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IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation

IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation

4.4 34
by Edwin Black

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IBM and the Holocaust is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling shocker--a million copies in print--detailing IBM's conscious co-planning and co-organizing of the Holocaust for the Nazis, all micromanaged by its president Thomas J Watson from New York and Paris. This Expanded Edition offers 37 pages of previous unpublished documents, pictures, internal company


IBM and the Holocaust is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling shocker--a million copies in print--detailing IBM's conscious co-planning and co-organizing of the Holocaust for the Nazis, all micromanaged by its president Thomas J Watson from New York and Paris. This Expanded Edition offers 37 pages of previous unpublished documents, pictures, internal company correspondence, and other archival materials to produce an even more explosive volume. Originally published to extraordinary praise in 2001, this provocative, award-winning international bestseller has stood the test of time as it chronicles the story of IBM's strategic alliance with Nazi Germany. IBM and the Holocaust provides nothing less than a chilling investigation into corporate complicity. Edwin Black's monumental research exposes how IBM and its subsidiaries helped create enabling technologies for the Nazis, step-by-step, from the identification and cataloging programs of the 1930s to the selections of the 1940s.

Editorial Reviews

Newsweek - Michael Hirsh
STUNNING. An explosive book... Backed by exhaustive research, Black's case is simple and stunning: that IBM facilitated the identification and roundup of millions of Jews during the 12 years of the Third Reich ... Black's evidence may be the most damning to appear yet against a corporate accomplice.
Washington Post Book World - Christopher Simpson
BEYOND DISPUTE. Black clearly demonstrates that Nazi Germany employed IBM Hollerith punch-card machines to perform critical tasks in carrying out the Holocaust and the German war effort. He goes on to document that IBM managed to profit from Hitler's state throughout its existence. ...Black establishes beyond dispute that IBM Hollerith machines significantly advanced Nazi efforts to exterminate Jewry. ...IBM and the Holocaust is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the Holocaust.
The Atlantic - Jack Beatty
SHOCKING. Thomas Watson chose to tabulate the Nazi census, to accept Hitler's medal, and to fight for control of Dehomag. And he made other equally indefensible choices in his years of doing a profitable business counting Jews for Hitler-choices that are described in IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black. This is a shocking book. Edwin Black has documented a sordid relationship between this great American company and the Third Reich, one that extended into the war years.
Cleveland Plain Dealer - Karen Sandstrom
EXCRUCIATING. Black makes a case that shames the IBM of the mid-20th Century. ...There will be no question... in the minds of readers that IBM officials had the ability to understand the task their machines were performing. The book succeeds as a piece of excruciatingly documented journalism.
Miami Herald - Richard Pachter
EXHAUSTIVE. An exhaustively researched, highly detailed look at IBM, its history and business dealings. . . . Black’s book . . . is an ugly story, hidden for years, told by a master craftsman in a compelling way. More than just another Holocaust tale . . . it’s a chilling lesson.

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Dialog Press
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Meet the Author

Edwin Black is the award-winning, New York Times and international investigative author of 80 bestselling editions in 14 languages in 61 countries, as well as scores of newspaper and magazine articles in the leading publications of the United States, Europe and Israel. With a million books in print, his work focuses on genocide and hate, corporate criminality and corruption, governmental misconduct, academic fraud, philanthropy abuse, oil addiction, alternative energy and historical investigation. Editors have submitted Black's work nine times for Pulitzer Prize nomination, and in recent years he has been the recipient of a series of top editorial awards. He has also contributed to a number of anthologies worldwide. For his work, Black has been interviewed on hundreds of network broadcasts from Oprah, the Today Show, CNN Wolf Blitzer Reports and NBC Dateline in the US to the leading networks of Europe and Latin American. His works have been the subject of numerous documentaries, here and abroad. All of his books have been optioned by Hollywood for film, with three in active production. His latest film is the screen adaptation War Against the Weak, based on his book of the same name. Black's speaking tours include hundreds of events in dozens of cities each year, appearing at prestigious venues from the Library of Congress in Washington to the Simon Wiesenthal Institute in Los Angeles in America, and in Europe from London's British War Museum and Amsterdam's Institute for War Documentation to Munich's Carl Orff Hall.

