• The Global Age

  • Europe 1950-2017
  • By: Ian Kershaw
  • Narrated by: James Langton
  • Length: 27 hrs
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (75 ratings)

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The Global Age

By: Ian Kershaw
Narrated by: James Langton
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Publisher's Summary

The the final chapter in the Penguin History of Europe series from the acclaimed scholar and author of To Hell and Back

After the overwhelming horrors of the first half of the 20th century, described by Ian Kershaw in his previous book as being 'to hell and back', the years from 1950 to 2017 brought peace and relative prosperity to most of Europe. Enormous economic improvements transformed the continent. The catastrophic era of the world wars receded into an ever more distant past, though its long shadow continued to shape mentalities.

Yet Europe was now a divided continent, living under the nuclear threat in a period intermittently fraught with anxiety. There were, by most definitions, striking successes: the Soviet bloc melted away, dictatorships vanished, and Germany was successfully reunited. But accelerating globalization brought new fragilities. The interlocking crises after 2008 were the clearest warnings to Europeans that there was no guarantee of peace and stability, and, even today, the continent threatens further fracturing.

In this remarkable audiobook, Ian Kershaw has created a grand panorama of the world we live in and where it came from. Drawing on examples from all across Europe, The Global Age is an endlessly fascinating portrait of the recent past and present and a cautious look into our future.

©2019 Ian Kershaw (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"The sunnier, postwar tale frames The Global Age, the second volume of his expertly crafted history of modern Europe...he has produced an accessible scholarly synthesis, panoramic in scope and sound in judgment.... The Global Age is a heavy but elegant book.” (Wall Street Journal)

“The history of Europe over the last 70 years - as traced and explained brilliantly in Ian Kershaw’s magisterial The Global Age: Europe, 1950-2017 - should give at least some credence to the argument that things are not as bad as they seem.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“Kershaw directs his considerable talents to the fall of the Berlin Wall, reunification of Germany, and the ‘global exposure’ of newly vulnerable Europe...this is a terrific roundup by a trusted historian, featuring an extensive bibliography for further reading.” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)

What listeners say about The Global Age

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Second half of book big disappointment!

Prior to reading this book, I had with great satisfaction read To Hell and Back.

Unfortunately, this book is not nearly as an objective historical coverage of the period as i expected. Particularly the second half of the book is obnoxiously infested with the authors personal perspective and biases, like, according to the author, terrorism on European soil to a large extent explained by European interference in the Middle East - for effect this is repeated in the final chapter, economic inequality being a problem requiring redistribution policies to be implemented - so the author wants the present economic cake to be shared from one group of people to another, no suggestion as to how to ensure growing the economic cake, global warming is the largest problem facing the Europe and the author decides solution cannot involve nuclear energy or continued growing emission of CO2 - how this will influence the economic inequality in Europe the author has now view on.

I was disappointed with this book. It promised so much and unfortunately delivered to a great extent a traditional liberal lecture on Europe’s problems, which the title did not suggest.

15 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Slightly biased to the left

It's too obvious the author has some left leaning biases. Especially at the end when talking about immigration, terrorism, the recession, Global warming and Brexit.
Living through these current events and knowing the author is only giving the left wing point of view makes me wonder if his history of the earlier years are tilted left as well...
Other than that it was a pretty good history of the last 68 years of Europe

8 people found this helpful

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Comprehensive with surprising details

Very good summary of Europe's last 70 years. Kershaw is a man of the center-left so he's disappointed that Keynesian solutions were useless in the stagflation of the late 70's & 80's. He credits Reagan/Thatcher supply-side economics for the recovery and hyper-growth of the decades after but then mourns the diminished investment in social welfare. He notes that this economics results in income inequality, which he deems a big problem (along with climate change), but doesn't attempt to reconcile why immigrants want to come to these booming economies en masse if opportunities for lower-skilled workers are so poor. He also falls back on racism for immigration wariness while he notes people were very fearful of radical Islamic terrorism and with more supply in the low-skilled portion of the work force.

I'm perhaps over-stressing this because Kershaw ends his book with these opinions, but overall the book is recommended for covering the last 70 years fairly.

3 people found this helpful

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Overall a good survey

Overall this accomplished my objective of getting a survey of European history of the second half of the twentieth, into the first two decades of the twenty-first century. Kershaw presents the subjects in a clear way and his writing, as in HELL AND BACK, is engaging and easy to read. He also provides a great bibliography. I highly recommend this book as a first plunge into the subject or just for an overview. The Audible performance is well modulated and paced. It goes well if one wants to listen while reading which I like to do for additional enjoyment and understanding.

1 person found this helpful

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Good book

This is a well written and very thorough book. It was not as interesting to me as the first book which covered the 2 World Wars. It was interesting to see how world events both within and outside Europe shaped the continent. It really illustrates how we got to where we are today.