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KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps by [Nikolaus Wachsmann]

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KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 580 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


This book is a remarkable achievement. Nikolaus Wachsmann has written the first integrated history of Nazi concentration camps, unifying in a single narrative the policies and measures governing the inception and growth of the system, the context in which the monstrous KL developed and how each of its stages and facets was recorded and remembered by its victims. The study is essential for a further understanding of the Third Reich. - Saul Friedlander, author of The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945 (winner of the Pulitzer Prize)

Nikolaus Wachsmann has written an admirable historical overview of the Nazi concentration camps, effectively combining decades of recent scholarship with his own original research. He captures both the trajectory of dynamic change through which the camp system evolved as well as the experiences and agency--however limited--of the prisoner community. This is an impressive and valuable book. - Christopher R. Browning, author of Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland

It is hard to imagine that Nikolaus Wachsmann's superb book, surely to become the standard work on Nazi concentration camps, will ever be surpassed. Based on a huge array of widely scattered sources, it is a gripping as well as comprehensive and authoritative study of this grim but highly important topic. - Sir Ian Kershaw, author of The End: The Defiance and Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1944 – 1945

This is the fullest and most comprehensive history of the Nazi concentration camps in any language: a magnificent feat of research, full of arresting detail and cogent analysis, readable as well as authoritative: an extraordinary achievement that will immediately take its place as the standard work on the subject. - Sir Richard J Evans, author of The Third Reich at War

A harrowing, thorough study of the Nazi camps . . . A comprehensive, encyclopedic work that should be included in the collections of libraries, schools and other institutions. - Kirkus, starred review

Wachsmann's exhaustive study will be seen as the authoritative work on the subject. - Publishers Weekly, starred review

Deeply researched, groundbreaking history. - Adam Kirsch, The New Yorker

[I]f a bookshelf has room for only one history of the Holocaust, this is a strong contender for that space. - Stephanie Shapiro, The Buffalo News

[A] comprehensive and ground-clearing work of research and a wrenching work of narrative. It's gruesome reading, but you're in masterful hands the entire time. - Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly

Nikolaus Wachsmann... delivers a comprehensive history of an unendurable subject. ...[He] has absorbed an enormous amount of recent research on the KL. From this mountain of material he has crafted a fluent and gripping history. - David Mikics, Tablet Magazine

Wachsmann's meticulously detailed history is essential for many reasons, not the least of which is his careful documentation of Nazi Germany's descent from greater to even greater madness. To the persistent question, "How did it happen?," Wachsmann supplies voluminous answers. - Earl Pike, Cleveland Plain Dealer

While Wachsmann holds himself to highest standards of scholarship, he is also a gifted author whose eye frequently falls on the telling or surprising detail, which makes KL not only an important work of history, but also, even at 865 pages in length, a rich and highly readable book, full of incident and irony. - Jonathan Kirsch, Jewish Journal

KL is a definitive history of the German concentration-camp system...Mr. Wachsmann, a German historian who teaches at Birkbeck College, London, gently disassembles popular memory and draws a complete and convincing picture... Mr. Wachsmann's most impressive achievement in this synthetic work is his portraits of individual human beings. It takes hard effort to assemble enough sources on inmates or SS men to sustain them as characters in a book of this length. The prisoners had a range of references to describe their ordeals, from the Book of Exodus through Dante's Inferno. In the generations since, their experience has become one of our points of reference in moral discussions, and it is all the more gratifying to see the camp inmates portrayed here with unvarnished humanity. Mr. Wachsmann has in effect united the best of the German and the British schools of grand World War II history: hugely but humbly exhaustive research with attention to character and to detailed narrative. His arguments will be described as "revisionist," which is true only in the sense that all good history revises and corrects the errors of collective memory, which follows its own muses. - Timothy Snyder, The Wall Street Journal

Monumentally impressive . . . seems certain to become the definitive history of the Nazi concentration camps . . . his scholarship brings new life to a familiar subject. - Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times

Profoundly important . . . exceptional . . . will surely become the standard work on the subject. - Laurence Rees, Mail on Sunday

About the Author

Nikolaus Wachsmann is a professor of modern European history at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of the prizewinning Hitlers Prisons and a coeditor of Concentration Camps in Nazi Germany: The New Histories.

--This text refers to the audioCD edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B00NS3NBWU
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Farrar, Straus and Giroux (April 14, 2015)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ April 14, 2015
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 13416 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 881 pages
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 580 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
580 global ratings

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stropy jock
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, shocking and distubing.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 19, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding research project - recommended to all.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 2, 2016
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Peter D
2.0 out of 5 stars An anthology of other people's work
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 25, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brutality and Sadism Unleashed
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 24, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars Strongly recommended for anybody interested in understanding what happened in Germany ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 22, 2015
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