So much seems to have happened in the crowded and explosive place called Europe since the end of the Second World War that it would seem to defy any historian to encapsulate it in one medium-sized book. We have had the division of the continent, and its reunification; the foundation of what is now the European Union; and, outside the Soviet bloc, coups, civil wars and other interruptions to the smooth progress of what is supposed to be the First World. To even the most subtle and elastic of minds, this represents an awful lot to comprehend and analyse.
For the most part, William I Hitchcock has succeeded in his aim of giving us an intelligent and comprehensive tour of the continent’s history since 1945. For anyone too young to have lived through all the events – or those who did but whose memories