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The review of "Europe in the vortex. From 1950 to today" by Jan Kershaw

02-03-2024 11:54

Europolitiche

Europolitiche, Cultura politica, storia europea, europa nel vortice , Jan Kershaw, Latera 2022, integrazione europea,

The review of "Europe in the vortex. From 1950 to today" by Jan Kershaw

A rereading of the book by the well-known English historian in the 2022 Italian edition, released by Penguin in 2019. Edited by Antonio De Chiara.

Review of “Europe in the vortex. From 1950 to today”

  • Author: Jan Kershaw
  • Publishing house: Laterza, Bari_ Rome
  • Pages: 800
  • Release date: 03-17-2022

Ian Kershaw, one of the greatest contemporary historians, continues his journey through the history of our continent in the 20th century. His voluminous book published in 2018 for Penguin Randon House " Roller-Coaster. Europe 1950-2017 " was translated by Laterza for the Historical Culture series in 2020 and in the Historical Library in March 2022.

The English historian narrates the continental historical events in the years between 1950 and 2017. Kershaw outlines a final assessment of the transformation of Europe in the seven decades post-1950 in the twelve chapters that he offers to the reader, accompanied by a proscript and an appendix.

According to the author, in the decades following the Second World War, Europe's astonishing recovery was conditioned by a multi-factor "development matrix". The main ones are the end of Germany's great power ambitions, the geopolitical reorganization of Central and Eastern Europe, the subordination of national interests to those of the two superpowers, the impetuous and sudden emergence of unprecedented economic growth and the deterrent effect of the threat posed by nuclear weapons.

Around 1970 these factors came to have much less importance than in the immediate post-war years. With the end of the long economic boom, according to Kershaw the paradigm of the post-war economic order changes with the beginning of what retrospectively can be considered a new matrix, which takes shape only gradually during the following twenty years. Kerhaw calls it the “matrix of the new insecurity” with its resulting liberalized and deregulated economies, impetuous globalization, the first information revolution and, after 1990, the emergence of a multipolar constellation of global power centers. The English historian speaks of an amalgam of the components mentioned in the transformational sense of the very existences of the new Europeans dealing with the fall of the Iron Curtain and the rapid innervation of the Internet. Broadening his gaze to the comparative geopolitical dimension between the large European countries, Kershaw attributes a central place to Germany, which emerged in pieces from the second conflict. On the historical review of this country, Kershaw proves to be particularly effective, being a recognized specialist, being one of the most accredited historians of Nazism. So it tells of a Germany central in the post-war economic recovery, central in the Cold War, central in the end of the Cold War, central in the expansion of European integration, central in the creation of the euro, central in the Eurozone crisis and finally central in the first still embryonic steps to reform the European Union. The German leadership in the EU, assumed not without reluctance, unfolds in line with France, better equipped in terms of its historical position in the US-led Western balance.

In conclusion, we can note how, after "To Hell and Back", the fresco by the well-known English historian reconstructs the Europe in which we live and its origins. A book which, as the editorial synopsis suggests, makes us discover what it means to be 'European'.


Antonio De Chiara for @europolitiche.it


Cross-media in Italian on the policies of European institutions and governments of European Union countries

Cross-media in Italian on the policies of European institutions and governments of European Union countries


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