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The Eichmann Trial (Jewish Encounters Series) Hardcover – March 15, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For the Eichmann trial's 50th anniversary, Emory Holocaust studies professor Lipstadt (History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving) trains her gaze on this watershed event in Jewish history. Israeli attorney general Gideon Hausner, a commercial lawyer, lacked criminal or courtroom expertise, but Lipstadt contends that despite a couple of courtroom blunders, Hausner presented overwhelming incriminating evidence to prove that Eichmann's claim that he was just a low-level bureaucrat was a lie. Moreover, Hausner's decision to place victims' testimony center stage gave survivors an iconic authority. Lipstadt discounts critics who say Hausner failed to elicit an admission of guilt from Eichmann, believing it didn't matter because a confession from a brazen liar is worthless. In Eichmann's memoirs, contrary to claims made by Hannah Arendt, Lipstadt finds that he expresses himself as an inveterate Nazi and anti-Semite fully committed to his leaders' goals. Lipstadt also finds Arendt's famous New Yorker reportage on the trial disturbing because Arendt failed to reveal that she was absent for much of the trial, writing from transcripts that cannot convey subtleties of demeanor witnessed in court. This is a penetrating and authoritative dissection of a landmark case and its after effects. (Mar.)
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The Eichmann Trial makes an excellent primer on a landmark event. With impressive authority and commendable concision, Lipstadt frames and explores to its known ends the vast universe of moral quandaries thrown open by the Eichmann trial. In so doing, she makes a welcome contribution to our record of the twentieth century’s most horrifying and depressing episode.”
The Washington Post
The Eichmann Trial is both riveting and nuanced, and should be required reading for anyone who does not wish to wade through eight volumes of trial transcripts.”
—The Jerusalem Post Magazine
“Scrupulously researched . . . a comprehensive and serious but highly readable report of the trial [that is] nothing less than a page-turner. Beginning with Eichmann’s cloak-and-dagger capture in Argentina, through the events leading up to the trial, to the details of the trial (surprisingly fascinating, even fifty years later), Lipstadt knows how to move a story along. [She is] expert at parsing moments in history that are not easy to understand. . . . A tour-de-force.”
—The Jewish Week

“Lipstadt has done a great service by untethering the [Eichmann] trial from Hannah Arendt’s polarizing presence, recovering the event as a gripping legal drama, as well as a hinge moment in Israel’s history and in the world’s delayed awakening to the magnitude of the Holocaust. . . . Her conclusions about Eichmann in Jerusalem are rendered calmly and with devastating fairness.”
—Franklin Foer, The New York Times Book Review
“A thoughtfully researched and clearly written account of the courtroom proceedings and of the debates spurred by the trial.”
—David Pryce-Jones, The Wall Street Journal
“Contains interesting and informative insights on this historic trial . . . [it is] a valuable contribution to an ever-increasing library of Eichmann books.”
Washington Independent Review of Books
“An authoritative analysis of the historical and legal issues involved in a trial of international significance. Highly recommended.”
Library Journal

“Having covered the Eichmann trial myself, I can warmly recommend Deborah Lipstadt’s important analysis of its fascinating perspectives.”
—Elie Wiesel

“A penetrating and authoritative dissection of a landmark case and its after effects.”
Publishers Weekly

“Just in time for its fiftieth anniversary, renowned historian Deborah Lipstadt has reworked the Eichmann trial. This book is a powerfully written testimony to our ongoing fascination with the proceedings, the resonance of survivor tales, and how both changed our understanding of justice after atrocity.”
—David Gergen, professor, Harvard Kennedy School

“An excellent work of historical and political analysis by an accomplished writer. Compellingly written, it grips the reader from its opening pages. With this book, Deborah Lipstadt consolidates her standing as one of the major figures in the Jewish world today.”
—Anthony Julius, author of Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England

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Product Details

  • Series: Jewish Encounters Series
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Schocken; 1St Edition edition (March 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805242600
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805242607
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #371,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

112 of 117 people found the following review helpful By G. Ware Cornell Jr. VINE VOICE on March 16, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
On the last day of the sixth grade in 1962, as my mother was taking me home from school, the news on the radio was that Adolf Eichmann had been hanged in Israel. If there was a defining moment that influenced my choice of a career and course of study, it would be that car ride.I started reading that afternoon. Each question I had only led to more questions. At first I did not know who Eichmann was.Then, I could not understand how he had been prosecuted in a country which was not even in existence during the Second World War. I wanted to know how the Israelis had gotten hold of him. I was fascinated by the glass booth.