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IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is well researched exhaustively detailed account of how IBM actively and willingly participated in the clockword precision of Third Reich as it attempted what most would have thought an impossible task the elimination of all European Jewry. this is must reading for any intelligent person who has the slightest interest in History or technology. It is an important book a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat that will alternately horrify and rivet you from the first page to the last. We all owe much to this dedicated and hard working author for his long hours of hard work
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was declined for further employment by IBM, and in my tiring search for future employment elsewhere, I decided to again pick up one of my so called habits again, and that was to read. While visiting Barnes & Noble, I fell upon this book! I have this on my list as a high priority to read thoroughly. I brisked through it, and am excited to read it in completion. Thank you for revealing this to us, Mr. Black. Here is a very good incident where America needs to wake up!! I cannot believe it, all these years, and never knowing, and now I wonder with real curiosity how much more is out there that we Americans do not know!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Our understanding of the Holocaust will never be the same after this book. Edwin Black writes passionately and with proof of IBM and Watson's twelve-year business relationship with Nazi Germany. That relationship ignored every newspaper headline and newsreel depicting the persectution and destruction of the Jews. Instead the company raced forward with punch card solutions that expedited the Reich's war against the Jews and against all of mankind. The fact that IBM refuses to rebut any of the assertions in this book only demonstrates how rock-solid the proof is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book brings to mind the old saying, 'The road to hell is paved with good intentions.' It opens your eyes and mind to realize that any invention, no matter how great, is a power. Just as fire, guns, and the atom were all designed with good intentions, without the proper controls these powers have caused as much destruction as they have done good. Reading this book will make you learn the importance of the question, 'Why?'.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reading Mr. Black's book, I was shocked as much by his revelations of IBM's voluntary complicity in the murder of six million Jews as the fact that in the hundreds of thousands of book on the Holocaust, this topic has never been mentioned.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mr. Black's gripping book uses IBM's own records to prove the case that the company collaborated with Adolf Hitler both in the destruction of the Jews and the conquest of Europe. Even after the war, IBM waged another struggle to recapture all its profits. The IBM empire of today was built on its black legacy of aiding and abetting genocide as well as aggression against all humanity. How can the company remain silent? Every MBA should read this book as a guide for future conduct. And they should watch IBM's actions today as a lesson in how not to respond.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Who ever worked with Hitler should roll over in thier grave if they heard about this book. Im in high school and the holocaust fascinates me. This book escalated my facination with the genocide of 6 million innocent people. Mr. Black has shed light on the evils of American corporation. This book should be read by every person at IBM. IBM should be shamed for making a deal with the devil to make a profit. Mr. Black has given us a insight into the greed and corruption of IBM then, and the makings of a deal that killed 6 million people. Infinite number of thumbs up for Mr. Black
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found IBM and the Holocaust a book I could not put down. IBM and its preisdent T. J. Watson understood everything their punch card solutions were doing for Germany's campaign of persecution and extermination. The documentation and the detail are compelling. The book reads like a thriller. Yet IBM remains silent about all the reveals.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading this well-documented and shocking tale of Big Blue's greed while millions of Jews were being persecuted and then slaughtered, I ask why it has taken so long for the story to be exposed? The author is to be commended for his detailed documentation showing how IBM created system after system for Germany designed to destroy Jewish people. This book is must reading for every student of the Holocaust, every employee of IBM, and every war crimes prosecutor. Is accessory to genocide on the books? It should be.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Edwin Black's IBM and the HOLOCAUST a must read for anyone interested in issues of morality, responsibility,and accountability in the world of business & technology and its global implications. The silence emanating from IBM headquarters worldwide and its PR spin doctors speak volumes to their guilt!