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Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory [Paperback]

by Deborah E. Lipstadt
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1, 1994 0452272742 978-0452272743 Reprint

The denial of the Holocaust has no more credibility than the assertion that the earth is flat. Yet there are those who insist that the death of six million Jews in Nazi concentration camps is nothing but a hoax perpetrated by a powerful Zionist conspiracy. Forty years ago, such notions were the province of pseudohistorians who argued that Hitler never meant to kill the Jews, and that only a few hundred thousand died in the camps from disease; they also argued that the Allied bombings of Dresden and other cities were worse than any Nazi offense, and that the Germans were the "true victims" of World War II. For years, those who made such claims were dismissed as harmless cranks operating on the lunatic fringe. But over the past decade they have begun to gain a hearing in respectable arenas, and now, in the first full-scale history of Holocaust denial, Deborah Lipstadt shows how - despite tens of thousands of living witnesses and vast amounts of documentary evidence - this irrational idea not only has continued to gain adherents but has become an international movement, with organized chapters, "independent" research centers, and official publications that promote a "revisionist" view of recent history. One sign of the movement's disturbing resonance is the rise of such figures as the Holocaust denier David Duke to national prominence. Holocaust deniers have also begun to make common cause with radical Afrocentrists such as Leonard Jeffries of New York's City University, who retails racist myths about the Jews; and a recent campaign of ads in college newspapers calling for "open debate" on "so-called facts" about the Holocaust suggests a bold new bid for mainstream intellectual legitimacy. Lipstadt shows how Holocaust denial thrives in the current atmosphere of value relativism, and argues that this chilling attack on the factual record not only threatens Jews but undermines the very tenets of objective scholarship that support our faith in historical knowledge.


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Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

A forceful analysis of attempts to deny the Nazi Holocaust. Lipstadt (Religion/Emory University; Beyond Belief, 1985--not reviewed) traces the history of Holocaust revisionism and contends that it can no longer be ignored, showing how Holocaust-deniers, once dismissed as a lunatic fringe, have been growing in numbers and influence during the past 20 years. Citing groups like the Institute for Historical Review, publications like The Spotlight, politicians like David Duke, and academicians like Leonard Jeffries, Lipstadt presents numerous examples of attempts to prove that the extermination of six million Jews is a hoax; that only a few thousand Jews died in the camps from disease; that the Allied bombings of German cities were worse than any Nazi offense; and that the ``true victims'' of WW II were the German people. These distortions of recorded history, argues the author, threaten to undermine our Western rationalist tradition and to legitimize the politicization of history. To Lipstadt, the common thread among Holocaust deniers is a ``purely anti-Semitic diatribe'' portraying Jews as victimizers. Self-declared scholars like Arthur R. Butz (whose credentials are in electronics) claim that Jews used the world's sympathy after the war to ``displace'' another people, establish the nation of Israel, and ``steal'' billions in reparations from their German and Western ``cash cows.'' Lipstadt argues vehemently against giving revisionists a forum in the name of free speech or freedom of the press, and she details the efforts of California revisionist Bradley Smith, who pushed a ``Holocaust was a hoax'' campaign in college newspapers throughout the US. Lipstadt contends that ``the responses to Holocaust denial by both students and faculty graphically demonstrate the susceptibility of an educated and privileged segment to the kind of reasoning that creates a hospitable climate for the rewriting of history.'' An important, well-documented study that deserves attention. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (July 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452272742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452272743
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #678,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
(51)
3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
49 of 69 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is a good book on a subject whose importance is clear and evident. Professor Lipstadt targets the deniers and presents superb arguments that they are motivated by hate and bigotry. The author, a confident character, faced the trial against her courageously and won.
Lipstadt's outlook, however, is Euro-centered: She only studied holocaust denial in Europe and North America. Characters like Irving and Garaudy are very popular in the Arab world, especially in Egypt. Moreover, Prof Lipstadt ignored Arab individuals who deny the holocaust in the Arabic media. These individuals are considered intellectuals in Arab society, and their message of hate is very popular, primarily because almost all writing about the Holocaust by scholars like Elie WIesel, Walter Laqueur, and Martin Gilbert, is censored, and certainly never ever translated into Arabic. In fact, after the Irving trial, Al Ahram, the most prestigious daily in Egypt and the Arab world, published an interview with David Irving. The interviewers presented David Irving as a victim attacked by sharks, with Professor Lipstadt, whose picture was shown, as one of the sharks. Al Jazeera television network regularly hosts Arab and other holocaust deniers.
Though she is confident, Professor Lipstadt does not seem to be aware that she is being abused in prestigious papers such as Al Ahram and AlJazeera television station. She needs to realize that this is a grave matter, and she cannot afford to be so Euro-centered. She should add a chapter on Arab Holocaust deniers and republish the book. Not only that, she should arrange to have her book translated into Arabic, so that the 300 Million Arabs get a chance to read the truth.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lipstadt is truly a modern times Deborah October 13, 2013
By GYaeli
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The seminal book that led to the defeat in court of Holocaust denier David Irving. Exposing the lies, deceits and fabrications of those who are continuing the Nazi war against the Jews by other means.
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15 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another "Inportant but Flawed" review December 3, 2009
By RandyRP
Format:Hardcover
Having read more than 200 books involving the Holocaust, I find Lipstadt in general to be somewhat unique in the sense that some of her work shows great insight, for example her essay in the Non-Bombing of Auschwitz book, kudo's.
On the other hand at times she seems somewhat troublesome, for example calling Jimmy Carter a "soft core" denier because he did not discuss the Holocaust in his book about Isreali/Palestenian relations, well it's simple over the top. While many disliked Carter's book (or mainly the title, little pith between the pages) to call him a "soft core denier" is to diminish what denial really is. Has she ever read David Ben-Guiron's memiors ?? He to does not discuss the Holocaust, does this make him a "soft core" denier, hardly so.

