- Paperback: 960 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers; New Ed edition (February 27, 1987)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780006371946
- ISBN-13: 978-0006371946
- ASIN: 0006371949
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 2.1 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 163 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,828,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Holocaust Paperback – February 27, 1987
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"A fascinating work that overwhelms us with its truth . . . This book must be read and reread." --Elie Wiesel, "Chicago Tribune"
"A classic story . . . Indispensable for the material it contains, for the soundness of its scholarship, and for Gilbert's ability to narrate and present this history in a style that bears the weight of the subject matter." --"The Christian Science Monitor"
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The book is not difficult reading because of the writing, which is sophisticated, but relatively easy to understand. The Kindle version of this is especially useful because one can look up various places and words by merely highlighting them. For example, do you know what a "gendarme" is? If not, a concise definition is quickly available. I looked up the location of various townships and municipalities mentioned, opened the dictionary, and copied and pasted them as a note.The Holocaust is unlike other genocides in history, among other reasons, for the immense geographic area in which it, with willing local accomplices, occurred --virtually all of Europe and the Soviet Union. The book, aside from from its other many uses, is a lesson in European geography.
While most people that did not live through it, or have family that perished in it, are vaguely aware that Nazi Germany was responsible for mass atrocities against Jews and other "undesirables," or "enemies of the state" (to include mentally or physically handicapped, Gypsies, homosexuals, Soviet POW's, communists, etc.), their education is incomplete if they have not read this book. The graphic, explicit, first person accounts of the brutalities of the Holocaust are indeed difficult to read, not because of the vocabulary or grammar, but rather the empathetic pain a reader feels for the victims.
Although every individual account is horrifically spellbinding, the book is somewhat repetitive in detail. If you were a target of the Nazi's, you were subjected, in the beginning, to impoverishment by confiscation of property and rights, later by deportation, "ghetto-ization," starvation,dehydration, forced hard labor, or outright execution. Attempts at survival were punishable by immediate shooting. Sickness was also punishable by execution, as was giving aid or asylum to the targets.
The history is not without its heroes, those that Israel refers to as "The Righteous," that is, those who did, at the risk of their lives, give aid and asylum to the victims.
I read this book while taking a tour of Central Europe, including post Iron Curtain Poland, Slovakia, Austria, and the Czech Republic. It is interesting that some 70 plus years after these events, all of these countries are still touched by the shadow of the Holocuast, and many tourist attractions are based on these events. I visited Auschwitz-Berkenau, the infamous concentration/death camps in upper Silesia, which is maintained as a museum by the Polish government..
If you read only one serious history book in your life, this should be it..
Informative, replete with accounts that attest to German monstrosities, the author exposes the full extent of the Nazi reign of terror, signified by lies, deception and trickery for ghoulish torture and horrific murder.
Gilbert notes each country’s fall to the German army and its subsequent treatment of the Jewish populations.
The author describes in detail, the conditions in the ghettos and death camps. Laden with overwhelming death, sections prove difficult to read, however, Gilbert’s intent makes clear the enormity of the Holocaust, and that the tens, hundreds, thousands, and tens of thousands of Jews murdered in a day, were insensitive and impersonal to the Germans, and collaborators.
Amid the descriptions of massive murders lies a wealth of information. The excerpts provide a general, overall view of the war as the author records the extent of individuals suffering rather than one cohesive story. Gilbert answers the question of how the German war on Jews succeeded, the crimes too unimaginable to be effable, are yet true.
Gilbert also shines light on the nations particularly cruel to the Jews during their most desperate time: Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, Romania, Croatia and Poland. Gilbert also notes those who resisted the Nazis and who assisted the Jews. Gilbert begins with the rise of Hitler and ends post WWII.
I teach this subject because I believe it is essential that it never be forgotten, not only to honour the victims, survivors, rescuers and allies, but so that people learn from past mistakes and, hopefully, avoid the world repeating them. Sir Gilbert's book goes a great way to opening people's eyes sufficiently to just what went on. Where many sources gloss over the horrors, Gilbert does not shy away, but still presents the evidence in a way that honours those who suffered.
For someone who is detail-orientated like I am, this book is a must in any collection about the Holocaust.