Ian Kershaw : To Hell and Back: Europe, 1914-1949

Kershaw, Ian. To Hell and Back: Europe, 1914-1949. Penguin, 2016. 624 p.

NB : Please note that I have read the translated version in French.

One of the few books of Ian Kershaw that I had not read (the synthesis side motivating me very little), I took the opportunity to repair this mistake. Indeed, we remain in a rather global synthesis with some reservations when he talk about the subjects he masters less, a little too Anglocentric in the reflections, a lot of points that would have deserved more details. But on the whole, we remain on a rather good synthesis in order to follow the big evolutions of the structures of the society and the political regimes in Europe, while adopting a rather broad comparative approach: by avoiding the analysis center only on UK / France / Germany (with a short passage on the War of Spain found in too many books). The inclusion, to varying degrees, of the other countries of Central and Eastern Europe (but also some points on the countries Scandinavians, who would have deserved more) provides a broader and informative perspective.

Not necessarily the best work of Kershaw, but strongly advise for those who do not necessarily know the subject of Europe between wars, and deeply instructive in terms of reflections on the current period … To be completed, if possible, by the Robert Gerwarth’s book: The Vanquished for a more precise zoom on the immediate post-war years.

For information, the book is available on Amazon by clicking on this link (UK Shop).


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