I became a history major at Emory where I continued my struggle with the Eichmann trial. In law school at Georgia I studied international law with Professor Dean Rusk who had been Secretary of State in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Professor Rusk set forth the legal basis for any country to prosecute crimes against humanity. After law school I served as a law clerk to a federal judge where issues of the application of laws for extra-territorial crimes were often present.

In short, I thought I knew all I needed to know to answer the questions which perplexed me as a twelve year old. Professor Lipstadt has proved me wrong.

This is a magnificent account of the crimes, capture, confinement, trial, appeal and execution of Adolf Eichmann. Professor Lipstadt, who teaches history at Emory, was given access to Eichmann's memoir in the 1990s during her own defense of an English libel trial brought by a Holocaust denier. But for that access it is doubtful this important work would have ever come to be.

Lipstadt unflinchingly examines the myths, realities and politics of these events.
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71 of 77 people found the following review helpful By jsa on March 19, 2011
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On a trip to Israel several years ago, I visited Beit Lohame Hagetaot ("The Ghetto Fighters' House"), the first museum in the world dedicated to the Holocaust. Beit Lohame Hagetaot, which is located on Lohame Hagetaot, a kibbutz near the border of Lebanon that was founded in 1949 by Holocaust survivors, including several from the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, has an extensive collection including many items which are on loan to the more famous Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem. One artifact that the Ghetto Fighters' House retained to display in its own facility is perhaps the most chilling of the objects and images I've seen at either museum - the infamous three-sided "glass booth" that surrounded Adolf Eichmann during his trial in Jerusalem. I didn't know the museum had the glass booth, and when I came across it on the top floor of the building, my blood ran cold. In this enclosure had stood the man who was responsible for the removal of one and a half million Jews from their communities, and their transportation to concentration camps via rail, death marches and other means. This was a man whose name conjured up evil itself, not only an orchestrator of untold suffering, but an enemy of all that is right and good. While the glass booth embodied the person who occupied it, it also represented the victory of justice: Eichmann was caught, tried, and executed by the Jewish people.

As I examined the materials accompanying the exhibit, I thought about stepping into the booth, however, my revulsion for Eichmann was so strong that I wasn't sure I wanted to occupy the same confined space that he had, even though more than four decades had passed since his trial.
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Paul on April 13, 2011
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This is a reasonably good and very accessible history of the Eichmann trial, and for that reason it's certainly worth reading. Lipstadt is far too "interpretive" in her telling of history, i.e. she spends too much time speculating how certain characters must have felt. She'd do better to stick closer to the data.

My biggest problem with the book is Lipstadt's repeated self-reference, linking the Eichmann trial to her own libel trial levied by the Holocaust denier David Irving. In fact the intro to the book presents her trial along with Nuremberg and the Eichmann trials as one of the three seminal legal events surrounding the Holocaust. (Ignoring, of course, the myriad tribunals in post-war Europe that were unconnected with Nuremberg all the way through the trials of John Demjanjuk).

The fact is that Lipstadt's trial is NOT a seminal part of Holocaust history. It's not that important in a historical sense. She is an excellent scholar and the world should be very relieved that a madman like Irving was not vindicated by this case. But in the end, her trial is an overplayed curiosity when one thinks about the magnitude and centrality of the legal events that were actually connected with the Holocaust.

It makes one lament the fact that there are essentially no books or publically accessible accounts of things like the Polish National Tribunal, the Treblinka trials, the Auschwitz trials, etc. All these things are of far greater historical interest than Irving vs. Lipstadt.
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