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In examining one of the defining events of the 20th century, Doris Bergen situates the Holocaust in its historical, political, social, cultural, and military contexts. Unlike many other treatments of the Holocaust, War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust discusses not only the persecution of the Jews, but also other segments of society victimized by the Nazis: Gypsies, Homosexuals, Poles, Soviet POWs, the Handicapped, and other groups deemed undesirable. With clear and eloquent prose, Bergen explores the two interconnected goals that drove the Nazi program of conquest and genocide—purification of the so-called Aryan race and expansion of its living space-and discusses how these goals affected the course of World War II. Including first hand accounts from perpetrators, victims, and eyewitnesses, the book is immediate, human, and eminently readable.
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Doris L. Bergen is Chancellor Rose and Ray Wolfe Professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Toronto.Review:
With exceptional succinctness and clarity, Doris Bergen provides the reader with a wealth of information, a series of illuminating individual experiences, and judicious commentary. (Browning, Christopher)
Easily the best concise history of the Holocaust available; an ideal introduction to an enormously complex and challenging subject. Doris Bergen integrates the latest findings of Holocaust scholarship into an exceptionally well-written analysis of the key events and issues. No other Holocaust survey so effectively examines the persecution and murder of the Jews within the broader contexts of World War Two, Nazi territorial expansionism in Eastern Europe, and Nazi measures targeted at homosexuals, the disabled, Sinti/Roma, Slavs, and other groups. (Alan E. Steinweis)
War and Genocide provides a splendid, easy-to-read introduction to a complex, sometimes contentious, and shattering subject. Balanced and fair-minded, this book is highly recommended both for students of the subject and for interested general readers. (Michael Marrus)
Does the Holocaust's immensity mean that a concise history of that event is impossible? Doris Bergen, a meticulous scholar who writes with unusual clarity and precision, admirably shows that the answer is no. Wisely situating the Holocaust in the context of World War II, insightfully organizing her account around Nazi Germany's lethal quest for racial purity and territorial conquest, her War and Genocide provides an overview as brilliant and reliable as it is compact. Anyone who struggles to fathom the Holocaust's deep darkness will benefit from reading this well-crafted and much-needed book. (Roth, John K.)
War and Genocide may be a concise history of the Holocaust, but it covers a lot of contextual ground and in a clear, insightful, sensitive, and compelling manner. Doris Bergen writes about the genocide of the Jews, without neglecting the persecution, enslavement, and murder of millions of other victims of the Nazis in Europe during World War II and the Holocaust. She has done educators, students, and scholars a great service. (Dr. Carol Rittner, R.S.M.)
Doris Bergen's study is the best concise treatment of the Holocaust to date. Her book is approachable for both beginning students learning about the genocide, and for advanced students who are looking for a high quality synthesis. Bergen tells the story in a compelling way that weaves the latest research into a fascinating narrative that makes the Holocaust more understandable for all readers. Her inquiry views the Holocaust from many different perspectives and will add to anyone's knowledge of the Shoah. Bergen has a wonderful knack for including poignant testimony with relevant analysis to make this horrifying experience more comprehensible. This book will certainly become the standard text for Holocaust courses. (Glenn Sharfman)
One of the most accomplished teachers of the Holocaust has written a brilliant incentive for anyone considering the daunting task of launching or improving a college course on the subject. With expert conciseness, Bergen presents a thoughtful overview of the issues and their place in recent literature. She gives us a judicious analysis rich with compassionate narratives of human experience, at once a tough account of this unique past and a meditation on its contemporary relevance. This is a courageous effort to remember--and to face the consequences. Bergen’s book is a corrective to many existing accounts, confronting the reader not just with the sickening or sensationalized history, but with the question of why Hitler was such a big hit in Germany as well as in the popular media all around us today. (Nathan Stoltzfus)
Doris Bergen encapsulates this complex history with intelligence and insight. She has written a sure and fluid introduction to the Holocaust. (Daniel Jonah Goldhagen)
Doris Bergen's War and Genocide: A Concise History of the Holocaust offers a view of the Holocaust that balances academic rigor, recent scholarship, and student accessibility. It provides a superb foundation for students to understand the complexity of the historical record and historiography of the Holocaust. (Jeffrey Myers)
In this brief survey, which is clearly written for an undergraduate audience, Bergen does an excellent job of introducing nearly all of the major issues surrounding the Holocaust. Copiously illustrated with photographs and maps, this succinct book is remarkably comprehensive, making it unusually accessible to nonexperts. Highly recommended. (Choice Magazine)
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