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The Holocaust on Trial
     

The Holocaust on Trial

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by D. D. Guttenplan
 

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The account of a trial in which the very meaning of the Holocaust was put on the stand.
D. D. Guttenplan's The Holocaust on Trial is a bristling courtroom drama where the meaning of history is questioned. The plaintiff is British author David Irving, one of the world's preeminent military historians whose works are considered essential World War II scholarship and

Overview

The account of a trial in which the very meaning of the Holocaust was put on the stand.
D. D. Guttenplan's The Holocaust on Trial is a bristling courtroom drama where the meaning of history is questioned. The plaintiff is British author David Irving, one of the world's preeminent military historians whose works are considered essential World War II scholarship and whose biographies of leading Nazi figures have been bestsellers. Irving refuses to admit to Hitler's responsibility in the extermination of European Jewry, replying that the Holocaust as we know it never happened. The defendant is Deborah Lipstadt, who blew the whistle on Irving, calling him "one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial." Irving sued for libel, and under English law, it was up to Lipstadt to prove the truth of her writings, and the falseness of Irving's views.

Editorial Reviews

When American scholar Deborah Lipstadt denounced British historian David Irving as a right-wing extremist who denigrated the memory of Hitler's Holocaust victims, Irving sued her for libel. Although the suit was pursued in England, where libel laws are weighted heavily toward the plaintiff, Lipstadt welcomed the public airing, and fellow academics, angered by years of Irving's pronouncements, rushed to her support. The trial that followed was, by any standard, a landmark. Lipstadt was required to do nothing less than to prove that hundreds of thousands of Jews had indeed been gassed at Auschwitz. This inside account of the proceedings shows that, however tragic history may be, it must not be buried.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem, born of her New Yorker essays, Guttenplan's book springs from his Atlantic Monthly articles. In 1996, British military historian David Irvingauthor of WWII studies, biographer of Hitler, Himmler and Goebbelssued American scholar Deborah Lipstadt for her book Denying the Holocaust, which labeled Irving an extremist liar and "one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial." Guttenplan, contributing editor at the Nation, makes the complex case navigable, from issues of the historian's craft to British libel law (which, unlike American libel law, favors plaintiffs). Although Irving, Lipstadt and Judge Charles Gray unambiguously stated that history was not on trial, everyone else saw otherwise. Lipstadt's British publisher Penguin incurred considerable expense for the legal defense for its author, who also had problematic Anti-Defamation League supporters; Irving received assistance from neo-Nazi acquaintances and from reputable historians (John Keegan) and iconoclastic journalists (Christopher Hitchens). Guttenplan's fine journalistic style proves equal to the subject's gravity. Readers not familiar with the intricacies of Holocaust historiography or British libel laws may flounder at times, but Guttenplan fluidly guides readers through most of the rough spots. In his hands, Irving is infinitely more interesting than the sympathetic Lipstadt, perhaps for the same reason that Dante's Inferno engrosses more than his Paradise. Guttenplan only touches on deeper epistemological, historiographical and philosophical issues, but maybe these are for historians and philosophers. Although we know the trial's outcome, the book creates delicious courtroom-thriller tension. Most important, it expertly introduces a crucial trial of our time. Four b&w photos. Agent, Andrew Wylie. (May 21) Forecast: Norton has planned an author tour to New York and Washington, D.C., where the combination of Irving's notoriety and Guttenplan's readable treatment will stir up a great deal of interest and debate. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
London-based journalist and essayist Guttenplan describes British military historian David Irving's libel suit against American academic Deborah Lipstadt. In her , she accused him of perverting historical evidence to suit his ideological ends of defending Nazi Germany. She also showed that his conclusions were wrong, and that in fact hundreds of thousands of Jews were gassed at Auschwitz. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393322927
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
04/17/2002
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

D. D. Guttenplan, journalist and essayist, lives in London. He has written on the Irving trial for Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, and The Guardian.

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The Holocaust on Trial 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It appears another propaganda book is born. The author leads the read with comically poor logic. Makes me wonder if the author actually read the court transcript.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reading the Trainscript of the trial, and his account I feel cheated. Reading the trainscript Irving wins hands down, but I am glad some one took the time to teach me how to think the right way about History and War. Gosh, or the truth might be lost in thinking!