In Europe: Travels Through the Twentieth Century
In 1999, as the 20th century came to a close, beloved Dutch journalist Geert Mak crisscrossed Europe to retrace the history of its last hundred years and to take the pulse of the great European experiment on the cusp of a new century. Along the way he spoke to the survivors of some of the most significant events of our times, allowing them to tell their stories in their own form and fashion, bringing history to life with gut wrenching vividness and personal immediacy.
It’s easy to forget just how pivotal the twentieth century was. We went from horse drawn wagons to automobiles and passenger jets. We fought in the muddy trenches of WWI, reduced entire cities to rubble from the air in WWII, and witnessed the genocidal implosion of the countries of the former Yugoslavia. Half a continent experienced the sudden rise and abrupt fall of communism as a social system and as an organizing principle for their way of life. But the turbulent century also brought with it great triumphs, including the end of war in Europe and the great social and political experiment that has become the European Union. It is on that cautiously hopeful note that the book and the century ends.
In Europe is a masterpiece of history, travel and sociology that reads like an epic novel. It will remind you of your past, provide some explanation for the present, and attempt to predict the future.