THE HOLOCAUST AND HISTORY

THE KNOWN, THE UNKNOWN, THE DISPUTED, AND THE REEXAMINED

A huge and hugely significant collection of much of the best Holocaust scholarship to appear in the last half-century. This immense, one-volume tome is published in association with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, where editor Berenbaum was formerly director of the Research Institute. Assisting him is Abraham Peck, the executive director of Houston’s Holocaust Museum and the editor of two volumes in the series Archives of the Holocaust. Researchers of this controversial event argue here over the timing of the Nazi decision to commit genocide (Martin Broszat vs. Eberhard Jackel), the reasons why it happened, how unique the Holocaust was (Yehuda Bauer), and how ordinary the killers were (Gordon J. Horwitz and Daniel Jonah Goldhagen). Nazi policy was carried out differently in each country; thus, scholars examine the cases of victims, survivors, and perpetrators in Britain (Louise London), France (Susan S. Zuccotti), Hungary (Paul A. Levine and Randolph L. Braham), Italy (Meir Michaelis), Romania (Jean Ancel), and even Turkey (Mark Epstein). Despite the words —disputed and reexamined— in the subtitle, the extent of the victim count isn—t questioned, nor are Holocaust deniers given a forum. However, the collection tolerates adamant differences of opinion and controversial theories, such as Gerhard L. Weinberg’s defense of London’s closing of Palestine to Jewish refugees and his contention that only “a tiny number” of Jews would have been rescued had the Western Allies bombed the gas chambers. The complexities of Holocaust survivors are well covered by Marjorie Allard, Dori Laub, Dalia Ofer, and Dina Porat. Non-Jewish victims and rescuers of the Holocaust are also well represented. With this one weighty volume of 54 chapters (and extensive notes), a reader can learn how far Holocaust scholarship has progressed and what areas will be discussed for generations to come.

Pub Date: June 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-253-33374-1

Page Count: 1024

Publisher: Indiana Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1998

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

NIGHT

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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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

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

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