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Ruin and Renewal: Civilising Europe After the Second World War - Paul Betts

9781788161107

'Excellent ... much to ponder' Financial Times In 1945, Europe lay in ruins - its cities and towns destroyed by conflict, its economies crippled, its societies ripped apart by war and violence. In the wake of the physical devastation came profound moral questions: how could Europe - once proudly confident of its place at the heart of the 'civilised world' - have done this to itself? And what did it mean that it had? In the years that followed, Europeans - from politicians to refugees, poets to campaigners, religious leaders to communist revolutionaries - tried to make sense of what had happened, and to forge a new understanding of civilisation that would bring peace and progress to a broken continent. As they wrestled with questions great and small - from the legacy of colonialism to workplace etiquette - institutions and shared ideals emerged which still shape our world today. Drawing on original sources as well as individual stories and voices, this is a gripping and authoritative account of how Europe rose from the ashes of the Second World War, forging itself anew in the process.

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