THE HOLOCAUST: A History of the Jews of Europe during the Second World War by Martin Gilbert
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THE HOLOCAUST: A History of the Jews of Europe during the Second World War

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An unusual, highly readable overview. New histories of the Holocaust can do more than recapitulate the familiar in new ways. They can find their own angle, and they can make their own unique contribution. For Gilbert, Holocaust history is to be seen from the bottom up. He does not just narrate history from the point of view of an objective historian. Virtually every historical episode is rendered more real, sometimes in a frightening and sometimes in a painfully sad way, by including testimonies of survivors who were witnesses. This technique, in which the survivors speak for the dead, is in and of itself an enormously provocative way of blending form and function. Gilbert, Winston Churchill's official biographer, has written before on the Holocaust and other periods of Jewish history. But this is his best book, because it succeeds at so many levels. He aimed to restore dignity to the victims, a dignity that was all many had to resist with and therefore precisely what the Nazis wished to destroy. This he has done as we hear the stories of the dead told by those who were there. The whole area of resistance is treated in significant detail. What emerges is a sometimes jarring juxtaposition of tale and history, a book replete with bravery and self-sacrifice and love. This long book merits careful reading, reading that will be emotionally overwhelming at times.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1985
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston