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Murderous Intellectuals: German Elites and the Nazi SS Paperback – November 2, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Jonathan Maxwell s compellingly readable book takes the reader inside Nazi Germany on many different levels. The book provides a portrait of a people and a country in continuous flux, from the events that led to Hitler s popularity, to the Hitler Youth movement, to the embrace of national socialism, to Hitler s warped inner circle. A fine piece of work, Maxwell s book will appeal to general readers interested in the inherent drama of Hitler s unnerving rise to power and his subsequent apocalyptic fall. --Jean Sasson, New York Times bestselling author

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 332 pages
  • Publisher: American Book Publishing (November 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589825632
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589825635
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,256,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I do not know how this work received these accolades. I found it superficial to the point of inaccuracy. As a serious four decade student of the Third Reich, the holder of a degree in history from a major state university and a veteran that lived in Germany for two years, I don't think that I have any thing good to say. A high school student would get a "C-" for effort. While I certainly do not deny the brutal nature of Nazi Germany, this really misses the mark. I find this book to be poorly written and ill researched. Footnotes as to sources and a better editor would be a great help. Also, I would recommend that the publisher put cover art of a Nazi instead of US troops on D-Day (???). The current photo shows the care with which the author and publisher put into this (poor) effort. Finally Maxwell paints with a large, bloody brush in the Chapter MURDEROUS ELITES THROUGHOUT HISTORY. In this chapter (pp 187-188) he castigates the US Army, "World War ll's Good Guys", for (gasp) segregation. Does the author equate the US Army with the SS? Emotionalism and scholarly history don't mix. Readable, sure. That's the problem. The truly sad point is it's so readable that some people might be fooled into thinking that this book has any merits at all and gift it to a youth or a gullible adult.
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Format: Paperback
What drove the Nazis to embark on one of the cruelest mass murder sprees in history, the Holocaust? Also, what caused even the most brilliant of the Germans, some of the country's most renowned intellects, and many people in it upper classes - the German elite - to go along with Hitler's mad plans of genocide, and to sometimes fanatically embrace them as their own? These are the questions that author Jonathan Maxwell tries to answer in his excellent and very well researched book, Murderous Intellectuals: German Elites and the Nazi SS.

Though it's difficult for any one book to fully attempt to explain such a complicated topic, Maxwell's book does a pretty good job of highlighting many of the reasons that may have been behind why many of Germany's intellectuals and elites went along with and participated in the Holocaust. It's a very good book I'd recommend to anyone who likes to read about history and who has always wondered what could have caused an entire nation to seem to have fallen under Hitler's spell.

I won't go into great detail about the book - I don't want to spoil the enjoyment of reading it for others - but I'll touch on some of the reasons the author mentions which others have come up with over the years as possible explanations for Germany's elites and intellectuals, by and large, to become Nazis and support Hitler, Nazism, and the Holocaust. The author gives an overview of the various possible reasons in some of the book's chapters, which have titles like: "Personal Reasons," "Sadism," "Racism and Ethnic Hatred," "The Autocratic Nature of German Society" ("I was only following orders"), and "Human Genetics.
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Format: Paperback
It is so hard to imagine the atrocities that people will go to, to satisfy what they believe to be, the will of a whole nation of people- or at least a large segment of a population; who have unwittingly pledged their allegiance to a monster.

When doctors would give up their practice and abandon their Hippocratic oath to "do no harm" and actually kill people that they termed as "subhuman", it is beyond reproachable behavior. Included in this group were other madmen, and members of society, who would murder a whole populace of people; many of whom were considered intellectuals by their peers. In many instances a one degree difference in your skull index size would determine if you were of the "master race" or "subhuman". If you came out on the wrong end of the measurement you were sent to your death in a gas chamber or other form of eradication to satisfy the "German question" and Hitler's "Final Solution". Even the common citizens of Germany met a terrible fate if they happened to be disabled. If they were, they were labeled as "worthless" and were either killed or made sterile- to preserve the master race. Babies were taken and thrown into rivers and told to "boil there, you offspring of the devil!"

Jonathan Maxwell presents another interesting look at the Holocaust- where he looks into the mindset of the murderous intellectuals and attempts to make some sense of it all by examining the behavioral histories of those involved. In this book you will learn that Hitler, as a young boy, was an introvert and a poor student and we are given insight into what may have influenced him to become one of the evilest men in history.

The author also gives us pause to consider that we are still living in times of great human suffering- at the hands of world leaders- and that history, in the case of the Nazi's and the Holocaust, may well someday repeat itself.
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Format: Paperback
What goes on in the mind of those who pass down the order of to slaughter millions? "Murderous Intellectuals: German Elites and the Nazi SS" is a look into the intellectual elite of Nazi Germany and their involvement in one of the most famous war atrocities of the twentieth century. Looking into these individuals personal histories for answers, Jonathan Maxwell creates a very interesting picture of the minds of the monsters on varying levels of the Nazi Hierarchy. "Murderous Intellectuals" is of high recommendation to any who want a better understanding of the Holocaust and why it happened.
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