Keith Lowe

    is a British writer and historian whose books have been translated into twenty languages. After studying English Literature at Manchester University and twelve years as a history publisher, and is now an internationally acclaimed expert on the Second World War. His first book, Inferno (2012), was a critically-acclaimed study of the bombing of Hamburg in 1943. Savage Continent (2013), was a ground-breaking study of the wave of violence and revenge that swept Europe after the war, and went on to win both the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History and Italy’s national Herasco History Prize. His latest book, The Fear and the Freedom (2017), is an intimate history of the long-term consequences of the Second World War. Lowe regularly speaks on TV and radio, and lectures on postwar history at venues across Europe and North America. He has written for newspapers and journals, including the Daily Telegraph, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. He lives in London. “The psychological legacy of the Second World War had a massive impact on our lives – not only in the 1940s and 50s, but ever after. In fact, it continues to affect us today, whether we realise it or not. I am continually astonished by how often the Second World War comes into everyday conversation. References to it pop up in the newspapers and on the radio almost daily. And yet we rarely stop to analyse what exactly the war did to us. I think it’s about time we stopped telling ourselves the same comforting myths we’ve been nurturing over the past 70 years and actually look the subject square in the face. I don’t know if it’s a surprise, but visions of Utopia appeared all over the world after 1945. Scientists began to imagine a time when we would all be driving nuclear powered cars, and nobody would have to work anymore. Architects and planners dreamed of perfect cities. Politicians and religious leaders began talking about how they had discovered the secret to world peace – they really believed that some kind of earthly paradise was within their grasp. Their dreams were so beautiful and so naïve – it’s one of the most poignant aspects of this period I can think of.”
    Photo: Liza Messing