Year Zero: A History of 1945

ISBN: 978-1482925319
Review Date:

Without a doubt, the concluding state of WW2 shaped the events of the subsequent decades. National borders were redrawn, bestial actions were committed by both victors and vanquished alike, anti-colonial sentiments rose sharply, historic legal precedence were established, and devastating civil wars raged. Author Ian Buruma's Year Zero , set forth on an ambitious project to outline the history of 1945 in a single book. Just to get it out of the way, some topics were woefully superficial due to the limitation on book size. To be fair, Buruma did discuss, however briefly, post-war China, a topic that most western books would not even care to consider; to me, that was a redemption of sorts. While the chapters on post-war Japan were rich in detail, the situation in Europe was the book's greatest strength. Two areas I particular thought enlightening were Buruma's critical analysis of the de-Nazification programs and the thoughtfully written chapters on the human misery that did not end with the signing of the surrender documents.

I had reviewed the audio book edition of this book, and I thought Gildart Jackson had done a great job with the reading.

I had thoroughly enjoyed Year Zero, both in content and in the author's writing style. My only gripe, as noted, was the lack of depth on many topics. Perhaps it could be viewed as a potential, though unrealized, strength as I wished the author could be given the opportunity to expand with those topics. Could I hope for Year Zero being the first of a series?

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Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939

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