Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II

Keith Lowe. St. Martin’s, $30 (400p) ISBN 978-1-250-00020-0
Hitler’s defeat did not end WWII, writes historian Lowe (Inferno: The Fiery Devastation of Hamburg, 1943) in this horrific account of years of violence and misery that immediately followed the war. Civil wars ignited by Nazi invasion raged for years in Greece, Yugoslavia, and Poland. Partisans in the Baltic states and Ukraine fought the Red Army until the 1950s. After WWII the victors moved people to suit borders—moving ethnic minorities, often with good intentions, to prevent future hostilities, but with cruel results. Vengeful neighbors expelled 11 million Germans from Poland, but a dozen other acts of “ethnic cleansing” involved millions of Ukrainians, Hungarians, Poles, and other Slavs. Nor were Allied nations idle. Twenty-four thousand German POWs died in French camps. Americans kept millions of German soldiers in open fields with no shelter or sanitation and little food. Despite Lowe’s thoughtful explanations for the actions he recounts, few readers will emerge unshaken from this meticulous history of unspeakable behavior by both governments and ordinary citizens. 16 pages of color photos, 12 maps. Agent: Daniel Mandel, Sanford J. Greenberger Associates. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/02/2012
Release date: 07/03/2012
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