The War in the Empty Air: Victims, Perpetrators, and Postwar Germans [NOOK Book]

Overview

"This book will provoke intellectually, ideologically, and
emotionally loaded responses in the U.S., Germany, and Israel. Barnouw's critique of
the 'enduringly narrow post-Holocaust perspective on German guilt and the ensuing
fixation on German remorse' questions taboos ...

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The War in the Empty Air: Victims, Perpetrators, and Postwar Germans

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Overview

"This book will provoke intellectually, ideologically, and
emotionally loaded responses in the U.S., Germany, and Israel. Barnouw's critique of
the 'enduringly narrow post-Holocaust perspective on German guilt and the ensuing
fixation on German remorse' questions taboos that the political and cultural elites
in those three countries would rather leave alone.... [Barnouw] makes us understand
why the maintenance of a privileged memory of the Nazi period and World War II may
not survive much longer." -- Manfred Henningsen, University of
Hawai'i

In Germany, the reemergence of memories of wartime
suffering is being met with intense public debate. In the United States, the recent
translation and publication of Crabwalk by Günter Grass and The Natural History of
Destruction by W. G. Sebald offer evidence that these submerged memories are
surfacing.

Taking account of these developments, Barnouw examines
this debate about the validity and importance of German memories of war and the
events that have occasioned it. Steering her path between the notions of
"victim" and "perpetrator," Barnouw seeks a place where
acknowledgment of both the horror of Auschwitz and the suffering of the non-Jewish
Germans can, together, create a more complete historical remembrance for postwar
generations.

2006 AAUP Public and Secondary School Library Selection

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Editorial Reviews

German History
Barnouw's articulate War in the Empty Air . . . makes for lively reading.
German Studies Review
In a deliberately polemical manner reminiscent of Arendt, Barnouw confronts the petrified, sanctified and officially approved memories of the German past . . . .
Journal of European Studies
Her intention is . . . to seek acceptance for the memories of that majority of Germans who had not wanted . . . Hitler's war.
Journal of American Studies
In this book, decisively (and with great sensitivity) Barnouw establishes a case for creating a more complete historical remembrance for postwar generations.
NYMAS Review
. . . the author's goal, to find a way to bring 'both the horror of Auschwitz and the suffering of non-Jewish Germans' into greater focus, is a good one . . . .
Clio
. . . [A]n engaging, provocative outline . . . [with] fascinating uses of autobiography . . .
Clio

"... offers an engaging, provocative outline of the political forces inhibiting the retrieval of memories [of] how the war felt to those who lived through it." —Clio

Journal of American Studies

"In this book, decisively (and with great sensitivity) Barnouw establishes a case for creating a more complete historical remembrance for postwar generations." —Journal of American Studies

Shofar

"The willing executioners of Hitler's project... had only one experience to tell. This overwhelming silencing of Germans as executioners could not last forever. Dagmar Barnouw's book, The War in the Empty Air, provides evidence of Germans recovering their voice." —Shofar

German Studies Review

"In a deliberately polemical manner reminiscent of Arendt, Barnouw confronts the petrified, sanctified and officially approved memories of the German past...." —German Studies Review

German History

"Barnouw’s articulate War in the Empty Air... makes for lively reading." —German History, V.25:2

War in History

"[Barnouw's] work is a thought-provoking addition to the flourishing literature on the politics of memory in the contemporary world." —War in History, Vol. 16 no. 4 (2009)

From the Publisher

"The willing executioners of Hitler's project... had only one experience to tell. This overwhelming silencing of Germans as executioners could not last forever. Dagmar Barnouw's book, The War in the Empty Air, provides evidence of Germans recovering their voice." —Shofar

"In a deliberately polemical manner reminiscent of Arendt, Barnouw confronts the petrified, sanctified and officially approved memories of the German past...." —German Studies Review

"... offers an engaging, provocative outline of the political forces inhibiting the retrieval of memories [of] how the war felt to those who lived through it." —Clio

"In this book, decisively (and with great sensitivity) Barnouw establishes a case for creating a more complete historical remembrance for postwar generations." —Journal of American Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253111821
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 10/11/2005
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • File size: 503 KB

Meet the Author

Dagmar Barnouw was Professor of German and Comparative Literature,
University of Southern California, until her sudden death in May 2008. Her books
include Weimar Intellectuals and the Threat of Modernity (IUP, 1988) and Naipaul's
Strangers (IUP, 2003), among other books of cultural criticism.

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Table of Contents

Contents Preface: The Loss of History in Postwar German Memory

1. Historical Memory and the Uses of Remorse
2.
"Their Monstrous Past": German Wartime Fictions
3. Censored Memories: "Are the Germans Victims or Perpetrators?"
4. The War in the Empty Air: A Moral History of Destruction
5. No End to "Auschwitz": Historical or Redemptive Memory
6. This Side of Good and Evil: A German Story

Notes Index

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