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  • Published: 29 June 2017
  • ISBN: 9780241966495
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 480

The Fear and the Freedom

How the Second World War Changed Us

The bestselling author explores the impact of WW2 - for nations, cities and families around the world

The Second World War was one of the most catastrophic events in human history. But how did the experience and memory of bloodshed affect our lives?

The new order, as it emerged after 1945, saw the end of European empires and the birth of two new superpowers, in a new, global Cold War. Scientists delivered new technologies, politicians fantasized about overhauled societies, some argued for global government, others for independence. It was an era of wonder and terror, and it resonates in the arguments about nationalism, immigration and globalisation that we have today.

As well as analyzing the major changes and they myths that emerged, The Fear and the Freedom uses individual stories to examine the philosophical and psychological impact of the war, by showing how leaders and ordinary people coped with the post-war world and turned one of the greatest traumas in history into an opportunity for change. This is the definitive exploration of the aftermath of WWII - and the impact it still has.

  • Published: 29 June 2017
  • ISBN: 9780241966495
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 480

About the author

Keith Lowe

Keith Lowe is widely recognized as an authority on the Second World War. He is the author of two previous books, Savage Continent and Inferno: The Devastation of Hamburg, 1943, and has often spoken on TV and radio, both in Britain and the United States. He lives in north London with his wife and two children.

Also by Keith Lowe

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Praise for The Fear and the Freedom

Richly-documented and wide-ranging . . . I wish schools would use books like this to introduce pupils to the complexity of the problems that face them

Theodore Zeldin, author of 'The Hidden Pleasures of Life' and 'An Intimate History Of Humanity'

Keith Lowe has written an eloquent meditation on the aftermath and the long psychological tentacles of the Second World War. Beautifully written and profoundly perceptive, The Fear and the Freedom confirms Lowe as one of our finest historians

Antony Beevor

Provocative, insightful and at times profoundly moving . . . I hope everyone - and our politicians especially - will read it and learn its vitally important lessons

James Holland

Books about the causes and course of the Second World War continue to pour off the presses. Yet there are far fewer books about the world wide geopolitical, economic and personal effects of the most catastrophic event of the 20th century. So Keith Lowe's concise, lucid and highly readable book, which also includes the testimony of individual memories of the immediate years after the end of the War and their hopes of a cleansed new world of social justice and prosperity, is to be welcomed. In Lowe's opinion, the reconfiguration and realignment of nations that followed the War, led ultimately to Brexit, with Europe once again divided in a potentially dangerous and certainly disruptive way

Juliet Gardiner

The Fear and The Freedom is a deft blend of historical research, moving interviews, and challenging psychological insights. Lowe writes with elegance and perception. A truly illuminating read

Jonathan Dimbleby

This powerful book serves as a timely reminder of what our forefathers forged out of the ashes of the Second World War - an international order based on cooperation and interdependence together with a bold, fearless domestic agenda that set about creating a new society

David Lammy

Insightful and panoramic . . . no myth goes unchallenged. Thoroughly compelling

Sunday Times

Lowe's book is a compelling work of historical scholarship - but, more than that, it is an intimate portrait of how human beings carry on when their world has changed for ever

John Gray, New Statesman

A masterpiece of historical inquiry: painstakingly researched, cleverly constructed and elegantly written. In surveying such a diverse panorama, Lowe displays a sensitivity to the human condition - how we got to where we are now - that is as unusual as it is welcome

Saul David, Daily Telegraph

Intelligent and far-reaching . . . he blessedly forgoes the banal literalism of conventional history by considering the mythological, philosophical and psychological consequences of the war . . . Lowe brilliantly reveals how, when trapped between freedom and fear, people tether their emotional and intellectual states to world events

Financial Times

Overflowing with insights and ideas and steeped in curious and evocative detail . . . A very fine work of history

Paul Addison, Literary Review

This is an important book, impossible to summarise, profound in its humanity, bold in its confrontation of sacred myths

The Herald

Ceaselessly insightful, this masterpiece of historical inquiry - the fruit of five years' labour - dissects the impact of the war on society, politics, urban planning and much else besides

Sunday Telegraph

Few historians could be better placed to investigate this subject than Keith Lowe . . . riveting

Evening Standard

Magnificent...headed for much acclaim, and possibly big prizes. There is no doubting the size of Mr. Lowe's achievement. By virtue of its ambition; the variety of its content; its author's talent in giving us both "large" History and smaller and anecdotal tales; and an easy narrative resting on wide-ranging scholarship, "The Fear and the Freedom" can justly claim to be one of the best, most useful books on World War II to have emerged in the past decade. It belongs in everyone's library.

Paul Kennedy, Wall Street Journal

A real triumph: shocking, yet sensitive and supremely fair-minded. This is a wonderful book about hellish events

Richard Holmes on 'Inferno'

Graphic and chilling. This excellent book paints a little-known and frightening picture of a continent in the embrace of lawlessness and chaos

Ian Kershaw on 'Savage Continent'

Grimly absorbing, conveys the pity of war with integrity and proper sympathy

Ian Thomson on 'Savage Continent', Sunday Telegraph

Moving, measured and provocative

Dominic Sandbrook on 'Savage Continent', Sunday Times

Admirable, impeccably researched and engagingly written...deserves its place on the shelves

Daily Telegraph on 'Inferno'

Compelling, startling and gripping. The definitive account of a great tragedy

A.C. Grayling on 'Inferno'

The story of that hellish summer night is one Lowe tells well, unblinkingly, exactly as he should... a tour de force

Sunday Times on 'Inferno'

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