In 1945, Europe lay in ruins - its cities and towns destroyed by conflict, its economies crippled, its societies ripped apart by war and violence. In the years that followed, Europeans tried to make sense of what had happened - and to forge a new understanding of civilisation that would bring peace and progress to a broken continent.
As they wrestled with questions great and small - from the legacy of colonialism to workplace etiquette - institutions and shared ideals emerged which still shape our world today. Drawing on original sources as well as individual stories and voices, this is a gripping and authoritative account of how Europe rebuilt itself - and what we, in the twenty-first century, could lose again.
Paul Betts is Professor of Modern European History at St Antony's College, University of Oxford. He is the author of Within Walls: Private Life in the German Democratic Republic and The Authority of Everyday Objects: A Cultural History of West German Industrial Design, along with seven co-edited volumes. He has long been interested the relationship between European culture and politics over the course of the 20th century, with special focus on material culture, photography, memory, human rights and private life. His new book is the culmination of many years of reflection on Europe's fundamentally new place in the world since 1945.