Holocaust: A History

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Overview

A magisterial, dramatic account that reshapes the way we think and talk about the greatest crime in history.
Unrivaled in reach and scope, Holocaust illuminates the long march of events, from the Middle Ages to the modern era, which led to this great atrocity. It is a story of all Europe, of Nazis and their allies, the experience of wartime occupation, the suffering and strategies of marked victims, the failure of international rescue, and the success of individual rescuers. It alone in Holocaust literature negotiates the chasm between the two histories, that of the perpetrators and of the victims and their families, shining new light on German actions and Jewish reactions.
No other book in any language has so embraced this multifaceted story. Holocaust uniquely makes use of oral histories recorded by the authors over fifteen years across Europe and the United States, as well as never-before-analyzed archival documents, letters, and diaries; it contains in addition seventy-five illustrations and sixteen original maps, each accompanied by an extended caption. This book is an original analysis of a defining event.

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Editorial Reviews

Boston Globe
“The reader looking for a clear and readable account of how Hitler and the Nazis came to conceive and carry out their diabolical project need look no further than this book.”
Rabbi Irving Greenburg
“[A] scholarly miracle....a sophisticated and gripping contribution to Holocaust education.”
Dr. William L. Shulman
“[A]n elegantly written, thoroughly researched and compelling narrative...certain to be a standard work in the field of Holocaust studies.”
Rabbi Herbert A. Friedman
“[T]he focus is on the fate of named individuals on almost every page. That creates the unusual passion and strength of this remarkable book.”
Michael R. Marrus
“A rare achievement that will take its place among the best histories of the destruction of European Jews.”
Douglas Greenberg
“A signal contribution to the vast literature on the history of the Holocaust.... a volume from which general readers and scholars can both benefit.”
Roman Kent
“[A] 'must read' for anyone interested in understanding the true history of this extremely tragic time.”
The Forward
“Holocaust is a superb work.”
Los Angeles Times
“A distinctive blend of moral intensity, attention to detail and multifaceted breadth.”
Herbert A. Friedman
[T]he focus is on the fate of named individuals on almost every page. That creates the unusual passion and strength of this remarkable book.
Michael R. Marrus
A rare achievement that will take its place among the best histories of the destruction of European Jews.
Douglas Greenberg
A signal contribution to the vast literature on the history of the Holocaust.... a volume from which general readers and scholars can both benefit.
Roman Kent
[A] 'must read' for anyone interested in understanding the true history of this extremely tragic time.
Irving Greenburg
[A] scholarly miracle....a sophisticated and gripping contribution to Holocaust education.
William L. Shulman
An elegantly written, thoroughly researched, and compelling narrative that is certain to be a standard work in the field of Holocaust studies.
Publishers Weekly
During the past half-century Holocaust studies have perhaps become the most vital area of historical research. Yet books with the significance of this new history of the Holocaust are rare it is exhaustive as well as consistently insightful. From the opening chapters in which the authors, contradicting popular wisdom, argue that the direct eliminationist roots of the Holocaust are found not so much in the centuries-old European anti-Semitic legal regulations, but in the Inquisition's intention of social purification, the Terror of the French Revolution and the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians by the Turks in 1915 Dwork and van Pelt challenge and provoke. Rather then viewing the Holocaust as a distinct historical phenomenon, the authors do their best to integrate it into a wide range of historical, cultural and social conditions. In discussing the German subjugation of Poland, for example, they focus on how gentile Poles saw the extermination of Jews as a precursor to their own fate; in their discussion of how Jews coped with ghetto life, the authors examine in detail the underground schooling systems that benefited both students and teachers. They also place the history of rescue efforts (usually based on personalities such as Oskar Schindler and Raoul Wallenberg) in a broader and more complicated geographic and social perspective. The book is also filled with fascinating details that challenge our preconceptions for instance, it is a myth, they note, that King Christian of Denmark wore a yellow star in sympathy with his country's Jews, since no Nazi order was ever given for Danish Jews to be so identified. Like their important earlier work Auschwitz (winner of a National Jewish Book Award), this is beautifully and lucidly written, presenting complex and important information in a highly accessible manner. 75 illus., 16 maps. Agent, Anne Borchardt. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
This thoroughgoing work does not treat the Holocaust as an addendum to World War II but as a separate event deserving its own account. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393325249
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/19/2003
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 444
  • Sales rank: 224,165
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Debórah Dwork is the director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Clark University. She lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

Robert Jan van Pelt is a University Professor at the University of Waterloo. He lives in Toronto.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2005

    great

    This book explains the Holocaust in a way I've never read it before.This is an exellent book.You all should read it.Although I am only 9 years old it is still a good book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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