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Descripción de editorial
The final chapter in the Penguin History of Europe series from the acclaimed scholar and author of To Hell and Back
After the overwhelming horrors of the first half of the twentieth century, described by Ian Kershaw in his previous book as being 'to Hell and back,' the years from 1950 to 2017 brought peace and relative prosperity to most of Europe. Enormous economic improvements transformed the continent. The catastrophic era of the world wars receded into an ever more distant past, though its long shadow continued to shape mentalities.
Yet Europe was now a divided continent, living under the nuclear threat in a period intermittently fraught with anxiety. There were, by most definitions, striking successes: the Soviet bloc melted away, dictatorships vanished, and Germany was successfully reunited. But accelerating globalization brought new fragilities. The interlocking crises after 2008 were the clearest warnings to Europeans that there was no guarantee of peace and stability, and, even today, the continent threatens further fracturing.
In this remarkable book, Ian Kershaw has created a grand panorama of the world we live in and where it came from. Drawing on examples from all across Europe, The Global Age is an endlessly fascinating portrait of the recent past and present, and a cautious look into our future.
In this brilliant sequel to his history of earlier-20th-century Europe (To Hell and Back), historian Kershaw profiles a Europe that has emerged into the 21st century calmer and more prosperous than in the century before, though with an uncertain future. He relates in detail at least five key stories: Western Europe's remarkable postwar economic recovery; the division into NATO and Soviet satellite states; the slow but steady move toward economic integration and the European Union; the fall of the communist satellite states and then the U.S.S.R.; and the early-21st-century economic, migration, and Brexit-related crises. The work's strengths include its evocation of changes in mentalities and economic conditions (recalling that in 1950, racism was strong, homosexuality and abortion were outlawed in many places, dwellings were "often lacking hot water, or indoor toilet facilities," and "food was still widely rationed"); its keen understanding of economic history (for example, the postrecession politics of austerity); and avoiding neglect of more minor players, such as the Netherlands and Turkey. Writing a 67-year history of a continent with more than 40 countries is a monumental task, and Kershaw has done so with unflagging narrative drive and fine prose.