It is increasingly necessary to review our ideas, our categories, our interpretation of the present and the past. More so than the upheavals of the 1970s and the collapse of socialist modernity in 1991, the Covid-19 pandemic and Putin’s ongoing war in Ukraine have shed a harsh light on the evolution and the crisis of Western societies. The author contemplates causes and consequences of the changes that have progressively transformed the West after the Second World War. The end of the rural world, individualization, the collapse of birth rates, the extraordinary improvement of life expectancy, the emergence of new reactionary movements, the painstaking reorganization of plural collectivities in order to accommodate ethnic perspectives, and the decline of political participation are just some of the topics addressed in the book. What type of innovative behaviour can we undertake to save a type of Modernity that may indeed be in crisis but has also managed, despite all its drawbacks, to improve human freedom and dignity more than any other known system?
Andrea Graziosi teaches Contemporary History at the Federico II University in Naples and is a renowned expert of Soviet, Ukrainian and Eastern European history.