Savage Continent by Keith Lowe

Savage Continent

The Second World War might have officially ended in May 1945, but in reality it rumbled on for another ten years...The end of the Second World War in Europe is one of the twentieth century’s most iconic moments.  It is fondly remembered as a time when cheering crowds filled the streets, danced, drank and made love until the small hours.  These images of victory and celebration are so strong in our minds that the period of anarchy and civil wa...

Details Savage Continent

TitleSavage Continent
Release DateJul 3rd, 2012
PublisherSt. Martin's Press
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, War, World War II

Reviews Savage Continent

  • Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont
    A Tale UnfoldsKeith Lowe’s Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II is an important book. Yes, yes, I know; you’ve heard it all before, the special pleading on behalf of some new publication or other, but believe me, it is. Actually, no, don’t believe me; don’t take my word for it; read it and find out for yourself. If you think that the Second World War in Europe ended abruptly in May, 1945; if you think that VE Day brou...
  • Paul Bryant
    This is the third in my series of great books on World War Two. First, Max Hastings in All Hell Let Loose gives the whole story, and brilliantly simplifies it too. He explains, and I’m convinced, that WW2 was essentially between Germany and the USSR, or between Hitler and Stalin if you wish. Everything else was a side show. He goes further – the result was never in doubt. If Hitler and Stalin were equally ruthless, Stalin always had more men ...
  • Mikey B.
    A Polish partisan (page 218, my book)“The Ukrainians in turn took their revenge by destroying a village of 500 Poles and torturing and killing all who fell in their hands. We responded by destroying two of their larger villages... This was how the fighting escalated. Each time more people were killed, more houses burnt, more women raped. Men become desensitised very quickly and kill as if they know nothing else.”Page 365It was virtually impos...
  • Dem
    Savage Continent-Europe in the Aftermath of World War II by Keith Lowe is an excellent book and a ground breaking study of the years that followed the Second World War.I have read a lot of books about the war and the concentrations camps and the violence and atrocities that took place in Europe at this time.I had never actually read a book about the aftermath of the war although I had often wondered about this period in history. The World War lef...
  • Kevin Cole
    A Goodreads friend of mine recently asked why I've been reading and reviewing so many history books of late. I told him I like history. "Then why don't you write history books?" he asked, rather than coming-of-age novels obsessed with, as one reviewer discovered, "sucking dick."Once upon a time, I did want to be a historian. As a kid, I inhaled history. I knew about events and places at an age when most kids barely knew about the world beyond the...
  • Jill Hutchinson
    The war was over.....hooray and let's celebrate! Of course, that was not the case at all but historians often give short shrift to the horrors of the years in Europe immediately following WWII. The end of that conflagration only initiated the start of others......displaced persons, prisoners, war crimes, nationalism giving way to violence, continued "ethnic cleansing",the rise of Communism, etc. Governments were gone as well as economies and phys...
  • Louise
    This is a stunning portrait of the continent-wide upheaval that followed World War II. The cover itself is vastly different from the American post-war images of cheering crowds and ticker tape parades. The average European soldier, prisoner of war, or concentration camp survivor did not go home to a GI Bill, a booming economy, or even a welcome. Going home probably meant a new internment in a former death camp where supplies were short. Since mos...
  • Jakob
    This book is a revelation, as other reviewers have pointed out, for those of us whose view of history was that WWII led to the Cold War, and events in between didn't matter much because we knew what happened in the end. I at least learned that I knew nothing. Ignoring the forced cultural shifts and anarchy that occurred after WWII is to ignore the underpinnings of most of the Euro-centric conflicts that have occurred and are ongoing today.Another...
  • Bob Mobley
    Keith Lowe has written an interesting, revealing and disturbingly thoughtful book that examines a little known and rarely discussed reality of Europe in the aftermath of World War II. What I find interesting and thought-provoking, is the knowledge and increased awareness that reading "Savage Continent" has put before me from a political as well as cultural perspective. The frightening condition of the European nations, including Britain, at the e...
