MID-CENTURY JOURNEY by William L. Shirer
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The author of turns his perceptive eye and mind on the Europe of 1950-51, at the mid century mark. This is a more philosophical and contemplative appraisal, a less personal and anecdotal one than might have been anticipated. He shares little with his reader of what he saw and did, but shares instead the conclusions he has drawn, and gives a backward look at those forces in history that have produced the conditions -- history that, after a slow evolution produced in a short time profound changes. This is the theme of his story. He takes one with him first to Austria, which he feels can never live again as a nation, then to France, where an unfinished revolution brought defeat and humiliation, not yet resolved. Next to Germany, a country he had known intimately where he sees again evidence that Naziism and the old German disease survive, the new West German republic only a facade while the Allied Control does nothing. England he sees as the result of a generation of complacent refusal to face reality now at a point of exhaustion (for which we should share the blame). The Conservatives cannot undo history. In the European Union, despite Britain's abstention, he sees hope for the future, a limping start in the powerless Council of Europe, but a tangible evidence in the European Army and NATO, in SHAPE under Eisenhower, in the Schuman Plan. Finally, returning to America, he acknowledges evidences of coming of age, but deplores our unsolved problems of distribution, the schizophrenia of our thinking, the atmosphere of intolerance and fear, our ignorance of history, our moral cowardice. We must prove ourselves:- NOW. Shirer's name carries weight to counterbalance a public apathy towards books that make us think.
Pub Date: May 16th, 1952
Publisher: Farrar, Strauss & Young
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1952


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