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The Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War Paperback – May 15, 1987

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 956 pages
  • Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 15, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805003487
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805003482
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A compelling book on an ugly subject, The Holocaust may be the finest book available for those who want a general understanding of how the rise of the Nazis in Germany impacted the Jewish people--as well as those who want to learn exactly what was at stake in the Second World War. When The Holocaust was first published in 1986, Elie Wiesel gave it a glowing review, writing, "This book must be read and reread." It occasionally seems like a numbing catalog of unspeakable horrors, but how else does one write a comprehensive history of such a great tragedy? Gilbert is an accomplished author with a frighteningly long list of books to his credit; this is among his best.

From Publishers Weekly

A poignant introduction by the author (official biographer of Winston Churchill) is followed by his instructive analysis of anti-Semitism in Europe, from Martin Luther's venomous fulminations against Jews to the motivating power of anti-Semitism in the National Socialist movement. Hitler's "final solution" began formally within hours of the German invasion of Russia, a campaign that, as Gilbert shows, provided an opportunity for genocide hitherto lacking. With a relentless accumulation of detail and eyewitness accounts, he writes of the systematic efficiency of the Nazi attempt to destroy European Jewry and the widespread disbelief that such could be happening. Though the figure of Adolf Hitler remains in the background, such executives as Himmler, Eichmann and Mengele are very much in evidence throughout the gripping narrative (there is new material on the latter's labors at Auschwitz). An element in the historical tragedy that Gilbert stresses is the deliberate destruction of childrenone of Mengele's principal interestswhich the author calls "the new barbarism." The narrative reaches its dreadful climax with the convergence on the death camps of the Allied and Soviet armies, a time when "rescue and slaughter marched hand in hand." A particularly disturbing section deals with outbreaks of anti-Semitism after the German surrender. On July 4, 1946, for instancemore than a year after V-E Day42 Jews were massacred by Poles in the town of Kielce. Gilbert brings within the pages of this volume all the major substantiated evidence of Jewish resistance throughout the war, plus many examples of Gentiles risking their lives to protect Hitler's prey. Photos. Major ad/promo. January
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Sir Martin Gilbert is one of the leading historians of his generation. An Honorary Fellow of Merton College, Oxford - of which he was a fellow for thirty years - he is the official biographer of Churchill and the author of eighty books, among them Churchill - A Life and The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust. For more information please visit http://www.martingilbert

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I thought I knew about the Holocaust before I read this book.
David Van Keuren
The book was very well written and easy to read, it is the content that makes it so disturbing.
Larry Pruett
Martin Gilbert has written an excellent book on the Holocaust.
Kurt D. Diekelman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on September 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
When one of the world's most eminent historians takes on the single most amazing phenomenon of the century, the Holocaust, it gives one pause for thought. So here we have Sir Martin Gilbert, a noted Holocaust authority, writing masterfully about the events leading up to and including the systematic persecution, deportation and murder of the Jews of Europe. His stirring and singular narrative is regularly punctuated by a number of poignant and shocking eyewitness accounts of many who lived through those numbing events. The test is extremely approachable and easy to read, so that the non-historian can appreciate the breadth and scope of his recounting of the events during the 12-year reign of terror levied by the National Socialists in Nazi Germany.
His approach is chronological, much like that employed in his best-selling three volume series on the 20th century. While he relies heavily on established secondary sources for his documentation, the power of his prose and his well-organized approach makes this an entertaining and educational tome to venture into. Although nowhere near as comprehensive as some other tomes such as Klaus Fischer's "History Of An Obsession", he does trace the centuries' long tradition of anti-Semitism culminating in the official state sanctioned approach codified in the institutionalized Nuremberg laws. In all this, Gilbert brilliantly employs survivor's recollections to paint the atrocities in the hues and colors of real human beings, ordinary and identifiable individuals caught in the insanity of the Third Reich. Furthermore, he pursues their individual identities and humanity by giving the reader information on the postwar futures of these people.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
The more people hear about the Holocaust in our Holocaust-drenched culture, the less they seem to know about it. Most people's understanding of the Holocaust reduces to simplistic abstractions and cliches, particularly the notion that the worst thing about the Nazi war against the Jews was that it was impersonal and bureaucratic. This book is the antidote to all that. By tracing in specific detail, from month to month and year to year, what the Nazi regime actually did to the Jewish communities of Europe that fell under its power, Martin Gilbert gives the reader a more vivid and concrete sense of the Holocaust than can be found in any other book (or museum) on the subject. Contrary to the focus of the popular mind on Auschwitz and gas chambers, the Holocaust did not consist of one event or one crime. It consisted of innumerable, specific crimes, in a steadily mounting unleashing of cruelty that only an epic-length treatment such as Mr. Gilbert's could adequately portray. This is an indispensable book that will forever change your understanding of one of history's central events.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Smith on March 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
Martin Gilbert's the Holocaust is the most comprehinsive and in depth work I have read on this subject, and why it gets 5 stars is because of the very personal nature of this book. Mr. Gilbert reverts the numbers back into real people. When reading other books on the Holocaust I found myself being deluged with these massive numbers of atrocities until they began to become abstracted and unreal, but Mr. Gilbert's account is so detailed and filled with personal accounts that every page fills you with a greater sense of the reality and the scope of this tragedy. Instead of a clinical account of numbers, this book has personal and eyewitness accounts throughout. He never lets you forget that these were real people with families, friends and real lives. This is a gut-wrenching read that forces you to look into the darkest reaches of human nature and see just how vicious human biengs can be to one another. A Diary of Anne Frank on a grand scale.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
There are no words to describe the Evils written about in this book. But the words Martin Gilbert has do describe with historical precision the destruction of the Jews of Europe by the Nazis and their various allies. The book is difficult and painful to read because of the horrible stories it tells. And as one reviewer on Amazon has said this is a record not of one crime but of thousands of crimes done every day, not of one cruelty but of millions of cruelties. One of the features of this historical accounting which may seem to some to disturb the flow of the overall historical narrative but which to me seemed to give tremendous weight and power of the book is the account of individual lives, the stories of those people who actually suffered and went through the Shoah. Naming of names in this way, and telling the stories of the ' little people' seems to me to give the account a human strength that more general accounts lack.

This work is as I said very difficult to read because of its painful subject matter. Reading it one certainly learns about ' man's inhumanity to man' the cruelty Mankind is capable of. One learns to know how certain specific peoples seem to display special tendencies for that cruelty. One learns about the worst chapter in all of Jewish history , and of the surviving remnant of it.

Who wishes to know and understand the full character of human history must read this book, or one like it.

G-d help us all.
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