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Year Zero: A History of 1945

Year Zero: A History of 1945

Hardback

By (author) Ian Buruma

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  • Publisher: ATLANTIC BOOKS
  • Format: Hardback | 384 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 238mm x 40mm | 780g
  • Publication date: 3 October 2013
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1848879369
  • ISBN 13: 9781848879362
  • Sales rank: 419,623

Product description

Many books have been written, and continue to be written, about the Second World War: military histories, histories of the Holocaust, the war in Asia, or collaboration and resistance in Europe. Few books have taken a close look at the immediate aftermath of the worldwide catastrophe. Drawing on hundreds of eye-witness accounts and personal stories, this sweeping book examines the seven months (in Europe) and four months (in Asia) that followed the surrender of the Axis powers, from the fate of Holocaust survivors liberated from the concentration camps, and the formation of the state of Israel, to the incipient civil war in China, and the allied occupation of Japan. It was a time when terrible revenge was taken on collaborators and their former masters; of ubiquitous black markets, war crime tribunals; and the servicing of millions of occupation troops, former foes in some places, liberators in others. But Year Zero is not just a story of vengeance. It was also a new beginning, of democratic restorations in Japan and West Germany, of social democracy in Britain and of a new world order under the United Nations. If construction follows destruction, Year Zero describes that extraordinary moment in between, when people faced the wreckage, full of despair, as well as great hope. An old world had been destroyed; a new one was yet to be built.

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Author information

Ian Buruma is Professor of Human Rights and Journalism at Bard College, in New York State. Murder in Amsterdam won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. He was awarded the Erasmus Prize in 2008.

Review quote

Charles Simic, "The New York Review of Books" ""Year Zero."..covers a great deal of history without minimizing the complexity of the events and the issues. It is well written and researched, full of little-known facts and incisive political analysis. What makes it unique among hundreds of other works written about this period is that it gives an overview of the effects of the war and liberation, not only in Europe, but also in Asia... A stirring account of the year in which the world woke up to the horror of what had just occurred and--while some new horrors were being committed--began to reflect on how to make sure that it never happens again." Adam Hochschild, "The New York Times Book Review" "Ian Buruma's lively new history, "Year Zero," is about the various ways in which the aftermath of the Good War turned out badly for many people, and splendidly for some who didn't deserve it. It is enriched by his knowledge of six languages, a sense of personal connection to the era (his Dutch father was a forced laborer in Berlin) and his understanding of this period from a book he wrote two decades ago that is still worth reading, "The Wages of Guilt: Memories of War in Germany and Japan."" "The New Yorker" "[A] very human history of 'postwar 1945.'" "Smithsonian Magazine" "[Buruma] makes a compelling case that many of the modern triumphs and traumas yet to come took root in this fateful year of retribution, revenge, suffering and healing." "Kirkus Reviews" "[An] insightful meditation on the world's emergence from the wreckage of World War II. Buruma offers a vivid portrayal of the first steps toward normalcy in human affairs amid the ruins of Europe and Asia...Authoritative, illuminating." "Booklist" "In 1945, the war ended, but a new world began. Taken and destroyed cities were transformed; the liberated celebrated; scores were settled; people starved; justice was and was not meted out; soldiers and refugee