"Few would have predicted it sixty years before, but the twenty-first century might yet belong to Europe."

I’ve done it.

I have finally, finally, finally finished Postwar (amazon | kobo) by Tony Judt, having started it…I don’t know, like a year ago. I must have read north of a half dozen other books during breaks from this one…not because it was bad — it’s actually an incredible book when you consider what it does — but because it was 831 pages of relatively dense historical perspective.

Length aside, there’s another reason why this feels like an accomplishment: in finishing it I also conclude my self-made 8-book series about WWI and WWII. I wanted to know more about the buildup and aftermath of each war, and having read these I feel like I do. These books, read (amongst many others) over the past four years, were:

  • The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman
  • A Short History of WWI by James Stokesbury
  • Paris 1919 by Margaret MacMillan
  • The Coming Of The Third Reich by Richard Evans
  • The Dark Valley: A Panorama of the 1930s by Piers Brendon
  • A Short History of WWII by James Stokesbury
  • A Writer At War: A Soviet Journalist with the Red Army, 1941-1945 by Vasily Grossman
  • Postwar by Tony Judt

If you find yourself curious about how exactly the Nazis were able to come to power, or why Europe and the Middle East were divided up as they were, or which army truly beat back Hitler’s armies, or any other aspect (at a high level, anyway) of the wars, I’d highly recommend any and all of these.

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