Jonathan Fenby is a former editor of the Observer, The South China Morning Post, and is a guest on many American news sites, including CNN. He is the author of several books including the acclaimed On the Brink: The Trouble with France and Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-Shek and the China He Lost. In 2013 Jonathan was awarded the Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur by the French government for his contribution towards understanding between Britain and France.
'This is a work of history, but it is also a beguiling symphony performed in discordant rhythm. Too often historians impose order on the past, making mess into method. There's little order here. That's a good thing' * The Times Books of the Year * 'A truly global account of a crucial time that has rarely been examined in detail by historians...Fenby retells well-known episodes such as the 1948-49 Berlin airlift with a combination of stylish prose and immense command of the historical detail. But the real eye-openers are the deft analyses of less familiar crises' -- Rana Mitter * BBC History Magazine * 'The strength of this book lies in the cold realities it delivers. The thirteen months of 1947-48, writes Fenby, provide trenchant examples of how realpolitik can serve a wider purpose if those in power know how to use it. Crucible captures perfectly the urgency of the time...Read this book for the light it shines on a turbulent time; cherish it for the lessons it provides' -- Gerard DeGroot * The Times * 'Looking back 70 years Jonathan Fenby argues convincingly that the period from 1947 to 1948 really did change the world . His book is an assured gallop across the terrain of contemporary history in this fateful year. The global devastation of the second world war had smashed longstanding institutions and bankrupted empires, leaving behind the kind of power vacuums that were major openings for change and chaos. Crucible swings from one region to the next in a fast-moving account of how local actors filled those vacuums, often with violence.' -- Mary Sarote * Financial Times * 'The months in question are June 1947 to June 1948, which also saw the foundation of Israel and the independence and partition of India, and the assertion of ever more brutal power in Eastern Europe by Stalin. He reminds us how, so soon after the horrors of Nazi occupation, hard-left workers in Czechoslovakia entered into a state of battle against those trying to secure democracy and liberty' -- Simon Heffer * Daily Telegraph * 'The 13 months from June 1947 to June 1948 are when the modern world as we know it was forged ... Fenby plots these changes month by month as, across the globe, a brand new world emerged.' * Daily Mail *