Dark Continent: Europe's Twentieth Century

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9780679757047: Dark Continent: Europe's Twentieth Century

"A useful, important book that reminds us, at the right time, how hard [European unity] has been, and how much care must be taken to avoid the terrible old temptations." --Los Angeles Times

Dark Continent provides an alternative history of the twentieth century, one in which the triumph of democracy was anything but a forgone conclusion and fascism and communism provided rival political solutions that battled and sometimes triumphed in an effort to determine the course the continent would take.

Mark Mazower strips away myths that have comforted us since World War II, revealing Europe as an entity constantly engaged in a bloody project of self-invention.  Here is a history not of inevitable victories and forward marches, but of narrow squeaks and unexpected twists, where townships boast a bronze of Mussolini on horseback one moment, only to melt it down and recast it as a pair of noble partisans the next.  Unflinching, intelligent, Dark Continent provides a provocative vision of Europe's past, present, and future-and confirms Mark Mazower as a historian of valuable gifts.

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Review:

As the European Union introduces a common currency to world financial markets, Mark Mazower's Dark Continent critically examines the notion of "Europe." The Euro notwithstanding, Mazower argues that the "'Europe' of the European Union may be a promise or a delusion, but it is not a reality." Renouncing the notion of an essential "Europe," Mazower instead explores the conflicts which dominated the continent in the 20th century and the social value systems which informed them.

Mazower orders his examination chronologically, commencing with the collapse of Europe's continental empires following World War I and the initial European experiments in democracy and national self-determination which followed. He continues with analyses of state interventions in family health and the importance of healthy progeny, the financial crisis of the 1920s, the Hitler regime, the transformed democracy that emerged following World War II, the gradual erosion of the social state in the 1980s, and, finally, the collapse of communism. He consistently displays a firm grip of European history, directing his argument to readers with a foundational knowledge of the events that shaped 20th century Europe rather than historical novices unfamiliar with the period. Provocatively insightful, Dark Continent makes a convincing argument for a European 21st century characterized by continuity and harmony through divergence. "If Europeans can give up their desperate desire to find a single, workable definition of themselves," Mazower concludes, "they may come to terms more easily with the diversity and dissension which will be as much their future as their past." --Bertina Loeffler

From the Publisher:

"Mazower's splendid book...makes a convincing case for a different version of 20th-century European history. 'We are quite wrong,' he writes, 'to read the present back into the past, and assume--for instance--that democracy must be rooted deep in Europe's soil.'"--Tony Judt , The New York Times Book Review

"If it's the business of historians to remember what others have forgotten, Mark Mazower
has done his job in Dark Continent."--Roane Carey, Newsday

"Timely, argumentative, and ultimately optimistic; Mazower is particularly good at illuminating the substance of beliefs beneath ideologies."--The New Yorker

"A masterful account of Europe's cursed century . . . Well written, with an excellent grasp of sources in several languages, this is a landmark study for the general reader." --Kirkus Reviews

British reviews:
"Magnificent . . . an elegant plea for the defence of all that is best in the European tradition, and a reminder of what can happen if that trust is broken."--Alexandra Richie, The Observer

"Brilliant but disturbing . . . if this superb book is a frightening reminder of how fragile democrary has been, we have lived through enough events in recent years to know how precious it is too."
--Orlando Figes, The Times

"Mark Mazower has already proved that he is a historian of great gifts . . . In Dark Continent he jumps from the microscopic to the telescopic with breath-taking self-confidence. His bold leap is entirely justified by his acheivement . . . He leaves us, in this wonderful book, with an account of our century that anyone who takes an interest in Europe's present and future will enlarge their minds by reading."        --John Keegan, The Daily Telegraph

"[A] fascinating new polemic about twentieth-century Europe . . . this should be a deservedly popular book."--Mark Archer, Financial Times

"Mark Mazower has provided a rich mixture in his highly individual and intelligent interpretation of Europe's twentieth-century history."--Richard Crampton, The Times Literary Supplement

"It is altogether remarkable that Mark Mazower, one of our brightest young historians, has managed to write about this subject [modern Europe] in such a way that you want to turn the pages . . . valuable and well-written."--Norman Stone, The Guardian

"Exemplary...Written with verve and splendidly argued"--Richard Gott, New Statesman

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Book Description Softcover. Book Condition: New. "A useful, important book that reminds us, at the right time, how hard [European unity] has been, and how much care must be taken to avoid the terrible old temptations." --Los Angeles TimesDark Continent provides an alternative history of the twentieth century, one in which the triumph of democracy was anything but a forgone conclusion and fascism and communism provided rival political solutions that battled and sometimes triumphed in an effort to determine the course the continent would take.Mark Mazower strips away myths that have comforted us since World War II, revealing Europe as an entity constantly engaged in a bloody project of self-invention. Here is a history not of inevitable victories and forward marches, but of narrow squeaks and unexpected twists, where townships boast a bronze of Mussolini on horseback one moment, only to melt it down and recast it as a pair of noble partisans the next. Unflinching, intelligent,Dark Continent provides a provocative vision of Europ's past, present, and future-and confirms Mark Mazower as a historian of valuable gifts. Bookseller Inventory # 5385988

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. American.. Language: English . Brand New Book. A useful, important book that reminds us, at the right time, how hard [European unity] has been, and how much care must be taken to avoid the terrible old temptations. --Los Angeles Times Dark Continent provides an alternative history of the twentieth century, one in which the triumph of democracy was anything but a forgone conclusion and fascism and communism provided rival political solutions that battled and sometimes triumphed in an effort to determine the course the continent would take. Mark Mazower strips away myths that have comforted us since World War II, revealing Europe as an entity constantly engaged in a bloody project of self-invention. Here is a history not of inevitable victories and forward marches, but of narrow squeaks and unexpected twists, where townships boast a bronze of Mussolini on horseback one moment, only to melt it down and recast it as a pair of noble partisans the next. Unflinching, intelligent, Dark Continent provides a provocative vision of Europe s past, present, and future-and confirms Mark Mazower as a historian of valuable gifts. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780679757047

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. American.. Language: English . Brand New Book. A useful, important book that reminds us, at the right time, how hard [European unity] has been, and how much care must be taken to avoid the terrible old temptations. --Los Angeles Times Dark Continent provides an alternative history of the twentieth century, one in which the triumph of democracy was anything but a forgone conclusion and fascism and communism provided rival political solutions that battled and sometimes triumphed in an effort to determine the course the continent would take. Mark Mazower strips away myths that have comforted us since World War II, revealing Europe as an entity constantly engaged in a bloody project of self-invention. Here is a history not of inevitable victories and forward marches, but of narrow squeaks and unexpected twists, where townships boast a bronze of Mussolini on horseback one moment, only to melt it down and recast it as a pair of noble partisans the next. Unflinching, intelligent, Dark Continent provides a provocative vision of Europe s past, present, and future-and confirms Mark Mazower as a historian of valuable gifts. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780679757047

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