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Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland Paperback – February 28, 2017

4.6 out of 5 stars 1,358 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A staggering and important book, a book that manages without polemic to communicate at least an intimation of the unthinkable.” (Chicago Tribune )

“Helps us understand, better than we did before, not only what they did to make the Holocaust happen but also how they were transformed psychologically from the ordinary men of [the] title into active participants in the most monstrous crime in human history.” (New York Times Book Review)

“It is the care with which Browning examines the evidence, as well as the soberness of his conclusions, that gives this work such power and impact.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“A remarkable—and singularly chilling—glimpse of human behavior. . .This meticulously researched book...represents a major contribution to the literature of the Holocaust." (Newsweek)

From the Back Cover

Ordinary Men is the true story of Reserve Police Battalion 101 of the German Order Police, which was responsible for mass shootings as well as roundups of Jewish people for deportation to Nazi death camps in Poland in 1942. Browning argues that most of the men of RPB 101 were not fanatical Nazis but ordinary middle-aged, working-class men who committed these atrocities out of a mixture of motives, including the group dynamics of conformity, deference to authority, role adaptation, and the altering of moral norms to justify their actions. Very quickly three groups emerged within the battalion: a core of eager killers, a plurality who carried out their duties reliably but without initiative, and a small minority who evaded participation in the acts of killing without diminishing the murderous efficiency of the battalion whatsoever.

While the book discusses a specific reserve unit during World War II, the general argument Browning makes is that most people are susceptible to the pressure of a group setting and committing actions they would never do of their own volition.

Ordinary Men is a powerful, chilling, and important work with themes and arguments that continue to resonate today. 


Product details

  • Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
  • Paperback : 384 pages
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0062303028
  • Product dimensions : 5.31 x 0.86 x 8 inches
  • Publisher : Harper Perennial; Revised edition (February 28, 2017)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 1,358 ratings

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
1,358 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on January 21, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on March 27, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on April 18, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on July 14, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on March 28, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on October 10, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on October 23, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on January 11, 2018
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Top reviews from other countries

Aesir Inks
5.0 out of 5 stars Food for thought
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 4, 2019
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Other
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading - A True Warning From History
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 30, 2018
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Mr. Boris Sevsek
5.0 out of 5 stars A chilling tale of how ordinary men become killers.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 3, 2018
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Robert S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly excellent impartial analysis of "ordinary Germans" as murderers
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 17, 2020
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PenPav
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting book, showing the human cruelty and extreme ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 8, 2018
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