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Edwin Black has constructed a powerful indictment of IBM's dealings with Hitler, an arrangement that clearly intensified the killing rate. As one who has read numerous Holocaust books--I find Black's book an extraordinary accomplishment on any level.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author and the book had the courage to take on the most powerful corporation of all time, unmasking its conscious involvement with the Hitler regime. I was gripped by the tense storyline and the detail as IBM willing provides Nazi Germany with darker and darker solutions. Clearly, it only begins with census. Eventually, even the Auschwitz tattoo was an IBM-compatible number. This book is a must for those who want to go beyond the atrocities and understand the bureaucratic solutions that made the Final Solution the efficient crime that it was.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Of late, my library has been richly enhanced with new works dealing with the Holocaust. Everything from 'Hitler's Willing Executioners' to 'The Witness' a poignant anthology of personal experiences, brings to the modern reader the overwhelming humanity / inhumanity of the attempted genocide. Some readers point to a single-sided slant presented by Mr. Black in his new book, 'IBM and the Holocaust.' I think, given he is the son of surviving victims and likely related to many murdered ones, we can let slide any bias presented. Mr. Black has put much at stake to take on one of the industries that has played an integral part in making America the power she is. If the mysteries of the Holocaust are of any importance, then this book provides a 'bay window' into the gear box of Nazi success in so quickly amassing 6 million people of basically a single ethnic group. Fifty-something years after the fact, this new title (copyright 2001) is on display in major bookstores all over the country. The ball has been squarely served onto IBM's court. We shall now see how IBM attempts to balance human morality and 'the bottom line.' Mr. Black has turned the attention of the world on one of America's most esteemed corporations. Who shoulders the most weight within IBM, Public Relations or Accounting? And how will that be presented to the world, as well as to millions of Edwin Black(s)--people who have felt every punch in Mr. Hollerith's cards?
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is the most important new work on the Nazi era in the last two decades. The book is even more significant for the questions it raises about what the purpose of a corporation is and should be, what role companies and governments should play in directing cutting edge technology, and the danger that misuses of advanced information technology bring to individuals. The core of the story is how a key IBM technology, the Hollerith-based card tabulating machines, became available for the Nazi war and Holocaust efforts. Although the details are murky (and may remain so), it is fairly clear that the use of this technology was sustained during the war years in part by shipments of customized (for each end user) tabulating cards from IBM in neutral countries for everything from blitzkriegs to slave camp scheduling to transportation to the death camps. There was not enough paper capacity to make the cards in Europe (that the Nazi and IBM records show were used), and there is no evidence that Nazis created substitutes for these essential supplies. As Mr. Black warns, 'This book will be profoundly uncomfortable to read.' I agree. My sleep will not be the same for some time after experiencing this powerful story. Mr. Black makes an even stronger statement. 'So if you intend to skim, or rely on selected sections, do not read the book at all.' I took him at his word, and did not even read the book quickly. I also arranged to read it in several sittings, so I could think about what I had read in between. I recommend that you do the same. The reason for my recommendation is that your thinking will change very fundamentally through reading the book. Having read dozens of books by fine historians about the Nazi period, and knowing a great deal about the history of data processing, I assumed that there would be little new to the story here. But the title intrigued me. By the fourth time I saw the book, I could no longer resist it. What I found inside the book surprised, shocked, and amazed me. First, many authors claim that it was not clear in the United States that Jews were losing their lives in Europe during the Nazi years until just before the end of the war. This book documents many articles that appeared in the New York Times that certainly seemed to be saying that this systematic killing was going on from very near the time when it began. Anyone w
Guest More than 1 year ago