  • AC
    I will give this one 3.5 stars. I think it's somewhat overrated. I listened to this book on audible - term is starting again, and lots of work, kids, etc... and so I'm going to be listening to a lot more audiobooks. This book, in fact, was well suited to audible, because it is long (quite long) on anecdote, and rather short (and superficial) on analysis.Hence, 3-stars.An intersting topic, though.
  • Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
    I found this a very difficult book to read, not because it was "harrowing" as some reviewers have described it - for me there was nothing new here, just lots of facts and information that filled out the bones a little more. I found this book difficult because it is so dry. I believe this book is really aimed at an insular English-speaking audience for whom the Second World War (in Europe) ended in May 1945. Europeans, and serving soldiers at the ...
  • David Nichols
    One could fill a fair-sized library with books about the Second World War, a historical event that has something for everyone: exciting battles, great wartoys, Nazis, Captain America, Mrs. Miniver, kamikazes, and the Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy.  Books about the aftermath of the war remain scarce, as most people assume there was no real drama in the postwar period except, perhaps, for the superpower sparring that initiated the Cold War.  Author Kei...
  • Jordi Sellarès
    Feia molt, molt de temps que no gaudia tant, i m'esborronava a la vegada, amb un assaig històric. Magníficament escrit, tasca historiogràfica colossal, ens narra uns dels episodis més salvatges, cruents i, alhora, desconeguts, de la Història del nostre continent. La postguerra europea, lluny de triomfalismes, va ser una època de barbàrie, desgovern i descontrol, on la set de sang, la venjança i l'odi van campar per tots els països involu...
  • Gwern
    (~144k words, ~4h) Nonfiction European history by Keith Lowe. Savage Continent is a fascinating book on the bloody aftermath of WWII as the destruction wound down, the lingering consequences of anarchy worked themselves out in the sudden peace, and people tried to find a new equilibrium, punishing collaborators and finishing the ethnic cleansings. Quickly summarized on NPR:"I was used to seeing these wonderful, cozy myths about the way the war en...
  • Peter
    Much of this book is extraordinarily horrifying, disturbing, and depressing. After describing the destruction of the second world war, mind-boggling in itself, we move on to the scarcity, the vengeance, and even the continuing conflict that went on after the war is conventionally seen to be over. (But Lowe argues that the defeat of Germany was only the ending of the main war--there were many civil wars that had been a part of the conflict, and lo...
  • Brian
    I had originally planned on reading this immediately after I finished the Antony Beevor book on WWII, but frankly by the time I finished that book I felt I needed a break from man's inhumanity to man. It turns out that that was a good call, because the months leading up to the end of the war in Europe through the following several years are filled with genocide, mass rapes, ethnic cleansing, murder, mass deportations or mandatory expulsions, star...
  • Emily
    This book is an important corrective to a belief that I suspect many Americans hold subconsciously. Somehow, we hazily picture that after May 1945, with the war over, everyone went home and got on with the business of starting families, buying home appliances, driving cars with tailfins, and so forth. While this might be sort of true for some Americans, the war's aftermath carried on in Europe for years after 1945--a ravaged continent seething wi...
  • K.M. Weiland
    An incredibly insightful overview of the continuing horrors post-WWII that most of us tend to overlook. Difficult to read at times, but extremely important.
  • Lysergius
    Ah yes, A very good attempt to describe the chaos of the continent following the war. I remember as a child in London in the late 40s going about with my father, who was Czech, being stopped by people in the street and him asking them, what language they spoke better than English... everyone it seemed was a DP.What is difficult to grasp is the depth of the hatreds that still exist - it is as if the Nazis acted as a catalyst and opened this chest ...
  • Brendan Hodge
    There's a narrative that WW2 is the good war: fought against literal Nazis, and followed up with a merciful treatment of the defeated, the which mercy prevented another war. Lowe's Savage Continent is a useful corrective to this view, showing the allies often allowed or even engaged in terrible behavior after the war, and that the peaceful Europe we all see now did not emerge quickly from the chaos and brutality of total war. At the same time, Lo...
