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1947: Where Now Begins by Elisabeth…
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1947: Where Now Begins (2016)

by Elisabeth Åsbrink

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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I don’t remember how I learned about this book but I know I was drawn to it by the title. This may be an embarrassing revelation but 1947 is my birth year so how could I not be interested in this book? And it was absolutely fascinating.

Translated from the Swedish, the narrative was somewhat choppy but I came to view that as purposeful to better describe exactly what was going on during that pivotal year, just a couple of years out from WWII. The author goes through the year month by month describing events that will come to be very important today. Europe is a disaster with little to eat and homes and factories destroyed. And yet people somehow march on and survive.

In the March section she poses this:

”The meeting between Per Engdahl and Johann von Leers is also a point in time from which threads stretch on into the future and at which other names appear, but the dreams are the same: a new Europe, a homogeneous section of a continent in the world. No social classes. No political parties. The individual subordinated to the collective. Authoritarian movements, with leaders who take clear-cut decisions, and in which no time is wasted on slow, unsatisfactory democratic processes. A uniform organism, harmoniously white. Europe a Nation, to quote the British Fascist leader, Oswald Mosley.”

She makes a direct connection between these men, in 1947, and what is going on in Europe and even in the U.S. today. They are responsible for being the first to deny the Holocaust.

She details the establishment of the state of Israel, and the difficulties that accompanied it including the blocking of ships with Holocaust survivors on board by both Britain and the U.S.

The birth of the Muslim Brotherhood occurred in 1947.

The Nuremberg Trials began in 1947.

Simone de Beauvoir, Christian Dior, Thelonius Monk, Primo Levi

The Marshall Plan. And it’s consequences when the Soviet Union refuses to allow Eastern Europe the U.S. aid that would help their people survive.

The birth of jihad under Hasan al-Banna.

The Palestine Problem

George Orwell was on an island with his young son in 1947 writing his most well- known book, [1984]. If that’s not prescient I don’t know what is.

In August, Arnold Schoenberg composes A Survivor from Warsaw for a narrator, choir and orchestra.

The role of the Vatican in helping to set up Nazi escape routes to Argentina to avoid trial was startling to me.

The Kalishnakov rifle was invented by the Russian Mikhail Kalishnakov.

I could go on about this connection between 1947 and the world we know now. It’s absolutely amazing. And fascinating to me.

Very highly recommended. ( )
1 vote brenzi | Sep 12, 2018 |
This is one of those books that’s going to change the way I look at the world forever…

To quote part of the blurb:

In 1947, Elisabeth Åsbrink chronicles the creation of the modern world, as the forces that will go on to govern all our lives during the next 70 years first make themselves known.

It’s a remarkable book. It charts world events – month by month, city by city – for the year of 1947, as the world recovers from the cataclysm of WW2. And even if you think you are reasonably up to speed with modern history because you’ve read books and watched films and you know people who lived through it, you will probably find yourself surprised by some of what’s chronicled here. I certainly was.

The author does include the unsurprising past i.e. the beginnings of Soviet reprisals against its dissidents; the collapse of the British Empire (and blaming Britain for the catastrophe of Partition in India); the emerging Cold War and the Truman Doctrine of two Germanys. But by personalising these events with the people involved, Åsbrink shakes off the dust of history and makes them vivid. Mikhail Kalashnikov rewarded with a watch. Musa Alami’s cautious attempts to influence the fate of Palestine. Christian Dior hounded over the extravagance of his designs in Britain under the bitterness of austerity. (My mother wasn’t one of them. She loved Dior).

One of the events that did surprise me was the Dutch expulsion of Germans:

… no one even wants to hear the word ‘Germany’ so strong is their hatred after the Occupation. Under a new law, 25,000 Dutch nationals of German ancestry are branded ‘hostile subjects’ and sentenced to deportation – even if they happen to be Jews, liberals, or opponents of the Nazis.

The violence takes a well-trodden path. The Dutch-Germans are given an hour to pack everything they can carry, up to a maximum of 50kg, then they are despatched to jails, or to prison camps near the Dutch-German border. Their homes and businesses are confiscated by the state. Operation Black Tulip. (p.26)

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2017/11/07/1947-when-now-begins-by-elisabeth-asbrink-translated-by-fiona-graham/ ( )
  anzlitlovers | Nov 6, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elisabeth Åsbrinkprimary authorall editionscalculated
Binder, Hedwig M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Graham, FionaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leborg, AlexanderTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"The year 1947 marks a turning point in the twentieth century. Peace with Germany becomes a tool to fortify the West against the threats of the Cold War. The CIA is created, Israel is about to be born, Simone de Beauvoir experiences the love of her life, an ill George Orwell is writing his last book, and Christian Dior creates the hyper-feminine New Look as women are forced out of jobs and back into the home"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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