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Year Zero: A History of 1945

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Year Zero: A History of 1945 Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A marvelous global history of the pivotal year 1945 as a new world emerged from the ruins of World War II

Year Zero is a landmark reckoning with the great drama that ensued after war came to an end in 1945. One world had ended and a new, uncertain one was beginning. Regime change had come on a global scale: across Asia (including China, Korea, Indochina, and the Philippines, and of course Japan) and all of continental Europe. Out of the often vicious power struggles that ensued emerged the modern world as we know it.

In human terms, the scale of transformation is almost impossible to imagine. Great cities around the world lay in ruins, their populations decimated, displaced, starving. Harsh revenge was meted out on a wide scale, and the ground was laid for much horror to come. At the same time, in the wake of unspeakable loss, the euphoria of the liberated was extraordinary, and the revelry unprecedented. The postwar years gave rise to the European welfare state, the United Nations, decolonization, Japanese pacifism, and the European Union. Social, cultural, and political “reeducation” was imposed on vanquished by victors on a scale that also had no historical precedent. Much that was done was ill advised, but in hindsight, as Ian Buruma shows us, these efforts were in fact relatively enlightened, humane, and effective.

A poignant grace note throughout this history is Burumas own fathers story. Seized by the Nazis during the occupation of Holland, he spent much of the war in Berlin as a laborer, and by wars end was literally hiding in the rubble of a flattened city, having barely managed to survive starvation rations, Allied bombing, and Soviet shock troops when the end came. His journey home and attempted reentry into “normalcy” stand in many ways for his generations experience.

A work of enormous range and stirring human drama, conjuring both the Asian and European theaters with equal fluency, Year Zero is a book that Ian Buruma is perhaps uniquely positioned to write. It is surely his masterpiece.

About the Author

Ian Buruma is the Luce Professor of Democracy, Human Rights, and Journalism at Bard College. His previous books include The China Lover, Murder in Amsterdam, Occidentalism, God's Dust, Behind the Mask, The Wages of Guilt, Bad Elements, and Taming the Gods.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780143125976
Author:
Buruma, Ian
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Subject:
Modern - 20th Century
Subject:
Military-World War II General
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20140931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8.51 x 5.59 x 0.87 in 0.73 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Military » World War II » General
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » 20th Century
History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present
History and Social Science » World History » General

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