A diligent, sometimes-laborious study of the necessity and uses of Holocaust tourism.




An academic study of the nascent discipline of “Holocaust tourism.”

To conduct his research, Reynolds (Modern Languages/Grinnell Coll.) visited the sites once devoted to the destruction of all European Jews and others who were offensive to the Nazi regime, traveling to the museums, monuments, and attractions dedicated to the millions murdered by the Third Reich. He joined the crowds that arrive at the archetypal death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, which “saw records attendance in 2016, receiving more than two million visitors from all over the world”—and where visitors can purchase postcards that showcase evidence of the atrocities that occurred so many decades ago. “What remains to be seen,” writes the author, “is whether these visitors take any lessons with them after they leave.” Reynolds also journeyed to Majdanek, Sobibór, and Treblinka and toured the monuments in Warsaw, Poland, where law now forbids any hint of Polish culpability in Nazi crimes. In Berlin, the author went to the House of the Wannsee Conference and explores the latest “countermonuments.” His tour continued at the prodigious Yad Vashem complex in Jerusalem, and the last stop was the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., where some observers have found cause for concern about the Americanization of the Holocaust. The author’s astute text does not invite a cursory reading; his penchant for academic prose and prolixity will appeal primarily to scholars. Throughout, the author depicts a graphic journey of discovery that reveals bits of kitsch and many troubling questions: Do Holocaust tourists come as casual sightseers or as pilgrims? Where is evidence, in those dedicated places, of redemption? Soon there will be no survivors of the Holocaust; what will the places, monuments, and museums tell future generations? Unlike Tim Cole in his 1999 book Selling the Holocaust, Reynolds remains sanguine about the efficacy of Holocaust tourism.    

A diligent, sometimes-laborious study of the necessity and uses of Holocaust tourism.

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4798-6043-2

Page Count: 336

Publisher: New York Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet