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Is the Holocaust Unique?: Perspectives on Comparative Genocide Paperback – December 30, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0813344065 ISBN-10: 0813344069 Edition: 3rd

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Editorial Reviews


Is the Holocaust Unique? is firmly established as a classic of Holocaust and genocide studies. This third edition, with its wealth of new essays and insights, is the richest and most provocative yet.”
—Adam Jones, University of British Columbia Okanagan, author of Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction

“Professor Rosenbaum has masterfully edited a landmark in this comprehensive, well-balanced, and compassionate study of the most systematic attempt at annihilating an entire race in the history of humankind. Seen in light of a current trend toward justice violations—from torture and extraordinary rendition to ‘preemptive’ war—the chapters of this volume may be potent reminders of just how violable the line is between sanity and savagery.”
—Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D., Editor, International Journal of Applied Philosophy

“With no dearth of ongoing challenges to human rights around the world, including the continued conflicts in Africa and renewed attention on global legal issues such as war crimes and crimes against humanity, the general theme of the book is as timely as ever. … This volume is intended to provide food for thought and provoke ongoing inquiry into questions of comparative genocide. It surely does.”
Cleveland Jewish News

From the Publisher

Evaluating the Jewish Holocaust is by no means a simple matter, and one of the most controversial questions for academics is whether there have been any historical parallels for it. Have Armenians, Gypsies, American Indians, or others undergone a comparable genocide? In this fiercely controversial volume, distinguished scholars offer new discussions of this question. Presenting a wide range of strongly held views, they provide no easy consensus.

Some critics contend that if the Holocaust is seen as fundamentally different in kind from other genocides or mass deaths, the suffering of other persecuted groups will be diminished. Others argue that denying the uniqueness of the Holocaust will trivialize it. Alan Rosenbaum's introduction provides a much needed context for readers to come to terms with this multidimensional dispute, to help them understand why it has recently intensified, and to enable them to appreciate what universal lessons might be gleaned from studying the Holocaust.

This volume makes an important contribution to our comprehension of one of the defining events of modern history. It should be essential reading for scholars, students, and general readers interested in the Holocaust and its relationship to other instances of politically inspired mass murder. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Westview Press; 3rd edition (December 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813344069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813344065
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,413,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is a very interesting book that discusses matters that are usually overlooked in discussions of the Holocaust. It gives a good introduction and comparison of other historical events that involved the elimination of thousands of people and that are sometimes ignored in mainstream discussions about genocide. Topics include the killings of the Gypsies, Armenians, Ukrainians and Native Americans.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jan Peczkis on November 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
The question posed by this book is well summarized by David E. Stannard: "Within the conventional range of explanations for the Holocaust, from the so-called intentionalist perspective (which views the unfolding of events in Nazi Germany as directed and controlled by a powerful, single-minded, and consistent core of ideologues) to the so-called functionalist interpretation (in which decisions of the Reich are seen as largely improvisational and even chaotic, in response to changing circumstances), the claim that Jews and only Jews have ever been singled out for total extermination emanates from the extreme intentionalist position. This is the way of thinking that also undergirds most conspiracy theories on a variety of topics." (p. 267).

The development of Holocaust-uniqueness notions long postdate WWII: "In the late 1970s and early 1980s the Holocaust became a cornerstone of American Jewish identity and was enlisted for a whole range of Jewish and non-Jewish political objectives. As a result, the idea of the Holocaust's uniqueness was embraced by the Jewish community..." (Wulf Kansteiner, p. 231). Furthermore, "...there is a disquieting pattern of claims of the `incomparable uniqueness' of the Holocaust and a good deal of political power used in many places in academia, museums, and communities to back up these claims by pushing down and out nonadherents." (Israel W. Charny, p. x). As an example, Ian Hancock, a defender of the view that Gypsies had also been targeted by the Nazis for complete extermination (pp. 73-74), alleges that: "The director of one Holocaust center referred to me as a troublemaker; another writer on the Holocaust called my discussion of the Romani case in the Jewish context `loathsome'" (pp. 85-86). Interestingly, Vahakn N.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Adam J. Jones on September 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a fine collection taken as a whole, but the standout essay is certainly David Stannard's "Uniqueness as Denial." Indeed, it is one of the finest and bravest essays I have ever read, although absolutely merciless in its polemic against "uniqueness" theories.
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