The Holocaust on Trial: History, Justice and the David Irving Libel Case

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"In 1999 David Irving, a right-wing chronicler of Hitler's regime, sued Penguin Books, claiming he had been falsely labelled a Holocaust denier in a book by the American professor Deborah Lipstadt. He maintained that there had been no gas chambers at Auschwitz, no systematic mass murder of Jews by the Nazis, and that the whole Holocaust story is exaggerated." "The story of the trial is at the centre of this book. It is a true courtroom drama. Irving is a flamboyant and self publicising character, given to provocative pronouncements. He conducted
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Overview

"In 1999 David Irving, a right-wing chronicler of Hitler's regime, sued Penguin Books, claiming he had been falsely labelled a Holocaust denier in a book by the American professor Deborah Lipstadt. He maintained that there had been no gas chambers at Auschwitz, no systematic mass murder of Jews by the Nazis, and that the whole Holocaust story is exaggerated." "The story of the trial is at the centre of this book. It is a true courtroom drama. Irving is a flamboyant and self publicising character, given to provocative pronouncements. He conducted his own case. D. D. Guttenplan had complete access to the courtroom and to Irving throughout the trial, and his rounded portrait of the man is as devastating as it is fair-minded. But Irving is only one of the book's characters, who include Charles Gray, the patrician judge, Anthony Julius, solicitor and iconoclastic scholar, Richard Rampton, Penguin's sharp-minded QC, and Professor Richard Evans, who spent twenty-eight hours in the witness box demolishing Irving's scholarship." "This is also a book about the wider debate over the Holocaust and about the nature of historical truth. Guttenplan insists that we cannot close off discussion of the Holocaust, even as it needs to be defended from so-called revisionists."--BOOK JACKET.
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Editorial Reviews

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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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781862074866
  • Publisher: Granta Books
  • Publication date: 1/1/2002
  • Pages: 334

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 Court Full 17
2 The Claimant 36
3 The Defendants 58
4 Discovery 83
5 A paper Eichmann? 106
6 Mr. Death 138
7 Auschwitz 162
8 Massive confrontation 196
9 Germans 235
10 Closing arguments 255
11 A reasoned judgment 273
12 Numbers 287
Notes 309
Index 318
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