: War, Peace and the Making of Modernity
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A controversial reexamination of the Nuremberg Trial.

As Turley mentions in the “About the Author” section, German law states that “whoever publicly or in a meeting approves of, denies or renders harmless an act committed under the rule of National Socialism...shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than five years or a fine.” The guiding force behind his observations into the Nuremberg Trial is the idea that this law is unjust, and that every historical event–including the Holocaust and other aspects of Nazi rule–should be open to evaluation and review. So Turley scours the Nuremberg Trial for instances of bias, improper legal procedure and other courtroom shenanigans. The reader is likely to note that the Nuremberg Trial was not absolutely fair and unbiased–Turley is probably correct to say that it was not. However, most readers will be impressed that the reviled losers of a world war waged out of aggression should receive a trial and a chance to defend themselves at all. The author begins by summarizing the overall structure of the trial and then devotes chapters to the defendants, reviewing their testimony and the injustices he sees in how their cases were handled. The last few chapters contain Turley’s broader insights into the trial and its impact on the modern world, and it is here that he will likely lose most of his readers–if he has not done so already. At some point, after the Nazi’s heinous acts have receded deeper into the past, it might be possible to offer the extraordinarily generous benefit of the doubt that the author offers these men, without appearing to lessen the magnitude of their crimes. Until then, Turley’s book will likely find itself on the shelf next to some very unsavory works, most of which are certainly illegal in Germany.

Scholarly and well written, but incendiary and potentially offensive.

Pub Date: Sept. 27th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-9559810-0-5
Program: Kirkus Indie
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