The Struggle for Europe

The Turbulent History of a Divided Continent 1945 to the Present

From the ashes of World War II to the conflict over Iraq, William Hitchcock examines the miraculous transformation of Europe from a deeply fractured land to a continent striving for stability, tolerance, democracy, and prosperity. Exploring the role of Cold War politics in Europe’s peace settlement and the half century that followed, Hitchcock reveals how leaders such as Charles de Gaulle, Willy Brandt, and Margaret Thatcher balanced their nations’ interests against the demands of the reigning superpowers, leading to great strides in economic and political unity. He re-creates Europeans’ struggles with their troubling legacy of racial, ethnic, and national antagonism, and shows that while divisions persist, Europe stands on the threshold of changes that may profoundly shape the future of world affairs.

Reviews

“[S]hould be read and studied by a generation of students of European history… . One could not want a clearer exposition and a better guide.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Lively and insightful… . A thoughtful narrative that challenges some previous assumptions about key events that shaped our world.” —The Washington Post Book World

“Splendid… . Hitchcock is a gifted storyteller, with a knack for choosing the right anecdote and quotation to enliven his story.” —The Economist

“Energetic and fluid… . A confident, sharp-minded account.” —Financial Times

“Every now and then books come along that tell you who the master historians of the next generation are going to be. I had this sense as I read Will Hitchcock’s The Struggle for Europe. Shrewd, comprehensive, elegantly written, always convincing in its arguments, it is without question the most successful analytical synthesis of recent European history now available.” —John Lewis Gaddis, Yale University

“There is nothing more important at this juncture of our history than a crash course for Americans in modern European history. And there is no better place to start than with William I. Hitchcock’s book… . It deserves serious attention.” —Daily News Tribune

“A clear exposition of postwar developments… . Sober and comprehensive.” —Publishers Weekly

“Lucid, highly readable… . Scholarly without being tedious, a sturdy companion to Richard Vinen’s A History in Fragments.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Two features of this book stand out: its easy, lucid style, which allows deeply thought-out analyses to be slipped into the readable narrative; and the confident way it treats regional complexities, from Ulster to Greece, yet preserves the larger picture of Europe’s remarkable transformation. This is a very deft and mature work.” —Paul Kennedy, author of The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers

“Succinct and handy… . Its analysis is adept, well supported with statistics, and quite readable.” —Booklist

“Concise … A classic account… . [The Struggle for Europe] has the priceless merit of clarity, indispensable to those trying to pick their way through the European labyrinth.” —The Daily Telegraph (London)

“The nature of the task [Hitchcock] has accomplished here should not be underestimated. In fewer than 500 pages of text he has synthesized a mass of information, intelligently summarizing the latest state of play on a whole range of topics… . Always lucid and the geographical range is impressive.” —The Sunday Telegraph (London)

“An unassuming tour de force, The Struggle for Europe is seamlessly structured, witty and elegant in its narration.”—The Scotsman (UK)

“The optimism is refreshing, and this well-informed work is written in robust and readable prose.” —The Independent (London)

“Brilliantly concise, pithy, and sometimes acerbic… If it is true that nations that forget their history are doomed to repeat it, then The Struggle for Europe ought to be part of a national curriculum.” —The Times (London)

“Written with an impressive level of sensitivity and understanding… . Hitchcock’s lively style and infectious enthusiasm for his subject have resulted in a book which deserves to be widely read.” —Scotland on Sunday

“Stimulating and readable… . Hitchcock is alive to the dilemmas of European policy makers and statesmen.” —The Evening Standard