Now, Where Was I?

A great deal has transpired since this site was last active almost four years ago.  When we last left our heroes (Rocky and Bullwinkle reference, anyone?), I was on the library staff at the James P. Boyce Centennial Library of Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY.  The summer of 2012 brought me to a new chapter in life as the Dean of Library Services at Oklahoma Baptist University, where I also now serve as VP/CIO.  Resurrecting this site has been a decision long in coming and which will be explained in due course as the trajectory of OBU’s information services is explained in detail in future weeks.

The name of the site and its location have changed a bit as well.  This is now “MyCommonplaces.org,” not just commonplaces.

But as I always have, I will periodically highlight books of interest that come across my desk here in the library. First up, Ian Kershaw’s To Hell and Back.

To Hell and Back
Ian Kershaw; Allen Lane 2015

Publisher Synopsis:
Few authors would have the ability, and perhaps the determination, to take on the history of both world wars and the connecting decades at this level of sophistication, depth and breadth — Robert Tombs The Times It is true that his subject could hardly be more familiar, but it is a great achievement to cover such vast historical territory in under 600 pages and with such scrupulous balance, care and good sense. Other historians’ books on the same period may be flashier or more provocative. But to read Kershaw on Europe’s bloody century is to be driven through a ravaged landscape in the sleek, smooth comfort of a Rolls-Royce, guided by a historian who probably knows the territory better than anybody else on the planet — Dominic Sandbrook The Sunday Times Ian Kershaw is the historian that other academic historians most admire … Prof Kershaw sits at the very top of his profession. He is one of a tiny handful of historians whose books will still be read in 100 years. So he takes a big risk by moving out of his area of expertise in order to write an all-encompassing history of Europe in the 20th century. His courage has paid off. To Hell and Back, the first of two volumes on the subject, is a triumph — Laurence Rees The Mail on Sunday A triumph — Lawrence Rees Mail on Sunday Kershaw leads his readers through this complex history in a clear and compelling manner — Joanna Bourke Prospect To Hell and Back should be required reading in every chancellery, every editorial cockpit and every place where peevish Euroskeptics do their thinking — Harold Evans The New York Times Authoritative — Nicholas Shakespeare Telegraph

To Hell and Back: Europe, 1914-1949 Book Cover To Hell and Back: Europe, 1914-1949
Ian Kershaw
History
Penguin Random House UK
HB
http://okbu.worldcat.org/oclc/922954445

Ian Kershaw is a past recipient of the Wolfson Literary Award for History, the Bruno Kreisky Prize for Political Book of the Year, and the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography.  This latest book builds on his previous two books on Hitler, Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris and Hitler: 1936-1945: Nemesis, by recounting Europe's terrifying descent into the second world war.

From the dust jacket:

"In the summer of 1914 most of Europe plunged into a war so catastrophic that it unhinged the continent's politics and beliefs in a way that took generations to recover from. The disaster terrified its survivors, shocked that a civilization that had blandly assumed itself to be a model for the rest of the world had collapsed into a chaotic savagery beyond any comparison. In 1939 Europeans would initiate a second conflict that managed to be even worse - a war in which the killing of civilians was central and which culminated in the Holocaust.

"To Hell and Back tells this story with humanity, flair and originality. Kershaw gives a compelling narrative of events, but he also wrestles with the most difficult issues that the events raise - with what it meant for the Europeans who initiated and lived through such fearful times - and what this means for us."

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