Title: Savage Continent--Europe in the Aftermath of WWII Author: Keith Lowe Pub: St. Martin's Press Reviewer: schwarzfeder For so many World War II enthusiasts, it is easy to develop a segmented view. We see WWII like a highly romanticized movie; the victorious Allies over the godless Germans, peace breaks out, everybody lives happily ever after, etc., etc.. Well, it wasn't that way at all in reality. For those who want to know the full story, you might well ask, just what happened after the war "ended"? This is where "Savage Continent' comes in. One of several highly informative books now out on the aftermath of the war, "Savage Continent" author Keith Lowe segments his study into parts: The Legacy of War, Vengeance, Ethnic Cleansing, and Civil War. It is both easy and opportune to jump into any of the sections. Whether you choose to read from beginning to end or are a jumper--like I can be--"Savage Continent" will inform you. It has been said more Germans died after the end of world War II than during it; the same might go for other sections of the population throughout Europe, especially those in the death camps and in Russia/Eastern Europe. The end of the war did not end the suffering! Starvation, disease, victimization, displacement were rampant across the continent. And, it went on for years! The section on ethnic cleansing might surprise the average WWII buff. Pay particular attention to the information on the horrific events in the Balkans. Lowe does acknowledge the forced repatriation by the British of Cossacks, Croats and ethnic Germans back to the hands of the Yugoslav partisans, but it's not like he highlights it. Rather, what he brings out that is so sobering are the varied methods and instances of the genocide and mass death/murder that took place at the hands of the partisans. The deportations and murder that took place across Poland, Prussia, the Ukraine are also spoken of in this book. For many, the end of the war only made things worse. Pay attention to the Civil War section. I learned a lot about the utterly savage and intercinine civil war in Greece. The unrest in France is also detailed, and it is interesting, useful information. The reader learns what a huge and impressionistic Communist victory in WWII was, how it inspired revolution worldwide. In the Vengeance section, I was surprised to learn how hard-core the Norwegians were against the children born of German soldiers during the occupation. As students of WWII, we have caught glimpses in other books/accounts, of the reprisals of post-war; the head shavings, the rapes, the beatings, the murders, etc. Lowe's book focuses on these unpleasantries because it is his job as a responsible author. One would learn despite this book that the "victorious Allies" were not always the most humanitarian by any means. When Eisenhower said of the post-war Germans, "treat them rough", he wasn't messing around. "Savage Continent" will inform you of the infamous Rhein Wiesenlager, the Rhine valley mass internment camps of former German POWs. Re-codified from POW to "Disarmed Enemy Forces", they didn't have to be treated in accordance with Geneva Convention rules. As a result, millions died. The new weapon of mass destruction? Hunger. As the Cold War got underway, the specter of hunger became an even bigger weapon than a "nuclear deterrent". The author's section titled The Legacy of War details the hunger, displacement, chaos, and degeneration of morals. It was a nasty mix. I would recommend Keith Lowe's "Savage Continent" as required reading not only for all interested in WWII, but especially those who have a downright sanitized and Hollywoodized view of WWII. While people are going to be delusional--about eveerything--no matter what, at least the book "Savage Continent" offers useful information. We need to know these things, whether we want to or not.