Top positive review
68 people found this helpful
Simply one of the most incredible history books I've read!
on July 19, 2004
I cannot praise the author, his research, his explanations and his writing enough for this singular tome. Like other reviewers have said, the reader goes into this book, whether Jewish or not, with their mouth open at the incredibility of this occurence. It's easy enough in hindsight to make judgement calls about what the the leaders of the Jewish community world-wide should have done about Hitler's rise to power. However, given the economic situation of the time and the Reich's strategems to place all blame for Germany's economic hardships on the Jews throughout Europe, it's hard to determine that even had the massive boycotts been organized and on schedule, would they have work? And even more important, if Hitler was ousted due to the economic stranglehold on Germany,who or what would have taken his place? And would that have been any less devastating for the Jews in Europe.
There are few obvious heros and anti-heros in this book, except for the Nazis as being the ultimate in villains. One man paid dearly for his attempts to save European Jewry...with his life. It was not conclusive as to whome the assassins were and who put out the price on his head. It's all too easy to blame the reactionary groups, but there are obvious questions about whether his death was one of convenience so that blame could be placed by the leading group of Mapai at the door of the reactionary Jewish groups.
Sam Cohen was a businessman through and through. His reasoning to press The Transfer agreement was purely motivated by money, and not the need to either save European Jewry or to establish Israel as a separate state. It is this 'selling' of the agreement by so many that is so mind-boggling. So many were willing to take the wealth of German Jewry (and later the funds that were supposed to be used to save the lives of Jews who had no homes or businesses to return to) and use it to set up a home in Palestine...it's beyond my ability to pass judgement on these men as to their motivation, yet I am not certain I could possibly decide to shake the hands of these men. The fact that there was a need to set up a Jewish state, and that there was all this money to fund its establishment is beside the fact. At no other time, was any other method even considered to rescue the millions of Jews trapped, even the children...this is so reprehensible as to curdle anyone's blood.
And though this happened, our countries, including the U.S. and Britain were equally at fault for closing immigration quotas, even though they knew what was going on in Germany. It was easier to merely close their eyes and ignore The Holocaust, until it became obvious that no one was safe from Hilter and his cronies.
This story is just so incredible that I wish there was some way to make it into a movie that does the story justice. I don't suppose that is a possibility. But it is a tremendous story that needs to be included in European history, as it's impact was great. Edwin Black did a fantastic job. (...)