What is a ‘Companion’ for?
This large edited volume on the history of post-1945 Europe is one of the latest additions to the extensive and steadily growing series of Blackwell Companions to History, whose volumes cover a wide range of fields in British, European, American, and World history.
In Fear and Progress, Antonio Cazorla Sánchez has produced a first-class survey of life in the years of the Franco regime (1939–75). His compelling narrative is supported by insightful analysis into the nature of the regime and a welcome abundance of source material including oral history interviews and government documents.
This review was written jointly with Dr Matthew Broad of the University of Reading.
To write a general history of two neighbouring countries spanning 100 years is no easy task. Furthermore, in 1905 Norway became independent of Sweden, meaning that there was no natural linkage between the two, geography apart.
Whatever the medievalists might say when they think you’re not listening, 20th-century European history is hard, and post-1945 history can be the trickiest bit. The decades after 1945 are much less precisely understood, in historical terms, than the decades before. They are more subject to unchallenged platitudes and uninformed controversy: they are surrounded by white noise.
‘If the Euro fails, Europe fails’, Angela Merkel boldly declared in September 2011; a potent reminder of how monetary integration lies at the heart of today’s European Union.(1) Yet the Eurozone has not been the first attempt at European monetary cooperation.
Neil Davidson’s substantial and erudite book is a concerted defence of the concept of ‘Bourgeois revolution’.(1) It is composed on a heroic scale. Numerous theorists, both historical and contemporary, are laid-out, discussed and critiqued with unflagging intellectual energy.
There were times during the resurgence of the economic crisis in 2015 when it seemed as if ‘Greek-bashing’ had become a pan-European pastime.
We have here two very different books utilizing two very different approaches to essentially the same period of history in Europe. And while the differences are enormous, each is excellent in its own way and both are major contributions to the historiography of Europe in the first half of the 20th century.