An exceptional book!!! Hidden profits, endless patent infringement litigation, inappropriate dealings with government officials, and ultimate re-assimilation of subsidiaries and their blood-tainted earnings from blocked accounts all combine to portray a company that not only destroyed its competition, but actively assisted the Nazis in automating their establishments (census bureaus, railroads, SS offices, and concentration camps, to name a few) which colluded in the extermination of millions of Jews, gypsies, and social undesirables. Moreover, unlike such companies as Ford and Standard Oil that simply sold a product, IBM leased its Holleriths and had a vested interest in keeping the equipment functioning and the royalties flowing, providing the Nazis with on-site service and maintenance visits as well as specially-tailored punch card supplies via their Swiss and Swedish subsidiaries throughout much of the war. A must read for anyone who is interested in the tragic consequences that occur when corporate and national self-interest collide.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Edwin Black's IBM and the Holocaust is a meticulously researched indictment of corporate greed. His ability to synthesize scattered bits of data buried in archives and repositories on both sides of the Atlantic, and bring them into a unified focus, makes this masterful study a new standard for Holocaust scholarship. Indeed, this bone-chilling account, which reads like a murder mystery, has raised the bar for what will be expected in the future for this kind of research. This book's appearance is especially timely, given the current climate that both entertains Holocaust denial and yet delights in having more and more information about the complicity of major corporations in Nazi-era slave labor and the reluctance of Swiss banks to redress their patent profiteering of seized Jewish assets. This book will be a bane to those who persist in attempting to deny or minimize the horror of the Sho'ah. More significantly, it will be among the most important contributions to the search for truth about the abusive human rights record of IBM and other multinational corporations. IBM will be dogged by this book for as long as it remains a corporate presence. There may still be those who naively advocate an untrammeled free market system, who idealize a laissez-faire approach to business. No one who reads this book will ever be comfortable again with an economic system that revels in the myth of an invisible hand that guides the market with equity. IBM and the Holocaust constitutes a classic case study of corporate social irresponsibility, and reckless pursuit of profits with no regard for human consequences. Edwin Black has given us cause to speculate whether or not the most egregious war criminals were ever prosecuted. The evidence for all this is, of course, circumstantial. There is no smoking gun. Nevertheless, Edwin Black has amassed a formidable mountain of coherent evidence that argues convincingly for IBM's complicity in the Holocaust. This book begins in 1993, when the author took his parents on a tour of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. His parents were Holocaust survivors, and he wondered how it was that they were identified as Jews with such precision. The first exhibit was a Hollerith punch-card data processing machine, with an IBM label. Edwin Black pondered the connection between the powerful corporation and the destruction of millions of Jews. Since then, over 16 million people have visited the Holocaust Museum and seen the IBM machine there. Surely some have raised the same question: How could this prestigious corporation possibly be linked to such a heinous stain on human history? With empirical evidence, Edwin Black has supplied the answer. IBM and the Holocaust makes an empirical statement. Like all empirical statements, it has the qualities of verifiability and falsifiability. Edwin Black has made his case. It would seem that the burden of proof, in the form of any attempt at deniability, now lies with IBM.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As I sit and type this on my IBM computer, I cannot help but feel a little sad. However if I were to really thing about it, the things I buy everyday probably have some adverse effect on peoples lives. So I did not find this to be as troblesome to the soul as some may have, but it was a great historical detective work. Excellent Job!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a serious academic scholar of the Holocaust, I find that Black's book posts many potential problems for IBM. True, IBM was not at the Wannsee conference that organized the Final Solution, but the Hollerith machines did exist at the camps, with the German subsidiaries name printed on the electronic punchcard. At Mauthausen, they were called 'Haeftlingkarten', or prisoner cards. IBM main tried to buy out Dehomag because they were making money hand over fist, but that is not the crime. The crime exists when Dehomag WENT TO THE CAMPS TO SERVICE THE MACHINES AND DELIVER MORE PUNCHCARDS. There is no way not to know what is going on in a concentration camp that is fully operational. The stench of burning bodies is a bit difficult to miss. No, IBM is probably not criminally liable for participating in the murder of Jews and others, but like other companies that worked with the German government (such as Ford, Bayer, Krupp, Daimler-Benz and Volkswagen)that used forced labor they surely profited off of the treatment of enemies of the Reich. Yes, IBM knew what was going on, but they were making too much money, yet they didnt want to cause trouble with the Americans or the Nazis by saying something. It was simply convenient for them to continue to sell millions of punchcards to the German government, and not ask what they were used for, knowing fully well what they used them