The Nazi program of mass extermination of the Jews, argues Katz in this provocative study, was the only true genocide in history: never before had a state attempted, as a matter of policy, to annihilate every member of a specific group. Professor of Jewish history at Cornell, Katz presents a series of heavily annotated case studies comparing the Holocaust to ancient and medieval examples of brutality and mass murder--slavery in the Greco-Roman world, the medieval witch-hunt craze and persecution of homosexuals, the 13th-century crusade against Albigensian heretics, the Catholic church's wars against Huguenots. None of these tragedies was a genocide, Katz concludes. The first installment in a three-volume opus, this scholarly tome holds that Christian anti-Judaism did not set the stage for the Holocaust because, despite the Church's centuries of persecution of Jews, it nevertheless permitted Jewish survival by promoting constraint and ethical scruples among Christians.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Promises to be one of the most important works in the area of Holocaust studies. It will certainly inspire much rethinking in the field."--Elie Wiesel, Boston University
"Katz provides a virtual encyclopedia of genocide...[establishing] that The Holocaust is a phenomenological and historical novum, a loginriel. This claim, long voiced as a generality, now receives confirmation through an exhaustive documentation which should correct much loose speech and thought, and give a proper perspective to the Holocaust in the framework of universal history."--The Jerusalem Post
"From now on, no one will be able to discuss the uniqueness of the Holocaust without referring to the massive study of Steven Katz."--Raul Hilberg, University of Vermont
"The work of Professor Steven Katz is the fruit of years of careful and profound research. His excellent and impressive analysis of racism as an ideological and political phenomenon demonstrates an extraordinary contribution to comprehension of the Holocaust and events of mass killing in the past."--Israel Gutman, Yad Vashem
"Katz's work is a supremely ambitious effort to come to grips historically with the massacre of European Jews and the intended elimination of the Jewish people worldwide. Matching the seriousness of this subject, his work is learned, carefully argued, imaginatively constructed, and of breathtaking scope--extending from ancient times to the modern era. This is a truly remarkable achievement, to be pondered by everyone who wants to situate this unparalleled catastrophe in our world of catastrophic events."--Michael R. Marrus, University of Toronto
"An epic undertaking, Professor Katz's comprehensive study of a sad and sensational subject, mass murder from Antiquity to the Present, not only demonstrates a mastery of historical detail but clarifies important matters of definition that surround the Holocaust as a genocidal event. Scrupulously informed and trenchantly critical, his book raises the level of debate. No one interested in the question of the specificity of the Holocaust can afford to neglect this volume."--Geoffrey Hartman, Yale University
"Within the last decade the volume of research and writing on the Holocaust and related subjects has increased exponentially. To the generalist, it would seem the field is fully occupied with specialized monographs. Professor Katz is not elbowing his way into that crowded pack, however....He has written a work which will take its place by the sheer mass of research, comprehensive scholarship, and authoritative interpretations. Quite simply, no scholar will be able to do without reference to it. With equal certainty, no one will even attempt something to supersede it for many years to come."--Franklin H. Littell, Baylor University
"Steven Katz has written one of the few books on the Holocaust that is truly indispensable for both the intelligent reader and the scholar. Comprehensive, thorough, challenging, this book is destined to be the focus of debate and reflection for years to come."--Richard L. Rubenstein, Florida State University
"Steven Katz's study of the Holocaust in Historical Context presents the first detailed overview of genocide as a human activity. Its scrupulous scholarship, its unflinching focus makes it the most important single historical work on genocide ever published."--Sander L. Gilman, Cornell University
"After Katz's landmark study, the debate will surely continue, but on a considerably higher plane than heretofore."--Christopher Browning, Pacific Lutheran University