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Children's LiteratureIn looking back at the horrific events of the Holocaust, many people can only shake their heads and wonder how they could have occurred. Yet, like all other elements of human history, the systematic destruction of over six million European Jews had an origin, a cycle, and an outcome. In Origins of the Holocaust long time writer David Downing tackles this difficult etiology in the first volume of the "World Almanac Library of the Holocaust." In this incisively written book Downing looks back at the historical and cultural roots of anti-Semitism that permeated European history. As time and events moved toward the 20th century a strange but widely accepted cultural heritage had taken shape that was grounded upon salacious and discriminatory works that characterized Jews as dangerous parasites who fed off the well being of European gentiles. Following Germany's utter defeat in World War I and the punishing effects of inflation and economic depression, the stage had been set for the rise of Adolf Hitler and his hateful ideology. As David Downing points out in this insightful, illustrated text, the rise of Hitler did not come out of nowhere. A combination of historical factors, tragic events, economic dislocation, and age-old simmering hatred all came together to provide the fertile earth wherein the Holocaust could grow. This is a chilling yet important story that youngsters need to be aware of lest it repeat itself time and again. In telling this tale so well David Downing has crafted a work of both historical and humanistic value. 2006, World Almanac Library, Ages 10 up.
—Greg M. Romaneck