Timothy Garton Ash
Homelands is a stunning blend of contemporary history, reportage and memoir by our greatest writer about European affairs.
Drawing on half a century of interviews and experience, Homelands tells the story of Europe in the later twentieth and early twenty-first centuries - how, having emerged from its wartime hell in 1945, it slowly recovered and rebuilt, liberated and united to come close to the ideal of a Europe 'whole, free and at peace'. And then faltered.
Humane, expert and deeply felt, Homelands is full of encounters, conversations and anecdote. It is also highly personal: Timothy Garton Ash has spent a lifetime studying and thinking about Europe and this book is full of life itself, from his father's experience on D-Day, to his teenage French exchange, to interviewing Polish dockers, Albanian guerillas and angry teenagers in the poorest quarters of Paris, as well as advising prime ministers, chancellors and presidents in the UK, Europe, and the US.
Homelands is both a singular history of a period of unprecedented progress and a clear-eyed account of how so much then went wrong, all the way from the financial crisis of 2008 to the war in Ukraine. It culminates in an urgent call to the citizens of this great old continent to understand and defend what we have collectively achieved.
Timothy Garton Ash was 17 when Britain joined the European Community and 64 when Britain left it. In the intervening years he has lived and breathed European politics, witnessing some of the most dramatic scenes in its history, interviewing many of its key players and analysing how life has evolved for ordinary Europeans across the breadth of the continent.
He is Professor of European Studies at the University of Oxford and a columnist for the Guardian. He has won many prizes and plaudits for his journalism and books, including The File, his riveting autobiographical account of investigating the contents of his Stasi file after the fall of East Germany.