In the summer of 1914, most of Europe plunged into a war so catastrophic that it unhinged the continent's politics and beliefs in a way that took generations to recover from.
The disaster terrified its survivors, shocked that a civilization that had blandly assumed itself to be a model for the rest of the world had collapsed into a chaotic savagery beyond any comparison.
In 1939, Europeans would initiate a second conflict that managed to be even worse - a war in which the killing of civilians was central and which culminated in the Holocaust.
To Hell and Back tells this story with humanity, flair and originality. Kershaw gives a compelling narrative of events, but he also wrestles with the most difficult issues that the events raise - with what it meant for the Europeans who initiated and lived through such fearful times - and what this means for us.
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If you only get one history book - make it this.
Possibly not, simply because it is more difficult to refer backwards and forwards with an audiobook. Also, history books are made to dip into, which you can't really do with an audiobook.
No, it's a book to be digested.
This is a history book that covers the period in Europe between the beginning of the First World War to the aftermath of the second world war magnificently. it conveys a huge amount of information in an easy and interesting way. The narrator, too, was perfect.
- Rosie S