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Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (Penguin Classics) Paperback – September 22, 2006
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Far from being evil incarnate, as the prosecution painted Eichmann, Arendt maintains that he was an average man, a petty bureaucrat interested only in furthering his career, and the evil he did came from the seductive power of the totalitarian state and an unthinking adherence to the Nazi cause. Indeed, Eichmann's only defense during the trial was "I was just following orders."
Arendt's analysis of the seductive nature of evil is a disturbing one. We would like to think that anyone who would perpetrate such horror on the world is different from us, and that such atrocities are rarities in our world. But the history of groups such as the Jews, Kurds, Bosnians, and Native Americans, to name but a few, seems to suggest that such evil is all too commonplace. In revealing Eichmann as the pedestrian little man that he was, Arendt shows us that the veneer of civilization is a thin one indeed. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Arendt's book is a landmark in the workings of the Nazi machine that tortured, raped, and killed over 11 million Europeans for their religion, sexual orientation, political ideas, and nationality. However, the Eichmann trial centers more on the role Eichmann had in the "Final Solution" to the Jewish Question. Eichmann was charged with being a key player in the destruction and eradication of European Jewry.
The book and Arendt's theory regarding "the banality of evil" has created controversy since its inception in 1963. In 1963 Arendt was sent to Jerusalem to follow the Eichmann trial for The New Yorker. She published a series of articles over the course of the trial. It is often remarked by critics of the book that Arendt was not present for even half of the trial, yet the book is considered one of the principal books on the trial, if not the primary.Read more ›
I'm also grateful to her because this book is the first place where she recounted the story of the Danish Jews, who were protected by just about the entire population of Denmark when the Nazis tried to round them up.
Arendt (p. 39) gives the readers a taste of the scale of the Kristallnacht (November 1938): 7,500 Jewish shop windows broken, all synagogues burned, and 20,000 Jewish men incarcerated in concentration camps. In common with many others who wrote during the first two decades after WWII, Arendt (p. 5, 11-12) addresses the issue of Jewish passivity in the face of death during the later roundups and transports to the death camps.
Arendt briefly discusses the fate of Jews of some individual European nations. She mentions the conniving of the Bulgarians (with, of course, the implied freedom to do so) performed in order to avoid sending their Jews to the death camps, and the fact that Finland, Germany's ally, was never seriously pressured to turn over her 2,000 Jews to be murdered (p. 170). Clearly, the latter part of the oft-repeated statement, "Not all of the victims of the Nazis were Jews, but all Jews were victims of the Nazis" is incorrect.
Throughout this work, Arendt gives various biographical details of Adolf Eichmann. For example, she mentions that he was a Gottglaubiger (p. 27), a Nazi term for those who had broken with Christianity, and which Eichmann maintained right up to the very moment of his hanging, having refused the solace and Bible reading of a Protestant minister (p. 252).
Arendt briefly discusses Hitler's flouting of the Versailles treaty and his rise to power. While Jan T.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Come on, Amazon, those questions are wildly inappropriate for this book!!!!!!! Adolph Eichmann was kidnapped (appropriately) and brought to Jerusalem for trial for war crimes. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Penny Duff
She showed how his defense was inadequate. He provided lots of information willingly, but this helpfulness was not shown in the courtroom.Published 3 months ago by Hal
I'm reading it at this very moment, but only to page 14. Call me later, OK?Published 3 months ago by Pete Allenbach
Packaging was fine however 2 books arrived with bent covers and folded pages. I realize that may be inevitable givin the fact that these packages travel hundreds of miles but some... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Eric VanOrden
This is a very dense book but crucial to society & study history. I bought this book to use it in my essay in Philosophy of Management and Organization in my graduate school in... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Author MichaelAngela
Very well written, Arendt shows how scholarly writing needs not be dull or partialPublished 4 months ago by L. Ribeiro
A deeply disturbing reminder of the depravity of elements of humankind in times of warPublished 4 months ago by Peter Davisson
What more can one say about this seminal book? A must read for any person who is puzzled and troubled over mankind's continuing inhumanity to the innocent victims- men, women and... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer