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FINAL SOLUTION

THE FATE OF THE JEWS 1933-1949

A highly learned but problematic examination of Nazi decision-making.

In a sweeping historical reappraisal, Cesarani (Disraeli, 2016, etc.), who died in 2015, asserts that the Nazi extermination of Jews was not inevitable but rather a consequence of Germany’s military losses.

What the Nazis wanted was to rid Europe of Jews through “a combination of forced emigration and expulsion” to a conquered territory: Poland, French-controlled Madagascar, or Siberia. Only when Germany suffered military failures did rampant, virulent anti-Semitism result in a plan to kill Jews. That plan was abetted by “local populations” eager to lay their hands on Jewish property and possessions in economically “straitened, uncertain” times. “Greed not anti-Semitism motivated many people to align themselves with the German occupiers,” writes Cesarani, who claims that Hitler was not made chancellor due to anti-Semitism, although “it was essential to the core activists of the Nazi party.” The author follows Nazi policy before and during the war to reveal confusion, within Germany and among the international community, about Hitler’s “domestic policy, the economy, and international relations.” Before the full-blown war, Nazi degradation and intimidation of Jews, including pogroms, made the front pages of American and British newspapers, but those nations held back from offering visas for Jews, which would have afforded refuge. Cesarani insists many pogroms were spontaneous, “ill thought out and counterproductive,” resulting “in a backlash at home and abroad.” When civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois visited Germany in 1935, he wrote publicly that Nazi racism against Jews “surpasses in vindictive cruelty and public insult anything I have ever seen; and I have seen much.” In 1939, Hitler predicted that a world war would result in “the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe,” but Cesarani insists this rhetoric did not result in a plan for death camps until much later. When mass killings became government policy, they were crude and haphazard, countering the myth of “genocidal technology.” Cesarani’s overwhelming evidence of brutality makes this book unbearably painful to read and makes his analysis hard to accept. Even before an official plan, Hitler’s anti-Semitic rants inspired his army and his nation.

A highly learned but problematic examination of Nazi decision-making.

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-00083-5

Page Count: 992

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Awards & Accolades

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


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Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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NIGHT

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

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