A must read for those who want to understand what life was like when WWII ended in 1945 and the dancing in the streets was over. A powerful, graphic and disturbing account of life in post-war Europe where life was hell for a further ten years.
Painstakingly researched and quoting from the world’s most respected war correspondents, political and military figures of that time Lowe has produced a book that will live in the mind of the reader long after the last page has been turned.
The work explores the physical and moral destruction of civilisation after the war; not only would infrastructure be destroyed and people reduced to living as animals but the human psyche would be so damaged men and women would lose sight of any decency toward each other; committing acts of murder, violence, looting and rape shaking their heads in bewilderment at themselves. These were the very people who had those same acts perpetrated against them during the war.
Lowe explores the disbelief of both British and the American politicians who had early knowledge of the German internment camps but would not release the information to the news media/general public feeling the information incredible. It was not until allied troops entered the camps the full horror was comprehended and filmed. Some allied troops allowed 24 hours retributions, Russian troops allowed longer against German troops and German citizens. Unfortunately, it became an indiscriminate bloodbath.
Considering the subject matter it is a surprisingly easy book to read; flows well and chapter headings for subject matter. I was engrossed in the book and discovered I had read as many chapters as I would when reading a good novel.
Keith Lowe is a British author and historian. Lowe’s works have been translated into more than a dozen languages. “Savage Continent” is an innovative history of the chaos and lawlessness that gripped Europe at the end of WWII. The book took five years to research in eight languages. “Savage Continent” was shortlisted for the 2013 Longman/History Today Prize and for English PEN’s Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History