for when they saw the same cards when the technicians serviced the Hollerith machines at the camps. Black goes a bit far in trying to prove that IBM was a willing participant in the murder of the Jews. We can not look back and say that IBM knew what would happen when they introduced this technology. But they did produce it for the German government in fast order, and they chose to be silent when they found out what it was being used for....because it was financially worth it to be silent. IBM did not create the gun, but they created the better ammunition that helped to make a system of killing more efficient. If you doubt this, research IBM in Europe from 1900-present, as virtually every book that discusses it does not talk at all about the war years.....IBM has done well in wiping out that part of its history. Black has documented his information thoroughly, but IBM is not as guilty of murder, but they are accomplices to the crime. Oh, and by the way to the earlier reviewer that finds this a bit of a stretch that we cant blame Ford for drunk drivers....The OWNER of Ford kept a picture of Adolf Hitler on his desk, passed out copies of the anti-Semitic work The International Jew through his dealerships, and used forced labor at its German plants. IBM chose to work for Hitler, not the other way around.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great and shocking book. But what other companies were involved? It is widely know that Henry Ford was a virulent anti-Semite. Was there a Ford connection to the Nazis too? I don¿t know, but a visit to the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan shocked me. The Henry Ford Museum in Michigan displays some of the technology and history of the U.S. including that of the Ford Motor Company. One display consisted of an oven/kiln used to make Ford auto parts. When I saw the device, I immediately thought of the ovens in the nazi crematoriums. The Ford device was a dead ringer! It was shaped the same way, and one could slide a body right into it. ¿Very Creepy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Isnt is ever amazing how coincidences occur in this world that show there is something out there watching each and every move every one of us makes and how everything is somehow interconnected.. With all the hell that has existed and does exist in the world, the fact that THIS book is coming out now could not be more timely. If any US citizen truly cared what will be the future of all of us, they will play close attention to the contents of 'IBM and the Holocaust' and more importantly (but quite related to this book's general warning) what is CURRENTLY being discussed in Congress in relation to YOUR general/medical privacy laws, electronic privacy laws, and genetic testing and data---all affecting us as free human beings and citizens. You need to care and pay attention or noone will. This book serves notice. Just in the past week medical/personal record privacy, electronic privacy, and genetic privacy issues have been discussed in major national papers. This book should serve as great warning to the citizens of this country and others as to what could occur in our US and int'l societies-- and on a far bigger scale than what happenned in the 30's/40's as covered by this book. Too many think it cant happen. Ignorance, stupidity, and arrogance as well as lack of vigilance lead to mankind constantly repeating history over and over with evil, death, pain, sufferring and anguish affecting our world as a result. These days, with the incredible computers of today making the hellerith punch card system of IBM back then look like a Stoneman's pick---and with an ever so common corporate greed of many companies today, that will do anything at any cost for profit, monopolistic gain, or power (many of which make IBM of the past look like a walk in the park)--the combination should frighten us all to the bones. Mega-Computers of today, your very personal info, and corporations/gov't---as well as new genetic data as well ---the combination is not for a conspiracy theorist--it's reality folks. Look at the past for evil possibilities going back 6500 yrs. When you finish 'IBM and the Holocaust' and you are angry and shaking, ask yourself---who is trying to stop YOUR general, medical, electronic privacy laws from being enacted and to stop mandatory genetic testing and data gathering nightmarish futures that affects YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. And find out who are they lobbying in both the executive branch (your President)or in Congress? Become informed--this is not a party issue--this is a deadly serious issue for all. Read this impeccable book from Mr Black and understand it may be you, your family, or this world one day. And this is coming from a very cynical person who is not impressed with the voracity or documentation of most books. This guy did it all and checkmated them with his research of incredible depth. And dont be too arrogant to think the unimaginable cant happen. Take a close look at the world around you and answer that question. Isnt is amazing how documents suddenly appear, people come across certain things 50 yrs later, and people start talking about things near the very end of their life that they kept in for so long. There's a reason this revolting. appalling example of human and corporate evil, immorality and corruption that got buried for 50 years all of a sudden got exhumed at conveniently the same time our country is grappling with the biggest citizen privacy law and electronic privacy battle in history. Because a lot is at stake folks and we need to wake up. Today, people (YOU, YOUR PARENTS,YOUR CHILDREN) and their freedom and rights are pitted vs profit, corporations, insurance companies, banks, internet companies, the gov't etc. Things happen for a reason and there's something out there watching every move we make. This book appearing now is a godsend if only there are people smart enough to understand it, and act on it. Hoepfully we won't be stupid again. Buy this book and more importantly call your Congressman and your Presi
