Year Zero: A History of 1945 by Ian Buruma
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
There are certain years in which everything history-wise turns back to zero - 1815 is a good world wide example; 1865 is a good American example. 2001 was probably the latest Year Zero. Buruma's book is about 1945, the year World War II ended. This isn't a chronological study of the year though; and it's not a Greatest Generation romantic look a the time period either. Rather, it's a probing, analytical look at the history and sociology; Buruma's peels back some layers of Europe, Asia, Russia and the United States, sometimes exposing some dark unpleasantness that mirrors the black horrors of the war itself. I've liked Buruma's writing style in the past (Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance was a great look at the paths modern Europe is currently trodding upon) and I thought this one was quite engrossing.
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