Now onto the book, what first troubled me was her treatment of the earlist so-called deniers and her description of events imediately after the war. There were people that were extremely vocal about what the allies were doing. The Expulsion and the fact that many supported the Morganthau Plan (which was at least partially initiated) was at the time controvesial to say the least. Yet rather than laud those who stood against our intial tyranical policies, she diminishes the atrocities the allies committed, and conflates people like Freda Utley with "true deniers" like Arthur Butz ???...

Her discussion of the "college ads" controveries was also somewhat puzzling. On one hand she is an advocate of free speech, which I applaud, on the other she seems to fail to realize that free speech means some will adopt the shady tatics the ads employed. However where she really missed the boat is that she acknowdelges that on every campus that the controversies took place, enrollment in Holocaust history courses INCREASED.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, slightly out-of-date overview June 24, 2013
By Al
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Lipstadt's book is a good overview of Holocaust denial twenty-odd years ago. She does a thorough job showing us who the deniers were and are, as well as what their arguments are. She shows us the history of those who claim the Holocaust has been greatly exaggerated, from early pioneers like Harry Elmer Barnes and Austin App through their heirs today, such as Mark Weber and Bradley Smith. She shows that the premier Holocaust denier organization, the Institute for Historical Review, was founded by Willis Carto and David McCalden, tells us who they were and who they've associated with, and tells us about Carto's other Jew-hating projects, like the Liberty Lobby and the Noontide Press.
Lipstadt gives enough attention to the deniers' arguments that anyone who believes in or wants to refute that stuff would do well to read this book. She refutes some of the main arguments and shows the lack of qualifications and credibility of some of the characters involved in Holocaust denial, such as Fred Leuchter.
She has some interesting things to say about why people deny the Holocaust, such as the sheer unbelievability and horror of it. Worth quoting:
"Rationally one would like to assume that, since Leuchter has been exposed as a man without the qualificatons necessary to perform this analysis[of the gas chambers], and since his work has been demonstrated to be scientifically and methodologically fallacious, the destiny of the Leuchter Report would be the dustbin of history. But the Holocaust and, to only a slightly lesser degree, Holocaust denial itself remind us that the irrational has a fatal attraction even to people of goodwill. It can overwhelm masses of evidence and persuade people to regard the most outrageous and untenable notions as fact."p. 181.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written book and provided a lot of insight
It's shocking how so many people still to this day make outrageous claims on how the holocaust did not happen. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Roger
1.0 out of 5 stars Growing Assault on Freedom of Speech
People around the world are being put in prison for asking questions. When did having an opinion become a crime. What is she so affraid of, the truth? Read more
Published 6 months ago by Heaven's May Fall
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book
All the 1 star reviews probably come from the so-called "revisionists".

So far I have not come across one "revisionist" that is not, to a lesser or greater degree,... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Alley-Cat
5.0 out of 5 stars Denying the Holocaust
I first became aware some years ago that there are people who do not believe the Holocaust happened and ever since I have been meaning to read this book. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Damaskcat
1.0 out of 5 stars Worthless
The appeal to motive is a well known logical fallacy. One cannot show that someone is wrong about a point of fact by showing that he has an ulterior motive. Read more
Published 15 months ago by HolocaustHistory channel
1.0 out of 5 stars Book denies holocaust of another people
I was shocked and appalled to find that this book, while confirming the veracity of history about the holocaust and condemning denial, itself denies the genocide of the Armenian... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Truth
1.0 out of 5 stars If anything causes "denial", this book is it.
I admit I've read only half of this book. I couldnt stomach it any more.

Lipstadt is nothing but a jet-fueled funny-car dragster of hate. Read more
Published 21 months ago by V S
3.0 out of 5 stars Lest you be mislead...
Lest you be mislead by the 1-star "reviews": the purpose of this book is not to refute Holocaust deniers. Lipstadt does not attempt to "prove" that the Holocaust happened. Read more
Published 23 months ago by N. Perz
1.0 out of 5 stars Prejudices and flawed logic do not invite to read
For most people, history is what politicians have decided should be taught at school and established as "official". Read more
Published on March 27, 2012 by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Big Sister is watching you
Voltaire said "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." What Lipstadt is saying is "I disagree with what you say, and I want you to... Read more
Published on February 29, 2012 by othoniaboys
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