A compact and cogent academic account of the Holocaust.



In less than 250 pages, a prolific scholar takes on the intractably difficult themes of the Holocaust.

Historiographer Black (History/Univ. of Exeter; Geopolitics and the Quest for Dominance, 2015, etc.) generally attempts to avoid emotion, “an abstraction that means smashing living babies’ skulls against walls,” in writing about ultimately incomprehensible genocide. Rather, writing in a scholarly tone, he recounts the genesis and the largely effective policy of Jewish extermination, which was the prime tenet of Nazi ideology. He touches on such matters as the Wannsee Conference and the effort to make Europe Judenfrei in a Final Solution. However, not all Jews died in the camps; millions were simply shot in the streets and fields of Europe, exterminated by the Einsatzgruppen, the mobile killing units, and others, many of whom kept extensive records even before such murder was industrialized. Black dismisses as implausible the claim of ignorance by the German population, who, at the time, had widespread information. The Allied forces, including the United States, did not consider the Final Solution a primary target of the war. In such a short book, the author covers a remarkable amount of well-documented material. Certainly, there must remain much that is unreported in his summary of events that led to the deaths of 6 million Jews, and there will be many readers to remember what is missing from his wide-ranging presentation. What is of particular note, along with the review of the anti-Semitic activities of Hitler’s allies and conquests, is the memorialization of the Holocaust around the world both after the war and today. Black is especially astute in his consideration of the current rise of anti-Semitism in Europe and the Middle East as well as the facile tendency to label diverse events as Holocausts.

A compact and cogent academic account of the Holocaust.

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-253-02204-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Indiana Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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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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Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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