Savage Continent

By Keith Lowe,

Book cover of Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II

Book description

Keith Lowe's Savage Continent is an awe-inspiring portrait of how Europe emerged from the ashes of WWII.

The end of the Second World War saw a terrible explosion of violence across Europe. Prisoners murdered jailers. Soldiers visited atrocities on civilians. Resistance fighters killed and pilloried collaborators. Ethnic cleansing, civil war,…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked Savage Continent as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Mr. Lowe’s meticulous research of post-WWII Europe gives startling insight into how devastated the continent was after the war.

He paints a picture of lawlessness and depravity, arguably as bad as battle conditions had been. In some cases, it might have been worse. Revenge killings, rapes, and starvation were among the horrors. It begs the question, when did WWII really end? 

Keith Lowe is a brilliant researcher and this account of the after-effects of the Second World war on Europe makes for harrowing reading. When Europe was still shuddering from the war's destruction, the allies frequently behave brutally towards the vanquished Germans. The worst excesses, especially against women, were deliberately committed by the Russians followed by the French. This aspect of the war has mostly been overlooked by historians.

From Adrian's list on the rise and fall of the Third Reich.

Though the bombs stopped falling in May in Europe, and the German army disintegrated, for many the battle didn’t end there. Chaos continued as borders shifted, revenge was foremost in the minds of some, and hunger, deprivation and homelessness remained widespread. And while the world wasn’t watching too closely, it became opportune for ethnic cleansing and for black markets to thrive. In this turbulent aftermath of the war, women who associated with Germans were imprisoned or denied citizenship. Retaliation against fascists and sympathizers meant thousands more Italians died. Expulsions of millions of Germans from occupied territories such as Poland were…

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