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book answered a question I don't think many of us have ever considered: how exactly did Hitler round up so many Jews, so quickly and efficiently? It turns out he went to the 'Solution Company'--IBM--to create, customize, and maintain machines that made the job infinitely easier. Since I finished reading IBM and the Holocaust, I've been walking around in a bit of a daze--it's as if I've been punched in the stomach. Corporate greed is an accepted fact of life in America, but Ed Black proves here that Watson, the head of IBM, absolutely knew what his machines were being used for--the tracking, deportation, and murder of millions of jews and other 'undesirables.' Not only did he know, but he also went to some lengths to hide IBM's continued business dealings with the Nazis after the US joined the war, when it was illegal for US companies to have business ties to Nazi Germany. It's truly frightening to read this book, both for the irrefutable, black-and-white proof that all Americans weren't necessarily the good guys, and for the notion that as technology becomes ever more refined, such a thing could happen on an even larger scale today. I urge you to read it.
bensbec More than 1 year ago
IBM and the Holocaust, written by Edwin Black, author of Nazi Nexus, The Farhud, and many other books about the Holocaust, the Nazis, Hitler and the Third Reich, is a deeply researched and terrifying revelation of the technology IBM employed using the Hollerith punched card machine, and how the Nazis used it to keep track of, and murder six million Jews. This books tells in frightening detail of how the Hollerith machine enabled the Nazis to achieve the efficiency they demanded both in its rearmament program and its war against the Jews. Black shows how IBM and its CEO, Thomas J. Watson, walked away from the war much richer and without consequence for providing the Nazis with the way to track down each and every Jew, deport them on trains that ran on time, thanks to IBM technology, and deliver them straight to the crematoriums by the millions. Being the head of a major corporation, Watson saw himself as just a business man fulfilling a demand of his product, along everything that went with it, to a customer, who just happened to be Hitler and the Third Reich. He considered himself above any laws or even any moral standards and obligations when he aided the enemy that the U.S. was at war with, and who was annihilating every Jew in Europe. Watson, like Henry Ford and others, received the Merit Cross of the German Eagle from Hitler for their help. For Watson, it was not about anti-Semetism, as with Ford, but for him, it was all about money and nothing else. Edwin Black has spent his life researching the Holocaust, and IBM is a horrifying example of a U.S. corporation getting rich from dealing with an enemy of our country, and not having to pay the consequences, unlike others who were involved in the Holocaust and were brought to trial for their crimes against humanity and the Jews. IBM's technology is even now able to keep track of each and every one of us, knowing more about us than we do ourselves, and if they were able to do what they did back then, what are they capable of now?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ccsemick More than 1 year ago
My Hands Shake as I Read This Book I'm only a few chapters into this incredible tome, but I am so impressed with how thorough each sentence was researched and cited. I can't read too long at a time, though, because I still can't get my head around how punch cards were used to identify "undesirables" for extermination. I used to play with punch cards when I was kid--my mother brought them home from work as scrap paper and I was so intrigued by them. Now I will never think of punch cards again without this heinous picture of how they were used to slaughter innocents. Bravo to the Edwin Black's bravery to pursue this investigation and to his parents for their bravery to survive the Nazi hell! Death could not keep them in the grave!
cbeach0 More than 1 year ago
I originally read an excerpt of this book in Friedman's 'Secret Histories' about a year ago, and I was blown away. This is one of those books that everyone should read if they're up to it. I think some people would like to stay in la-la land about subjects like this, but if you've ever been interested in alternative history that hasn't been generalized into a meta-narrative...here ya go. I'd also recommend Friedman's 'Secret Histories' for more excerpts and books to look into.