Timothy Garton Ash at NYU on September 12

On Tuesday, September 12, at 4:00 pm, the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies and the Deutsches Haus at NYU host a presentation of the book Homelands: A Personal History of Europe by the renowned British historian Timothy Garton Ash. In his new book, Ash gives a unique account of the history of Europe since 1945, drawing on his extensive personal notes from 50 years of events witnessed, places visited, and historymakers encountered (from Margaret Thatcher to Vladimir Putin) to chart the rise and then faltering of the quest for a ‘Europe whole and free’.

In this lecture, Professor Garton Ash will extend the analysis in Homelands to offer an interpretation of how Europe progressed from the post-War period (famously analysed by Tony Judt) to what he calls the post-Wall period. And why it then regressed, in a ‘downward turn’ after 2008, culminating in Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 – beginning the largest war in Europe since 1945. What did Europe get right? Where did it go wrong? Why?

For in-person attendance, please RSVP here.

About the book:

Timothy Garton Ash, Europe’s “historian of the present,” has been “breathing Europe” for the last half century. In Homelands he embarks on a journey in time and space around the postwar continent, drawing on his own notes from many great events, giving vivid firsthand accounts of its leading actors, revisiting the places where its history was made, and recalling its triumphs and tragedies through their imprint on the present.

Garton Ash offers an account of events as seen from the ground—history illustrated by memoir. He describes how Europe emerged from wartime devastation to rebuild, to triumph with the fall of the Berlin Wall, to democratize and unite. And then to falter. It is a singular history of a period of unprecedented progress along with a clear-eyed account of how so much went wrong, from the financial crisis of 2008 to the war in Ukraine. From the pen of someone who, in spite of Brexit, emphatically describes himself as an English European, this is both a tour d’horizon and a tour de force.

About the author:

Timothy Garton Ash is professor of European studies at the University of Oxford and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His books include The Magic Lantern, his eyewitness account of the revolutions of 1989; The File: A Personal History, based on reading his own Stasi file; and History of the Present. He lives in Oxford, England.