really keeping up with the Balkan situation, but here it is. Socialism vs. Communism vs. Capitalism, all for the price of one. Check it out. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ianto | 11/29/2013

    " An exhaustive, highly informative social and political history of Europe. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wf Munn | 10/6/2013

    " The late Tony Judt has penned a masterful history of the tragedy and rebirth of Europe. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dave | 2/23/2013

    " Simply superb. Destined to be a classic work on the second half of the twentieth century. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bob | 2/4/2013

    " Impressive and thorough marshaling of scads on information. The guy can write. The guy can synthesize. The guy can organize. Judt does not shy away from controversy and is very well equipped to argue whatever point he is making. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 K. M. | 10/10/2012

    " Amazing coverage. Some parts weaker than others, of course, but truly a fantastic achievement. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Akin | 10/4/2012

    " Brilliant! A comprehensive, compelling and readable analysis of post-War 'Europe'. Very long, though... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim | 9/8/2012

    " well-written, detailed and insightful history that covers virtually every aspect of the last 60 years of european history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Darran Mclaughlin | 5/6/2012

    " Absolutely superb, I thought. I vaguely remember seeing footage of the coup in Moscow at the begining of the Nineties when I was about 10, and some of the most interesting stuff in this book is on recent history that I'm not clear on like this. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 AC | 2/6/2012

    " I got through about 2/5ths of this - on audible, and doubt I will finish it in the foreseeable future, since my 'car' time is now spent listening to music. The sections I listened to are, of course, very impressive, and cover the 1930s and 1940's, up to the death of Stalin. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jessica | 11/6/2011

    " Alas I used up all of my renewals at the library but this is an amazing book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Richard | 3/10/2011

    " Nobody should be allowed to know this much, and pulling it all together with such vinegar and style just adds insult to injury - one is left feeling so very stupid by comparison. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Judy | 3/9/2011

    " I have started this long book which brilliantly looks not only at Western but Eastern Europe between 1945 and 2005. Tony Judt's writing style is so clear, his analysis so stringent and his viewpoint so full of humanity that it makes it only sadder that he is no longer with us. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kaworu | 3/9/2011

    " Very thorough and impressive study of a very broad area/era in history. Filled in a lot of gaps in my historical knowledge. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Millicent | 3/2/2011

    " difficult read - but essential from a political and social perspective. heard the author lecture at the library. he was so good that three couples created a book club using this book as the foundation for our political/history interests.
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris | 12/31/2010

    " The definitive history of post war Europe. Clearly written and enjoyable to read "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alexander | 12/26/2010

    " A massive, comprehensive, yet very readable history of Europe since WWII. Its one of those books that any educated reader simply has to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Toula | 11/29/2010

    " Everything you want to know about the postwar period in Europe---- written in a very readable manner. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 11/22/2010

    " Amazing history lesson, great writer. "

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About the Author
Author Tony Judt

Tony Judt (1948–2010) wrote or edited fifteen books, including Postwar, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He was a professor at New York University and the founder and director of the Remarque Institute. In 2009 he was awarded a Special Orwell Prize for Lifetime Achievement for his contribution to British political writing.

About the Narrator

Ralph Cosham (1936–2014), a.k.a. Geoffrey Howard, was a British journalist who changed careers to become a narrator and screen and stage actor. He performed in more than one hundred professional theatrical roles, and several of his narrations were named “Audio Best of the Year” by Publishers Weekly. In 2013 he won the coveted Audie Award for his narration of Louise Penny’s The Beautiful Mystery.