The Age of Catastrophe A History of the West 1914–1945 Heinrich August Winkler, Stewart Spencer

Publication date:
28 Sep 2015
Yale University Press
1016 pages: 235 x 156mm
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One of Germany’s leading historians presents an ambitious and masterful account of the years encompassing the two world wars

Characterized by global war, political revolution and national crises, the period between 1914 and 1945 was one of the most horrifying eras in the history of the West. A noted scholar of modern German history, Heinrich August Winkler examines how and why Germany so radically broke with the normative project of the West and unleashed devastation across the world.
In this total history of the thirty years between the start of World War One and the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Winkler blends historical narrative with political analysis and encompasses military strategy, national identity, class conflict, economic development and cultural change. The book includes astutely observed chapters on the United States, Japan, Russia, Britain, and the other European powers, and Winkler’s distinctly European perspective offers insights beyond the accounts written by his British and American counterparts. As Germany takes its place at the helm of a unified Europe, Winkler’s fascinating account will be widely read and debated for years to come.

Heinrich August Winkler is one of Germany's leading historians and emeritus professor of history at Humboldt University in Berlin. Stewart Spencer is an acclaimed translator whose work includes biographies of Gustav Mahler, Richard Wagner, Cosima Wagner and W.A. Mozart, all published by Yale University Press.

"Winkler’s monumental and remarkably accessible account of the years from 1914 to 1945 combines narrative with an astute analysis of military, political and social history… Winkler’s judgement is always sound, his narrative analysis always gripping and insightful."—Robert Gerwarth, Irish Times

"A splendid translation of his magisterial study of the ‘West.'"— Richard Overy, Literary Review

"An extraordinary tour de force. . . . An equally powerful and knowledgeable panorama of the western world in the era of its greatest disaster."—Ian Kershaw, author of Hitler