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Rollercoaster

Europe, 1950-2017
Narrated by: Leighton Pugh
Length: 26 hrs and 29 mins
Categories: History, 20th Century
5 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

Non-member price: $39.50

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Publisher's Summary

From one of Britain's most distinguished historians and the best-selling author of Hitler, this is the definitive history of a divided Europe, from the aftermath of the Second World War to the present.  

After the overwhelming horrors of the first half of the 20th century, described by Ian Kershaw in his previous book as having gone 'to hell and back', the years from 1950 to 2017 brought peace and relative prosperity to most of Europe. Enormous economic improvements transformed the continent. The catastrophic era of the world wars receded into an ever more distant past, though its long shadow continued to shape mentalities.  

Europe was now a divided continent, living under the nuclear threat in a period intermittently fraught with anxiety. Europeans experienced a 'roller-coaster ride', both in the sense that they were flung through a series of events which threatened disaster but also in that they were no longer in charge of their own destinies: for much of the period the USA and USSR effectively reduced Europeans to helpless figures whose fates were dictated to them by the Cold War. There were striking successes - the Soviet bloc melted away, dictatorships vanished and Germany was successfully reunited. But accelerating globalisation brought new fragilities. The impact of interlocking crises after 2008 was the clearest warning to Europeans that there was no guarantee of peace and stability.  

In this remarkable audiobook, Ian Kershaw has created a grand panorama of the world we live in and where it came from. Drawing on examples from all across the continent, Roller-Coaster will make us all rethink Europe and what it means to be European.

©2016 Ian Kershaw (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

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Profile Image for Hans Steinkellner
  • Hans Steinkellner
  • 14-03-2020

not his best

Kershaw is one of the best authors on wwii (and his biography of Hitler is excellent) - but on this one it seems a little bit of everything - too focused on the UK (the title says europe) - you cant cover 70 years without leaving out on important things and being superficial on those you cover

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  • Christopher Neenan
  • 05-12-2018

Superficially skating over history.

The book is a disappointment, a waste of a brilliant historian. It is neither an introduction for those who know little history nor a stimulus for those who do. It will not be on my Christmas coffee table. Those who commissioned the book did not know what they wanted and Kershaw did not seem to know what to give. Not a book for the cold, snow bound winter months but a good undemanding read for beach next summer. It is so difficult to decide who I could give this book too for Christmas season.

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  • scouse
  • 10-01-2019

Rollercoaster

A great follow up to his previous work on Europe "To Hell andBack"
It provides clarity and context for relatively recent historical events and remains balanced and objective throughout
It has a good title as well - Rollercoaster aptly summarises the amazing changes in Europe over the last 60+ years
Really enjoyed it.

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  • Sam Allen
  • 24-10-2019

An excellent overview of Europe's modern history

An excellent start to those interested in modern European history. Great for an introduction into further reading and study, and covers all of the essentials. Well narrated by Mr Pugh.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Emily F.
  • 06-10-2019

Another excellent book from Kershaw

Excellent book, well - researched and written, and wonderful delivery from the narrator. Let down slightly by its somewhat pro-EU/anti-Brexit stand towards the end.

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  • Manish
  • 04-07-2019

Cold War and After

I struggled with this a bit. It is not enough to consider Europe in isolation especially in this era of globalisation. I found there was little reflection on world events.

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  • Jonathan
  • 16-02-2019

Doing it for the money?

Way too soon. The worst history i’ve downloaded on Audible. Great respect for Sir Ian, but this feels like paper never refused ink. Type EEC into wikipedia instead, and take it from there. The narrator presents a parade of cheesy accents straight out of ‘Ello, ‘Ello.

6 people found this helpful

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  • David O'Leary
  • 07-05-2019

A primer - with dreadful narration

A bit too basic - too much description and too little analysis. But the narration is what caused me to give up early - when you’ve heard ‘nuke-u-lar’ dozens of times you start to hear nothing else (well, except for the stereotyped accents that add nothing and take much away). Read the book if you’re looking for a primer on post-war Europe.

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  • fishfanatic
  • 16-04-2020

anti right view.

A well laid out presentation but fundamentally from a centrist left view point. For a British writer he falls into the tired cliche of always finding fault with Britain and our leaders. Nonetheless if I can forget my frustration with a typical Guardian writer it helps explain where the EU is coming from and the threat it posed to the British, thankfully we are away from all that now.

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  • STEVE
  • 03-12-2018

Ok but the reader should learn how to pronounce “nuclear” properly!!!

Ok but the reader should learn how to pronounce “nuclear” properly!!! It is NOT pronounced as “nucular”. After all, it is his job!

6 people found this helpful