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Inside the Vicious Heart: Americans and the Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camps Reprint Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195042368
ISBN-10: 0195042360
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"This book halps to keep live that which must not be forgotten."--David B. Chesebrough, Illinois State University


"This sensitive book chronicles the liberators' psychological and emotional reactions to the concentration camps....An important contribution."--Religious Studies Review


"Abzug tells a true and terrifying story of what the American troops found when they entered Germany in 1945. Included are the accounts of Generals Eisenhower, Patton and Bradley, Editor Joseph Pulitzer, novelist Meyer Levin, Photographer Margaret Bourke-White, and American GIs, who desperately tried to save the few remaining survivors."--The Jewish Voice


"Abzug's stunning book takes us back to the moment at which the West lost its innocence and confronted the murder of millions of Jews and other human beings by Germany."--Jacob Neusner, Brown University


"A fine book, a signal contribution to the literature of the Holocaust."--Chicago Sun-Times


"Abzug has done an excellent job sifting both the testimony itself and the reactions of Americans back home....Not a book to dwell on...but not one that should be overlooked, either."--The New York Times


"[This] compelling book examines a hitherto neglected element of the Holocaust--the liberation of concentration camps in France, Germany, and Austria by American soldiers in 1945 and its impact on American moral opinion."--History of European Ideas


"A riveting study of soldiers who liberated the major concentration camps in Germany."--American Historical Review


"A slender, well-illustrated volume...forceful and riveting."--Newsday


"A scholarly and poetic attempt to assess the impact of the concentration camps upon the liberators, the writers and the general public....Language, image, and experience are woven together with great skill."--David R. Blumenthal, Emory University


"Inside the Vicious Heart makes a profound impression and deserves to be widely read."--Military History


"An important and significant work."--George M. Kren, Kansas State University


"A great volume. Should have good shock value."--Matthew H. Gore, Western Kentucky University


From the Back Cover

Inside the Vicious Heart captures the shock of the discovery, telling the story of the camp liberations in the words of Generals Eisenhower, Patton, and Bradley; editor Joseph Pulitzer; photographer Margaret Bourke-White; and numerous American GIs who opened the gates, buried the dead, and desperately tried to save those they found alive.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (January 8, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195042360
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195042368
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.6 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #810,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book attempts to chronicle the absolute horror that accompanied the discovery of Nazi concentration/slave labor/extermination/death camps at the end of World War II.

The story is primarily told from the perspective of the Americans, from GIs to General Eisenhower, as well as journalists and others, who came upon the camps, what they saw, and how they reacted.

There are separate chapters on the Ohrdurf & Norhausen, Buchenwald, Dachau, and Mauthausen camps, along with a chapter covering the discovery of numerous smaller camps. A brief history and background of the camps are also covered in these chapters. Interspersed with the text are numerous photos of the discoveries at the camps.

Also included are introductory chapters trying to assess America's knowledge of these camps prior to their discovery and closing chapters on the aftermath of the camps on the discoverers, the inmates, the Germans, and the world, and an attempt to make sense somehow of it all.

This is a somber book. The photographs (piles of corpses, burned bodies, humans reduced to skin and bones) and descriptions of what was found in the camps (the smells, the sights, the sounds) are not for the squeamish. Nonetheless, it is a must read for anyone trying to gain some sense (if indeed, any can be found) of what was the Final Solution for the Jewish people as well as the horrific mistreatment of other groups (Gypsies, Communists, criminals, etc.) that the Nazis deemed undesirable.
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Format: Hardcover
I knew the author personally. I took a Holocaust course from Dr. Abzug while at the University of Texas. I asked him questions about the construction of the book. Placing key photographs right after controversial passages in the book. It was done for effect, and had a profound effect on me. This is a must read book for anyone interested in the Holocaust as well as those interested in how such a event could happen. More than anything else the book showed me how fragile we are as human beings, and that when inudated with violence and horror, how we can become indifferent to it.
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Format: Paperback
This was an interesting view of the horrors of the holocaust. I think there is better works that detail out what happened in the camps, but this book really gives you the insight into what it was like to roll through the gates of the camp in an American jeep. You almost can feel the chain of emotions the solders go through: confusion, anger, pity, and sadness. This must also be in some small part what the current American solders see in Afghanistan with millions starving. This is a well-written, very unique look at the topic and is well worth the price. You will "feel" this book for a long time after you have finished it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I learned so much about what my own father faced as his division liberated the concentration camp. As Gen. Eisenhower was quoted, "Many of our soldiers don't know what we are fighting for. Now after touring this concentration camp I want them all to see what we are fighting AGAINST."
Brilliantly written. Unbiased and well researched. Photos are graphic, but it shows the truth of what happened.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book gets 5 stars not because it was enjoyable but because it did precisely what it claimed it would: study and describe the liberation of Nazi death camps and labor camps from the Americans' point of view. The experiences and opinions of GIs and officers were prominent, and they lent a richness to the narrative that it could not possibly have otherwise had.
Students of WWII and/or Holocaust history will find this book useful for its description of how the Nazis' victims coped after liberation. Anti-Semitism, for example, was still active and virulent even after the Nazis' defeat--in eastern Europe and in Germany itself. As a work of Holocaust history this book is more informative than almost any other.
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Format: Paperback
this book is shocking but true! the details are very graphic and the pictures even more so. the author has done his research--i took a class from him on the subject. really powerful and important reading for everyone to understand the horror of the holocaust and work to ensure that such a thing never happens again. leaves you with a whole new perspective on the nature of evil and the potential power of authority and those in it.
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I was a child at the end of WWII - and I remember my childhood friend whispering in my ear (for what reason the whisper? - because it was too awful to speak out loud?) "You know they are persecuting the Jews in Europe." Well, I didn't know - and I didn't learn about it for a very long time into my adulthood. We need books like this that both tell and show what was happening to the Jews and others in those almost forgotten years. So we can never forget. So God willing, it can never happen again.
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