1947: Where Now Begins

In 1947, two years after the end of World War II, the world is still reeling from the effects of war. People are horrified at the discovery of the Nazi death camps and the mass murders that took place. Refugees, primarily Jewish, are on the move to and from all parts of Europe, yet love, literature and music begin to blossom from the ashes. Swedish writer Elisabeth Åsbrink details, month-by-month, in short snippets, a variety of important and cultural events around the world that took place during this one year, all of which were the forerunners for current events.

She writes about Thelonious Monk and the birth of bebop; the love affair between Simone de Beauvoir and Nelson Algren; and the isolated spot where George Orwell wrote 1984. She delves deeply into the Jewish plight--during the war and after, discussing the intense debates over whether the Jews had a right to claim a home in Palestine and how the Muslim Brotherhood was born. At the same time, Nazis from all over Europe fled to South America, where they maintained their Fascist views, while others stood trial for their crimes at Nuremburg. India claimed its independence from Britain, and Soviet communism gained strength. Åsbrink's focus revolves around a variety of people and their actions, making 1947 feel slightly disjointed. Nevertheless, it is a fascinating, horrifying and illuminating portrayal of circumstances that have impacted the present day, when many of the same feelings, thoughts and actions are, unfortunately, still in existence. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

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