Four volumes are now available in English dealing comprehensively and impressively with the major countries of Western Europe since the war. All include substantial sections on the reconstruction period. They are: JP Rioux brilliant study of the French experience, The Fourth Republic 1944-1958; Paul Ginsborg outstanding book A History of Contemporary Italy. Society and Politics 1943-1988, deeply influenced by the strong and mature left wing culture of that country; the volumes by the Americans Bark and Gress dedicated to West Germany, A History of West Germany, the first of which, covering the years 1945-63, provides a balanced and accessible study of the period; and Kenneth O Morgan's widely praised treatment of Britain The People's Peace. British History 1945-1989 ( 1990) which builds on the most comprehensive quantity of sources and published studies available in any of the countries.
As long as the years 1945-1955 continue to be the object of intense research effort, collections of conference papers will always be important keys to further study. The "Perceptions of Power in Western Europe" series started in Sèvres in 1982, went on to Augsburg in 1984 then to Florence in 1987. The proceedings of the 1984 event, Power in Europe? Great Britain, France, Italy and Germany in a Postwar World, 1945-50, ( Becker and Knipping), and the Florence conference Power in Europe? II ( Di Nolfo) are prime indicators of the current debate on reconstruction. The series of conferences at Hull on 'European Unity in Context' has produced so far Making the New Europe, ( Smith and z Stirk) and Shaping Postwar Europe ( Stirk and Willis). The conference of____________________