Hitler and the Holocaust (Modern Library Chronicles)

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9780679642220: Hitler and the Holocaust (Modern Library Chronicles)
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Hitler and the Holocaust is the product of a lifetime’s work by one of the world’s foremost authorities on the history of anti-Semitism and modern Jewry. Robert S. Wistrich begins by reckoning with Europe’s long history of violence against the Jews, and how that tradition manifested itself in Germany and Austria in the early twentieth century. He looks at the forces that shaped Hitler’s belief in a "Jewish menace" that must be eradicated, and the process by which, once Hitler gained power, the Nazi regime tightened the noose around Germany’s Jews. He deals with many crucial questions, such as when Hitler’s plans for mass genocide were finalized, the relationship between the Holocaust and the larger war, and the mechanism of authority by which power–and guilt–flowed out from the Nazi inner circle to "ordinary Germans," and other Europeans. He explains the infernal workings of the death machine, the nature of Jewish and other resistance, and the sad story of collaboration and indifference across Europe and America, and in the Church. Finally, Wistrich discusses the abiding legacy of the Nazi genocide, and the lessons that must be drawn from it. A work of commanding authority and insight, Hitler and the Holocaust is an indelible contribution to the literature of history.

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Review:

In Hitler and the Holocaust, part of the Modern Library Chronicles series, Robert S. Wistrich is less concerned with detailing the "what" and "how" of this century's most infamous genocide than he is in answering the seemingly unanswerable: "Why?"

World War II, Wistrich posits, was not only a German attempt to obtain territorial hegemony but simultaneously (and perhaps more importantly, in Hitler's eyes) a crusade against the "mythical Jewish enemy," those people he felt were the source of "all evils"--internationalism, pacifism, democracy, Marxism, and Christianity among them. Jews were nonpeople--vermin, bacteria, a contagion--and therefore "unworthy of life." This ideology was most immediately a reaction to Germany's defeat in World War I and the economic chaos and national humiliation that followed, but Wistrich suggests, this "apocalyptic theology" was only the ghastly tip of an anti-Jewish iceberg that had floated on European seas for the best part of two millennia. The Nazi agenda was aided and abetted, Wistrich goes on, as much by the indifference toward and abandonment of the Jews by most European Christian religious bodies (both Roman Catholic and Protestant) and American and British political exigencies as it was by modern technology.

This is a grave, dense book, one almost entirely unrelieved by anecdote. It is, as well, rigorous, adamant, and sure to generate controversy. Though it catalogues many individual trees, many of them difficult to behold, its primary value is to look upon the entire Holocaust forest and to describe that disturbing, grotesque panorama in eschatological terms. --H. O'Billovitch

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"Everything I have done during the past 56 years and continue to do serves one purpose: The prevention of a repetition of the horrors that I and others survived. This book will continue the important work of inspiring others to pursue that same goal, and will provide them with the understanding upon which any such pursuit must be based."
--Simon Wiesenthal

"Robert Wistrich’s Hitler and the Holocaust is a concise yet distinctly authoritative history of the Holocaust. . . . Anyone who wants to read one book on the state of our understanding of Hitler and the Holocaust as we enter the new century would be well advised to begin with Wistrich. Never polemical and always meticulous, restrained in his prose and fair in his analysis, once again he displays a mastery of his subject and full command of even the most recent of scholarship."
--Michael Berenbaum, author of The World Must Know, former director of the Research Institute of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and former president of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780812968637: Hitler and the Holocaust (Modern Library Chronicles)

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ISBN 10:  0812968638 ISBN 13:  9780812968637
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9781842124864: Hitler and the Holocaust (Universal History)

Weiden..., 2002
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9780297643739: Hitler and the Holocaust (Universal History)

Weiden..., 2001
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