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June 12, 2006

An Economic History of Twentieth-Century Europe - Ivan T. Berend

Posted by Jeremy Black

An Economic History of Twentieth-Century Europe
by Ivan T. Berend
Pp. 356. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006
Hardback, 45; Paperback, 19.99

This is an impressive work that offers much. Ably laid out, with clear graphs and figures and appropriate boxes, well-written and coming up to date, it is a work that can be recommended for any course on twentieth-century Europe.

Given the space available, it is not surprising that the local, and indeed sub-state, dimension tends to be ignored, but it is impressive to see the different parts of Europe ably covered. Thus, for the 1950s, there are useful discussions of Italy, Spain and Austria as well as more prominent economies. The crisis in Romania in the 1980s is discussed briefly, but characteristically clearly. For the early 1990s, hyper-inflation is discussed for Estonia as well as Poland. As Berend points out, the sharp decline of the early 1990s in Central and Eastern Europe was followed by a gradual recovery. Nevertheless, the successor states of the Soviet Union continued declining. It would be very helpful to see comparable work of this quality and accessibility for other centuries.

Jeremy Black is Professor of History, University of Exeter. Amongst much else, he is the author of The European Question and the National Interest (Social Affairs Unit, 2006).


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