Saturday, 10 July 2010

A History in Fragments

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I recommend Richard Vinen’s A History in Fragments: Europe in the Twentieth Century. The book I'd like to have written. Unlike histories written twenty or more years ago this gives Eastern Europe as much or more space as Western Europe (whose history post-1945, as Norman Stone said of British history in the same period, is about as interesting as that of the North Thames Area Gas Board).

Communism was brought down in a management buyout by the nomenklatura. An apt description of the Romanian Revolution. 

'The history of post-war Europe is a meditation on Nazism.' Yes indeed though not in post-Communist Europe. As always many wrong lessons are drawn from history. Auschwitz is the reason for multiculturalism, mass immigration and the political correctness which so closely resembles fascism. 

Gabriel Chevalier's Clochemerle rightly gets a paragraph, Julie Burchill a sentence. 

Not a great book but worth the (very easy) read. 

The central event of the 20th century however is not the holocaust but the absolutely extraordinary economic miracle in Western Europe (and the rest of the developed, i.e. non-Communist white) world. This is not really explained, at least not to my satisfaction. I suspect it can't be.

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