The Pius War: Responses to the Critics of Pius XII

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In the brutal fight that has raged in recent years over the reputation of Pope Pius XII_leader of the Catholic Church during World War II, the Holocaust, and the early years of the Cold War the task of defending the Pope has fallen primarily to reviewers. These reviewers formulated a brilliant response to the attack on Pius, but their work was scattered in various newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals_making it nearly impossible for the average reader to gauge the results. In The Pius War, Weekly Standard's Joseph Bottum has joined with Rabbi David G. Dalin to gather a representative and powerful sample of these reviews, deliberately chosen from a wide range of publications. Together with a team of professors, historians, and other experts, the reviewers conclusively investigate the claims attacking Pius XII. The Pius War, and a detailed annotated bibliography that follows, will prove to be a definitive tool for scholars and students_destined to become a major resource for anyone interested in questions of Catholicism, the Holocaust, and World War II.

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Editorial Reviews

First Things
The Pius War will likely remain the definitive answer to the slew of malicious and misleading books that have in recent decades assailed Pius XII for his 'silence,' or worse, during the period of Hitler and the Holocaust. The Pius War will likely be an important resource in advancing the cause of Pius XII towarde his canonization.
National Review
The Pius War . . . is one of the best volumes to emerge from the controversy so far. . . . This is a tour de force of scholarship, and highly readable to boot.
— Michael Potemra, National Review
New Oxford Review
Henceforth, any scholar interested in writing the definitive biography of Pope Pius XII must deal with this work.
Catholic Historical Review
This collection is to be strongly recommended both to specialists in the field and a lay audience.
Rabbi Daniel Lapin
Stouthearted courage and vast wisdom are vital in those who come to denounce the grievous defamation of a good man. The result is The Pius War, this compelling book that deals a devastating blow to those who claim to be combating anti-Semitism yet descend into deceit, hate, and anti-Christianism. Read it and find yourself stirred to indignation at how the smear of secularism stained a righteous reputation, and be inspired by these brave authors who herein right a historic wrong.
David Novak
The contributors to this important volume have made judicious arguments in defense of the actions of Pope Pius XII before, during, and after the Holocaust. These arguments deserve an equally judicious hearing from non-Catholics — especially from Jews — who need to know how they are to judge this pope when they remember an unforgettable event in their own history and in the history of the West. Catholics, too, need to make equally judicious use of these arguments in their own deliberations about the possible canonization of Pius XII.
Marshall Breger
This volume provides a valuable corrective to the over the top 'Pope bashing' so prevalent in politically correct academic circles. Taken as a whole the contributors' critique of the recent attacks on Pope Pius XII's conduct during World War II offers a compelling case for the defense. The annotated bibliography of the dispute is an indispensable vade mecum for future scholars.
David Klinghoffer
Rabbi David Dalin's omnibus review in the February 26, 2001, Weekly Standard . . . opened and changed my mind. To see it here at the center of this fine collection, buttressed by William Doino's astonishing bibliography, is a great pleasure. David Dalin and Joseph Bottum are indeed friends of truth.
National Review - Michael Potemra
The Pius War . . . is one of the best volumes to emerge from the controversy so far. . . . This is a tour de force of scholarship, and highly readable to boot.
(U.K.) Literary Review
[An] outstanding new collection of defences of Pius.
Robert P. George
During the Second World War, the New York Times praised Pope Pius XII as 'a lonely voice crying out of the silence of a continent.' After the war, Grand Rabbi Isaac Herzog of Jerusalem sent the Pope a special blessing for 'his life-saving efforts on behalf of the Jews.' Upon the death of Pius XII, Golda Meir observed that 'during the years of Nazi terror, when the Jewish people went through the horrors of martyrdom, the Pope raised his voice to condemn the persecutors and to commiserate with the victims.' Yet, since the publication of socialist writer Rolf Hochhuth's play Der Stellvertreter in 1963, the Pope's reputation has suffered. Many people believe that he was "silent" in the face of German atrocities, and some even go so far as to suggest that he harbored sympathy for the Nazis. Had the editors of the New York Times, Grand Rabbi Herzog, and Prime Minister Meir all been duped? The authors of The Pius War make the case that the praise Pius received during and after the war was, in fact, well deserved. Far from being "Hitler's Pope," as his most extreme critics have labeled him, Pius XII did what he could, in extraordinarily difficult circumstances, to aid the victims of Nazi terror—Jews and Christians alike. Who is right? Fair-minded people will want to read authors on both sides of the debate before settling their minds. Those who have read the well-publicized works of Pius's critics will find much to ponder in this collection of patient and thoughtful writings in his defense.
The Catholic Historical Review
This collection is to be strongly recommended both to specialists in the field and a lay audience.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739145647
  • Publisher: Lexington Books
  • Publication date: 2/19/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 268
  • Sales rank: 1,120,026
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseph Bottum

Joseph Bottum is Books & Arts editor of The Weekly Standard. David G. Dalin is Professor of History and Political Science at Ave Maria University and the author of numerous books on American Jewry.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 2 Pius XII and the Jews 3 Dismantling the Cross 4 A Dangerous Thing to Do 5 A New Syllabus of Errors 6 Desperately Seeking Culprits 7 The Land of What If 8 Something Deeply Shameful 9 How Not to Deal with History 10 To Avoid Worse Evils 11 Bigotry's New Low 12 Pius XII and the Nazis 13 Annotated Bibliography of Pius XII, the Second World War, and the Holocaust

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