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Year Zero: A History of 1945
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This sweeping, boldly original book describes the violence, racketeering and retroactive justice as well as the hope and optimism that erupted at the end of the Second World War.

About the Author

Ian Buruma is Professor of Human Rights and Journalism at Bard College, in New York State. Murder in Amsterdam won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. He was awarded the Erasmus Prize in 2008.

Reviews

Buruma's book is a study of the mess that the world was in 1945, a mess we choose largely not to remember. It is also a brief but valuable study of how that mess began to be cleaned up. It gives us, too, simple lessons, both touching and terrifying, about how human beings are and can be... Excellent and lucid -- David Aaronovitch * The Times *
Ian Buruma's wonderful book is about a time, immediately after the end of the war, which has somehow fallen between the cracks of history, and which the author has now devastatingly brought to light... A compelling and astounding addition to the literature of the war -- Christopher Hudson * Daily Mail *
Brilliant... Year Zero is a major acheivement, a book of many parts, which commemorates a generation, as they stood on the brink of an unknown future -- Joanna Kavenna * Spectator *
A superbly written chronicle of the conflict's bittersweet aftermath -- Ian Thomson * Observer *
Moving and excellent -- Neal Ascherson * Guardian *

Ian Buruma's elegant and humane new book illuminates one of the most important modern
historical moments: the spring and summer of 1945, immediately after the second world war

-- Rana Mitter * Financial Times *
Buruma excels as a social historian of the aftermath of the war... It is hard to overstate Buruma's accomplishment in crafting the first truly worldwide account of perceptions and experiences in the pivotal years after the guns had fallen silent... Outstanding -- Samuel Moyn * Prospect *
Sweeping... [The] book's most substantial merit is its grasp of the moral, social, and political confusions that pervaded every nation following the war... Buruma conveys a powerful sense of the horror and chaos of 1945 -- Max Hastings * Foreign Affairs *
Ian Buruma's lively new history, Year Zero, is about the various ways in which the aftermath of the Good War turned out badly for many people, and splendidly for some who didn't deserve it. It is enriched by his knowledge of six languages, a sense of personal connection to the era and his understanding of this period -- Adam Hochschild * New York Times *
It is well written and researched, full of little-known facts and incisive political analysis. What makes it unique among hundreds of other works written about this period is that it gives an overview of the effects of the war and liberation, not only in Europe, but also in Asia. -- Charles Simic * New York Review of Books *
A graphic account - well-researched, splendidly constructed and stylishly written - of the hinge year of the twentieth century, of its horrors, hopes, illusions and roots of troubles to come. Altogether compelling - a fine achievement. -- Ian Kershaw
Year Zero - 1945 - is the founding moment of the modern era. Ian Buruma's history of that moment is vivid, compassionate and compelling. -- Michael Ignatieff
A brilliant recreation of that decisive year of victory and defeat, chaos and humiliation, concentrating on peoples, not states... In the face of so much horror, it is an astounding effort at deep comprehension. A superb book, splendidly written. -- Fritz Stern
Ian Buruma gives a heart-wrenching account of the horrors, the unimaginable cruelties, and the sheer stupidities of the last months of World War II, and the attempts to deal with them in the first months of peace. -- Brian Urquhart
Year Zero is a searing indictment of war, yet not about the Second World War itself but about its aftermath, the trauma, the revenge, the regrets, the desire to forget, the need to remember... This is Ian Buruma at his best. -- Donald Sassoon
Buruma is an admirably thoughtful writer -- Dominic Sandbrook * Sunday Times *

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