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"Chilling... To Hell and Back should be required reading in every chancellery, every editorial cockpit and every place where peevish Euroskeptics do their thinking ... . Kershaw documents each and every 'ism' of his analysis with extraordinary detail and passionate humanism." - The New York Times Book Review

The Penguin History of Europe series reaches the twentieth century with acclaimed scholar Ian Kershaw's long-anticipated analysis of the pivotal years of World War I and World War II.


The European catastrophe, the long continuous period from 1914 to 1949, was unprecedented in human history - an extraordinarily dramatic, often traumatic, and endlessly fascinating period of upheaval and transformation. This new volume in the Penguin History of Europe series offers comprehensive coverage of this tumultuous era. Beginning with the outbreak of World War I through the rise of Hitler and the aftermath of the Second World War, award-winning British historian Ian Kershaw combines his characteristic original scholarship and gripping prose as he profiles the key decision makers and the violent shocks of war as they affected the entire European continent and radically altered the course of European history. Kershaw identifies four major causes for this catastrophe: an explosion of ethnic-racist nationalism, bitter and irreconcilable demands for territorial revisionism, acute class conflict given concrete focus through the Bolshevik Revolution, and a protracted crisis of capitalism.

Incisive, brilliantly written, and filled with penetrating insights, To Hell and Back offers an indispensable study of a period in European history whose effects are still being felt today.



About the Author

Ian Kershaw

Professor Sir Ian Kershaw is a British historian, noted for his biographies of Adolf Hitler. Ian Kershaw studied at Liverpool (BA) and Oxford (D. Phil) . He was a lecturer first in medieval, then in modern, history at the University of Manchester. In 1983-4 he was Visiting Professor of Modern History at the Ruhr University in Bochum, West Germany. From 1987 to 1989 he was Professor of Modern History at the University of Nottingham, and since 1989 has been Professor of Modern History at Sheffield. He is a fellow of the British Academy, of the Royal Historical Society, of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and of the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung in Bonn. He retired from academic life in the autumn semester of 2008.



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