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Description - Europe in the Twentieth Century by George Lichtheim

The great upheavals in the 20th Century completely altered the shape of Europe, and her role in international affairs--and this riveting analysis shows just how the profound changes in intellectual, artistic, and religious awareness were both cause and consequence of the decay of traditional liberal-bourgeois culture. Taking into account factors such as nationalism, socialism, the European civil war between communist and fascist movements after 1919, the decline of the nation-state, and the rise of technocratic forms of government, the result is a compelling and comprehensive view of European civilization between 1900 and 1970.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781842120880
ISBN-10: 1842120883
Format: Paperback
(233mm x 158mm x 33mm)
Pages: 410
Imprint: Weidenfeld & Nicolson History
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Publish Date: 19-Oct-2000
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions - Europe in the Twentieth Century by George Lichtheim

Book Reviews - Europe in the Twentieth Century by George Lichtheim

UK Kirkus Review » The death of the author in 1973 makes this book less than a complete history of the 20th century. Concluding in 1970 before the end of the post-war boom, the collapse of Communism, the information technology revolution and the Americo-globalization of the world it nevertheless encompasses a huge swathe of 20th century European history: the two world wars, the disintegration of the European empires, the Communist and Fascist revolutions, the nuclear age, the Cold War and the beginnings of west European integration. Although political affairs inevitably have the central role, hardly less important to the author are the changes in artistic and intellectual awareness which were both cause and consequence of the gradual but decisive decay of the liberal-bourgeois culture of pre-1914 Europe. Lichtheim is at his best in the realm of cultural and intellectual history; to him it is writers, scientists and artists who are the real architects of European culture and it is they (by the way they collectively transformed the way we look at ourselves, our universe and the world of our imaginations) who should be credited with rescuing the legacy of 20th century Europe from its bitter and tragic association with war, destruction and mass murder. Thus it is Einstein, Joyce, Kafka, Wittgenstein, Freud, Picasso, Schoenberg, Corbusier et al. who are proclaimed as much the movers and shakers as Wilhelm II, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Churchill or Mussolini. 'Modernism', the dominant artistic credo of the 20th century, attained its greatest influence during the span of the author's own lifetime; by comparison the post-modernist philosophical relativism of our own times looks a meagre thing indeed. Despite its foreshortened historical span therefore this book remains an outstanding work of historical interpretation. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » A compact interpretive survey of Europe from 1900 to 1970 by an author best known for his writings on leftist history and theory. The main strength of this book is in intellectual history. "Liberalism at bay," the antecedents of fascist ideology, the crosscurrents of social theory, philosophy, and science, are neatly mapped, from the consciously anti-Marxist efforts of Weber and Pareto to the Marxist contributions of Gramsci, Korsch and the Frankfurt school, and the latterday "structuralism-functionalism" debates. What little narrative there is scarcely conveys the horrors of the World Wars. There are sustained efforts at economic analysis, generally shallow ones, especially on post-World War II Europe. The defeats of European revolutionary movements in 1919-23 and in England in 1926 are treated in extremely summary fashion and, though Russia is included in the European purview, the treatment of the Revolution and its deformities is mostly banal. At least Lichtheim has no exaggerated esteem for the Social Democracies. The discussion of the arts is perhaps understandably rather cursory - those with special interest in this area will be appalled by the observation that Louis Sullivan "dispensed with ornamentation in putting up his office buildings." But for students of social thought - particularly of elitist, authoritarian and irrationalist tendencies of the '20's and '30's - this will make a very good secondary reference source. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - George Lichtheim

Born in Germany in 1912 George Lichtheim was a social historian and a world authority on Marx. He died in 1973.

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