Books of the year 2011: Richard J Evans

The Triumph of the Dark - Zara Steiner

 

My book of the year is Zara Steiner's monumental yet tremendously readable study of international relations in Europe from the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 to the outbreak of the Second World War, The Triumph of the Dark (Oxford University Press, £35). This is anything but a dull textbook: it is a magisterial account that puts Hitler at the centre of events from the outset and makes clear in detail how he was continually underestimated by the second-rate European statesmen such as Neville Chamberlain and Édouard Daladier who faced the unenviable task of dealing with his maniacal drive for war.

On a lighter note, I also hugely enjoyed poring over Mark Ovenden's Great Railway Maps of the World (Particular Books, £20), beautifully produced and illustrated with posters and photographs as well as original maps dating back almost to the beginnings of the railway age in the 19th century.

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