The Long Road Home by Ben Shephard
The Aftermath of the Second World War

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Synopsis

At the end of World War II, long before an Allied victory was assured and before the scope of the atrocities orchestrated by Hitler would come into focus or even assume the name of the Holocaust, Allied forces had begun to prepare for its aftermath. Taking cues from the end of the First World War, planners had begun the futile task of preparing themselves for a civilian health crisis that, due in large part to advances in medical science, would never come. The problem that emerged was not widespread disease among Europe’s population, as anticipated, but massive displacement among those who had been uprooted from home and country during the war.

Displaced Persons, as the refugees would come to be known, were not comprised entirely of Jews. Millions of Latvians, Poles, Ukrainians, and Yugoslavs, in addition to several hundred thousand Germans, were situated in a limbo long overlooked by historians. While many were speedily repatriated, millions of refugees refused to return to countries that were forever changed by the war—a crisis that would take years to resolve and would become the defining legacy of World War II. Indeed many of the postwar questions that haunted the Allied planners still confront us today: How can humanitarian aid be made to work? What levels of immigration can our societies absorb? How can an occupying power restore prosperity to a defeated enemy?

Including new documentation in the form of journals, oral histories, and essays by actual DPs unearthed during his research for this illuminating and radical reassessment of history, Ben Shephard brings to light the extraordinary stories and myriad versions of the war experienced by the refugees and the new United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration that would undertake the responsibility of binding the wounds of an entire continent. Groundbreaking and remarkably relevant to conflicts that continue to plague peacekeeping efforts, The Long Road Home tells the epic story of how millions redefined the notion of home amid painstaking recovery.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Ben Shephard

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Ben Shephard was born in 1948, studied history at Oxford University, and is the author of the critically acclaimed A War of Nerves and After Daybreak. He was producer of the U.K. television series The World at War and The Nuclear Age, and has made numerous historical and scientific documentaries for the BBC and Channel Four. He lives in Bristol, England.
 
Published February 22, 2011 by Anchor. 521 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Long Road Home

Publishers Weekly

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In the vast literature on WWII, scholars have largely ignored the 10 million to 15 million displaced persons who confronted the Allies in 1945. British writer and documentarian Shephard (After Daybrea

Dec 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Long Road Home: The After...

The New York Times

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A history of the logistical, political and moral challenges faced by post-World War II relief workers caring for “displaced persons.”

Apr 01 2011 | Read Full Review of The Long Road Home: The After...

New York Journal of Books

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Shepherd tells his reader that this is what gives his book its topicality—that we are once again at the brink of confronting those unresolved tensions and conflicts—the same ones that lead us into the World Wars, that redistributed populations and redrew borders after those wars ended, the same o...

Feb 22 2011 | Read Full Review of The Long Road Home: The After...

The Wall Street Journal

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In "The Long Road Home," Ben Shephard tells the story of how millions of dislocated people, stranded in the wreckage of Europe at the end of World War II, were enabled to go back to their native countries or to find new homes for themselves.

Feb 26 2011 | Read Full Review of The Long Road Home: The After...

New York Journal of Books

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Shepherd tells his reader that this is what gives his book its topicality—that we are once again at the brink of confronting those unresolved tensions and conflicts—the same ones that lead us into the World Wars, that redistributed populations and redrew borders after those wars ended, the same o...

Feb 22 2011 | Read Full Review of The Long Road Home: The After...

Zimbio

... THE LONG ROAD HOME-The Aftermath of the Second World War The Long
Road Home by Ben Shephard describes how for eight million ...

Apr 07 2011 | Read Full Review of The Long Road Home: The After...

NJ.com

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Feb 27 2011 | Read Full Review of The Long Road Home: The After...

Bookmarks Magazine

One criticism worth noting: several critics pointed out that the book should be subtitled "The Aftermath of the Second World War in Europe," since the war's considerable impact elsewhere is not considered in detail.

Feb 28 2011 | Read Full Review of The Long Road Home: The After...

BBC History Magazine

Here Shephard skilfully weaves the story into that of the other armies of DPs as an integral part of the aftermath of war.

May 28 2010 | Read Full Review of The Long Road Home: The After...

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