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Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews 1st Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0192804365
ISBN-10: 0192804367
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Skeptics who maintain there is little of value left to learn about the Holocaust should read this superb and provocative work originally published in German in 1998. Now revised and published in English for the first time, it offers relatively new data as well as a convincing thesis regarding the genesis and execution of systematic genocide. Longerich rejects the assertions of so-called “structuralists” who view the “Final Solution” as a byproduct of the war, which implies that anti-Jewish policies simply “got out of control” under wartime stress. Rather, extermination of Jews was the logical result of the virulent race hatred of the Nazis. Furthermore, Longerich shows that this hatred of Jews was prevalent in Germany well before the Nazi ascension to power in 1933. As expected, it permeated parties of the Right, but it infected all aspects of German society. This is a scholarly work relying heavily on letters, reports, and statistics, but it does not neglect the shattering anguish of individual humans. This is a vital addition to the field of Holocaust studies. --Jay Freeman

Review


"This wide-ranging, comprehensive analysis of the Holocaust from origins to consequences promises to set a new standard for Holocaust studies."--Shofar


"A milestone in holocaust scholarship."--Christopher Browning, author of Origins of the Final Solution


"Superb, perhaps the best overview there is." --Mark Roseman, author of The Villa, the Lake, the Meeting


"A formidable work of scholarship...the most authoritative account of the Holocaust that we have."--Jeremy Noakes, editor of Nazism 1919-1945. Vol 4 The German Home Front in World War II


"Skeptics who maintain that there is little left of value to learn about the Holocaust should read this superb and provocative work originally published in German in 1998. Now revised and published in English for the first time, it offers relatively new data as well as a convincing thesis regarding the genesis and execution of systematic genocide. Longerich rejects the assertions of so-called 'structuralists' who view the 'Final Solution' as a byproduct of war, which implies that anti-Jewish policies simply "got out of control" under wartime stress. Rather, extermination of Jews was the logical result of the virulent race hatred of the Nazis. This is a vital addition to the field of Holocaust studies."--Booklist Starred Review


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 29, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192804367
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192804365
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.6 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #432,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Throughout the historiography of Nazi Germany there have been tumultuous and fractious divisions between scholars ascribing to a number of differing views on the development of government sponsored antisemitism, culminating in the Holocaust itself. For the most part those views have been mutually exclusive, hence the fractious nature. These mutually exclusive views and debates initially and most familiarly consisted of those between the 'intentionalist(Hitler's intentions and objectives are the primary focus) vs functionalist (the bureaucratic jumble in the regime led to an erratically radicalization in anti Jewish policy) ' schools of thought. More recently the debate has developed into one of whether the periphery (those at the enforcement level of government) or center (the highest echelons of Nazi officials) were most crucial in driving the radicalization of policy.

In Peter Longerich's new history, the Holocaust, he answers most emphatically that it was all of the above. His analysis, supported throughout with the kind of primary documents critical to a work of this nature, is full of insight and a fresh manner of reporting the march to genocide perpetrated by Nazi Germany and those within her sphere of influence. In short, he argues that rather than either the functionalist or intentionalist, periphery or center arguments being correct, they all have merit. None of them exist in exclusion of opposing ideas but rather the periphery and center fed each other and Hitler's intentions and the bureaucratic confusion all contributed to the Holocaust occurring as it did.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is not for everyone interested in understanding the Holocaust. There are no pictures and no maps. The author makes no attempt to convey the horror of Nazi actions through vivid descriptions or language (beyond using the word "murder" a thousand times or so). He assumes a lot of background knowledge in the reader about the basic story of the Holocaust: the primary methods, locales, and perpetrators. The translation from the original German is pretty good but a little stilted. The text was originally the author's "Habilitation" thesis in Germany. It has lots of footnotes and a big bibliography.

There are pop history books, history textbooks, and scholarly historical works. This book is clearly in the latter category. If you don't like scholarly historical works, this book is not for you. That doesn't make you bad or the book bad; there's just going to be a mismatch between what you want and what this book provides.

What this book provides is a remarkably detailed and insightful look at the evolution of Nazi policy towards the Jews from the time the Nazis took over Germany to the time that the Third Reich collapsed. The author provides ample evidence that the policy evolved substantially throughout this time period, and he gives well-reasoned explanations of why it changed the way it did. Maybe this book ought to have seemed very dry, with the myriad Polish place names and the body counts eventually just becoming a blur in the mind of the reader. Yet I had trouble putting it down, and I feel much better informed for having read it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a detailed, scholarly synthesis of the evolutionary process by which the Nazis progressed from persecution to mass murder to complete genocide. It is not meant to be an introduction to the Holocaust or an overview of the topic -- and if some have read or rated this book expecting a more "accessible" overview of the Holocaust have probably chosen the wrong book. I can say, however, that to get a more detailed and compelling account of how the Nazis actually created and implemented the Holocaust, one probably has to look at very topic-specific scholarly articles or at primary source material. For the topics and themes covered in the book this is probably the best (and most balanced) single volume accounting in existence.

The book shows quite convincingly a few main themes:

1) The Nazis did not finally decide upon complete extermination, without any sort of caveats or pretexts, until at least the Spring of 1942. By this point there were gas chambers in operation at Auschwitz, Belzec, and Sobibor, and more than half a million had been killed by shooting in the Soviet Union. In other words, the practical fact of genocide actually came into being before the Nazis actually decided that genocide was their "final" solution. Longerich even makes a case that the Wannsee Conference cannot be definitively argued as a fundamental decision to exterminate 100% of the Jews, because there was still argument and pretext at the time about extermination as a way to select out those fit for forced labor.

2) Hitler was without question the driver of the Holocaust, as many fundamental changes in policy happened after key meetings between him and Himmler (or other functionaries).
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