  • Jonathan Maas
    A Must-read, or rather a Must-referenceThis is a difficult book, whether you're a Europhile or just someone who wants to believe in humanity. WWII did not end on September 2, 1945 on the USS Missouri. It went on a long time after that - and Keith Lowe gets most all of it. It's page after page filled with the worst humanity has to offer, and occasionally a bit of brightness.But it's mostly filled with the former, and though it's well-organized, th...
  • Ally5321
    I loved this book. I was in Poland this time last year for the Football European Championships and loved how great that country is. I met many good people from all walks of life but on coming back I realised how different we all are in Europe and became fascinated on why we all are so different and decided to do a bit if research into it. I was reading allot about the Eastern Bloc, Communism, Fascism and trying to get to the bottom of why we are ...
  • Peter Mcloughlin
    The "good war" looks like a heroic fight between good and evil and The allied victory was celebrated in our sanitized history was in fact a lot more messy than we like to remember. the immediate aftermath of the war is a little looked at historical period. the mess that WWII created in Europe took a decade to sort itself out. The continent was a ravaged shell and vengeance was taken by different nationalities as payback for atrocities of the war....
  • Linda Raber
    It would be difficult to find a history that promises more than "Savage Continent" and delivers less. Keith Lowe boasts that his book is the first to bring real statistical rigor to bear on the study of economic, social, political, and spiritual devastation of post-war Europe. He does no such thing. What he does bring to the table is a stilted and gravely serious academic tone. Trivial anecdotal and obviously cherry-picked data are claimed to be ...
  • Michael Flanagan
    Savage Continent tells the story of Europe after the end of World War II. This book for me is well written but gave me no new insights into the subject. Why the book is well set out I quite often found myself skipping over sections. With that in mind I would recommend this book for someone new to the subject matter as it does give a good overview.As one would expect this book is filled with some rather disturbing scenes of the violence that swept...
  • Lewis Weinstein
    Most people think when WWII ended, it was over. No so. The terrifying aftermath lasted for many years and "Savage Continent" provides enough details to make us wonder why we like to go to Europe at all. The viciousness meted out to surviving Jews who had the audacity to return to their former homes seeking what had been taken from them is sad beyond measure. Hated before they were taken by the Nazis, hated when they returned. Hated now? The idea ...
  • Davek
    I picked this book up because of my father’s life story, growing up as a Ukrainian in Poland between the wars, being taken for forced labour at the age of 14 by the Nazi’s, reluctantly joining the German army, then surrendering and joining the Polish forces fighting in Italy. Arriving in England in 1946 as a stateless person never to see his parents or siblings again. Most of whom were deported to Russia during Operation Vistula in 1947. http...
  • Colleen Clark
    This is a brilliant, gripping, and mind-boggling work. The title is self-explanatory, but it's like no other book I've read about this period. All the chapters are short, none more than 20 pages, many shorter.Here are the sections.1. "Legacy of War." This is about the immediate aftermath and documents the mind-boggling destruction of the cities and the devastation of the population. (The current movie "Lore" (for the name Hannelore), about 5 chil...
  • Pctrollbreath
    This book is a good pageturner introducing some aspects of history that are not often discussed.For large parts of the book the history itself is short on analysis, seeming to be more a skeleton of description on which the auther can hang some truly horrific individual stories of suffering. You can forgive this because these are stories that should not be forgotten, but, I think that I may have to look elsewhere for a deeper look at what happened...
  • Ivana
    Velmi silna kniha, trvalo mi nezvycajne dlho, kym som sa cez nu dostala. Bez prikras opisuje veci, ktore sa dialo na konci vojny a kratko po nej (do roku 1949). Zverstva, zufalstvo, nefungujuca infrastruktura, strata ludskosti i dostojnosti - to vsetko tam je a nuti to citatela dufat, ze sa uz nic take nikdy nezopakuje. str. 36 "To znamená, že vo vojne zahynulo 6 percent všetkých Grékov. Podobné to bolo v prípade Maďarska: jeho 450 tisíc...