Year Zero: A History of 1945 - Ian Buruma

Just as a cookie could kill a starving death camp inmate whose system couldn’t handle it, so restoring normality after the insanity of world war was a tricky business. In his global survey of the devastation of 1945, Year Zero (Penguin Press, $29.95), Ian Buruma describes an almost unimaginably complex situation. The old world was in ruins, and this included both the physical infrastructure of cities and industries and the “invisible ruins” of cultures and even of civilization itself. Then there were the millions of displaced persons, the famines, epidemics, and combustible mix of festering bitterness and ready weapons. Buruma, sensitive to the wide sweep of political exigencies as well as to their very real effect on individual lives, starts with his father’s experience as a slave laborer in Germany, then chronicles survival stories of civilians and soldiers from throughout Europe and Asia. Tracking a Liberation Complex, he charts the initial “exultation,” the uses and abuses of fraternization, the complexities of repatriation, and the unwillingness of the formerly powerless—women, colonial subjects—to relinquish new-found independence. The goal, as Buruma shows with great insight and humanity, wasn’t to reassemble pre-war conditions, but to create a world that wouldn’t fall prey to its own destructive tendencies.

Year Zero: A History of 1945 Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594204364
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Penguin Press - September 26th, 2013

Year Zero: A History of 1945 Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594204364
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Penguin Press - September 26th, 2013

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