The Long Road Home: The Aftermath of the Second World War

Ben Shephard, Author
Ben Shephard, Knopf, $35 (512p) ISBN 978-1-4000-4068-1
Reviewed on: 12/20/2010
Release date: 02/01/2011
Paperback - 486 pages - 978-0-7126-0059-0
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-0-307-59548-5
Paperback - 489 pages - 978-1-4000-3350-8
Open Ebook - 496 pages - 978-1-4090-8977-3
Hardcover - 486 pages - 978-0-224-06275-6
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-00547-1
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In the vast literature on WWII, scholars have largely ignored the 10 million to 15 million displaced persons who confronted the Allies in 1945. British writer and documentarian Shephard (After Daybreak: The Liberation of Bergen-Belsen, 1945) tells a fascinating story of their ordeal. Although concentration camp victims made headlines, their numbers were hugely augmented by millions of foreign workers and slave laborers later joined by millions of destitute Germans expelled from former conquered nations. Aid planners expected a typhus epidemic, but generous use of DDT prevented this. They expected to repatriate everyone only to discover that many objected to returning to Soviet rule; Shephard describes American soldiers dragging terrified Russians and Ukrainians to assembly points. Despite relief efforts, in 1947 a million refugees lingered in dreary camps; Germany remained devastated. Matters only improved after the Marshall Plan's massive infusion of money and supplies, sold to a reluctant Congress as an anticommunist program. Shephard reveals that however well planned, post-WWII relief also produced shambles. His masterful account mixes history, colorful personalities, and moving individual stories. 8 pages of photos; 1 map. (Feb.)
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