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In Europe: Travels through the Twentieth Centuryby Geert Mak
Synopses & Reviews
Geert Mak spent the year of 1999 criss-crossing the continent, tracing the history of Europe from Verdun to Berlin, Saint Petersburg to Auschwitz, Kiev to Srebrenica. He set off in search of evidence and witnesses, looking to define the condition of Europe at the verge of a new millennium. The result is mesmerizing: Mak’s rare double talent as a sharp-eyed journalist and a hugely imaginative historian makes In Europe a dazzling account of that journey, full of diaries, newspaper reports and memoirs, and the voices of prominent figures and unknown players; from the grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm II to Adrinana Warno in Poland, with her job at the gates of the camp at Birkenau.
But Mak is above all an observer. He describes what he sees at places that have become Europe’s wellsprings of memory, where history is written into the landscape. At Ypres, he hears the blast of munitions from the Great War that are still detonated there twice a day. In Warsaw, he finds the point where the tram rails that led to the Jewish ghetto come to a dead end in a city park. And in an abandoned nursery school near Chernobyl, where tiny pairs of shoes still stand in neat rows, he is transported back to the moment time stood still in the dying days of the Soviet Union.
Mak combines the larger story of twentieth-century Europe with details that give it a face, a taste and a smell. His unique approach makes the reader an eyewitness to a half-forgotten past, full of unknown peculiarities, sudden insights and touching encounters. In Europe is a masterpiece; it reads like the epic novel of Europe’s most extraordinary century.
A Dutch journalist crisscrosses Europe in search of the evidence of and eyewitnesses to the turbulent events of the twentieth century, drawing on personal interviews, diaries, newpaper reports, memoirs, and other sources to explore the people and places that transformed the face of Europe. 17,500 first printing.
From the First World War to the waning days of the Cold War, a poignant exploration on what it means to be European at the end of the twentieth-century. Geert Mak crisscrosses Europe from Verdun to Berlin, SaintPetersburg to Srebrenica in search of evidence and witnesses of the last hundred years of Europe. Using his skills as an acclaimed journalist, Mak locates the smaller, personal stories within the epic arc ofhistory-talking to a former ticket-taker at the gates of the Birkenau concentration camp or noting the neat rows of tiny shoes in the abandoned nursery school in the shadow of Chernobyl. His unique approach makes thereader an eyewitness to a half-forgotten past, full of unknown peculiarities, sudden insights and touching encounters. Sweeping in scale, but intimate in detail In Europe is amasterpiece.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Table of Contents
Amsterdam — Paris — London — Berlin — Vienna — Vienna — Ypres — Cassel — Verdun — Versailles Doorn — Stockholm — Helsinki — Petrograd — Riga — Berlin — Bielefeld — Munich — Vienna — Predappio — Lamanre — Barcelona — Guernica — Munich — Fermont — Dunkirk — Chartwell — Brasted — London — Berlin — Himmlerstadt — Auschwitz — Warsaw — Leningrad — Moscow — Stalingrad — Odessa — Istanbul — Kefallon
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History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present