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War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust (Critical Issues in World and International History) 2nd Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0742557154
ISBN-10: 0742557154
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Editorial Reviews


A book that will likely be required reading in college-level courses for years to come. . . . A detailed overview of the Holocaust. (History In Review)

A meticulous, sensitive account of the Nazi race wars that combines a powerful narrative and explanatory drive at the same time as it illuminates individual lives and fates with searing precision. While giving full weight to the antisemitic core of Nazi racism, Bergen also shows why it claimed so many other groups of victims, and pursues it to its appalling climax in the wars of imperialist conquest and exploitation launched in 1939. This is a distinctive and remarkable achievement, as assured as it is readable. (Jane Caplan, University of Oxford)

This precise textbook accomplishes much: it provides a wide-angle view of what the Holocaust was and is in clear historiographical terms, challenges students to think through facts and interpretations surrounding the historical study of the Holocaust, and complements―and is short enough to allow the inclusion of―primary sources in a course. I will use it as long as I can. (Jeanne Grant, Metropolitan State University)

About the Author

Doris L. Bergen is Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Toronto.

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Product Details

  • Series: Critical Issues in World and International History
  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; 2nd edition (February 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742557154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742557154
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Andy Green on November 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Doris L. Bergen has been a history professor since 1991 at University of Vermont and the University of Notre Dame. Her research and written works on Nazism, the Third Reich, Christian antisemitism, and the Volksdeutschen have made her especially qualified to write this brief history of the Holocaust. There is no specific mention of any direct or familial involvement with the Second World War (Bergen 263). War & Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust has an extensive bibliography which covers the entire spectrum on this topic, including general and specialized secondary research, official records, and firsthand accounts in the form of diaries and journals.

While unbiased accounts are the goal in historical research, it is extraordinarily difficult to be without an anti-Nazi bias when writing on the Holocaust. Such a traumatic event in the course of human affairs is inherently and undeniably emotional. A dispassionate account of the Holocaust would not only be uninteresting, it would be inappropriate on many important levels. Bergen uses her talents of discretion to balance the work by making it accessible on an emotional level to even serious students of history while not letting her anti-Nazi bias destroy the validity of her research.

The book is intended to be a concise history of the larger events of the Nazi takeover of Europe and their extermination of "undesirables." Bergen accomplishes this by describing the major and pertinent events of the period with minimal digression. She also keeps the events of the Holocaust in context of the larger context of the war in such a way that the reader is not lost in the details.
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By A Customer on October 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is an exceptionally useful and moving textbook on the Third Reich, World War Two, and the Holocaust. My students' response in an upper-level course on German history was outright enthusiastic. The range of aspects covered in this volume is impressive: we learn about the wider European cultural-ideological context as well as about specifically German preconditions for Nazi policies; the author discusses internal developments in the Third Reich as well as the international repercussions of war and genocide. Perhaps most important, Bergen confronts the difficult moral questions of these devastating and dramatic events. This is one of the most intelligent and helpful treatments of this topic. Bergen's writing sets new standards for clarity when relating complex historical developments.
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Format: Paperback
About a third of the way through Doris Bergen's book War & Genocide, I began to realize that it had the emotionally neutral tone and linear organization of a conventional textbook. My initial response was that this way of presenting material outside a classroom setting was not to the author's credit. As I neared the end of Bergen's powerfully succinct and informative history of the Holocaust, however, I realized that her stylistic approach was exactly the right one. Had the author not maintained an understated affect coupled with a matter-of-fact, linear account, I doubt that I would have finished the book. There are just too many gut-wrenching horrors on a truly massive scale, one after another, to be able to tolerate the story if it were presented in a more emotionally charged way.

According to Bergen, fifty-five million people died in World War II. Of these, a large but precisely indeterminate number were victims of the Holocaust. The Holocaust brought death to captured soldiers on the wrong side, soldiers on the right side who lost their nerve and ran, nondescript civilians in the wrong place at the wrong time, Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, Free Masons, Jehovah's Witnesses, devoted Christians suspected of placing Christ before the Fuhrer, Poles, Slavs, pregnant women, children, old men, the disabled, the mentally ill ... there is no end to the list of descriptive categories, including some, such as "asocials," contrived by the Nazis just for homicidal convenience. For the reader of War & Genocide, page after page of sometimes vicious, more often straightforward and unemotional killing of innocents may be too much to take in.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because it was a requirement for my German history class at college. If I had excess funds I would probably not think twice about buying this book even if it were not a requirement for my course because it describes the Holocaust very well, Amazon provides a very reasonable price, and that it is not a very condense book as it is less than 300 pages long. This book was very interesting to read and I learned many news things about the Holocaust, some of which were that Jews were not the only ones persecuted and/or systematically murdered by the Nazis as the Gypsies along with homosexuals, Freemasons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Communists, and Soviet prisoners of war were victims as well. I highly recommend this book to anyone above the age thirteen to buy and/or read this book because you will most likely learn numerous more facts about the Holocaust than you currently know, you will not have to read many books on the subject to understand the Holocaust well, you can buy it for a fair price on Amazon, and that it is very concise.
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