by Harald Jähner
A revelatory history of the transformational decade that followed World War II, when Germany raised itself out of the ashes of defeat, turned away from fascism, and reckoned with the corruption of its soul and the horrors of the Holocaust. This book received wide acclaim and spent forty-eight weeks on the best-seller list in Germany when it was published there in 2019.
The years 1945 to 1955 were a raw, wild decade that found many Germans politically, economically, and morally bankrupt. Victorious Allied forces occupied the four zones that make up present-day Germany. More than half the population was displaced; 10 million newly released forced laborers and several million prisoners of war returned to an uncertain existence. Cities lay in ruins—no mail, no trains, no traffic—with bodies yet to be found beneath the towering rubble.