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Dachau: The Harrowing of Hell Paperback – March 30, 1995


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Marcus J. Smith, a radiologist in private practice in Santa Fe, New Mexico between 1948 and 1976, was awarded the Bronze Star for his work at Dachau in May 1945; a month later, he was promoted to Captain. He served on the editorial board of the Rocky Mountain Medical Journal and its successor, the Western Journal of Medicine. He is the author of Error and Variation in Diagnostic Radiology, and during the last ten years before his death, researched and wrote about the history of medicine in New Mexico.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press (March 30, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791425266
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791425268
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,244,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dharma on October 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
I knew the author of this book, Marcus Smith, in his later life, when he was a radiologist in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He was a gentle, thoughtful, and open minded physician, and a very good radiologist.

I read this book when it first came out, and it opened my eyes to the true horror of the death camps in Germany during the Second World War. The careful description of the camps, the prisoners, and the medical team that first came upon them is stark, moving, and essential to understanding what happened. The newsreel footage conveys only a small piece of what the medical teams found there.

The Harrowing of Hell is well named. It's not hard to read, like many books about the Holocaust. We have much more detailed information from other sources, but this book tells the story like no other, on the front lines, in the first person, and as it happened.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By CARA on January 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Well written account of Lieutenant Marcus J. Smith, an Army Doctor who with 9 others was sent to form Displaced Persons Team # 115, to Dachau after liberation. How Lt. Smith who had his medical training in radiology was unprepared for what was waiting for him and his team at Dachau. The book follows his assignment for 6 weeks at Dachau, now a dispaced persons camp. A good book for those interested in Dachau after liberation.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Marcus Smith produced a well-written eyewitness account. His prose is precise yet fluid, he does not allow the narrative to flounder and--best of all--he does not take himself seriously. He was decorated for his performance at Dachau, but he did not ever describe his own efforts as anything other than a guy trying to do a job.
This book dispelled plenty of myths. Although Dachau had a crematorium it was not an extermination center like Treblinka or Auschwitz; its primary purpose was to house slave laborers. And although it contained Jews, the majority of Dachau's inmates were Poles and Russians. But the horror of the place was not a myth, and Smith describes it in detail.
This book would satisfy a serious student of history or anyone with even a casual interest in the Holocaust or WWII.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TT Man on May 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
You wouldn't have thought it was possible for a book about such a serious, important subject, to be so bland, but I am afraid the most harrowing thing about reading this is the dull prose of this book, written as if by a school student for a teacher they wanted to impress. There are many better books about the nightmare of Dachau. Don't waste your time on this badly written piece of literature.
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