Even if those whom it is meant to sway will likely reject it out of hand, students of the Nazi era will find Longerich’s...

THE UNWRITTEN ORDER

HITLER’S ROLE IN THE FINAL SOLUTION

Breaking news, at least of a kind: Adolf Hitler played a central role in the Holocaust.

There seems little surprising in that thesis, which is apparently self-evident. But it is not: because Hitler took great care not to issue instructions or to specify procedures in writing, documentary evidence linking Hitler to mass murder is scarce; thus Holocaust deniers have argued that the enormity was the doing of misguided lieutenants, and not of the Führer. British historian Longerich drafted this work as expert testimony for the defense in the 1997 libel suit brought by one such apologist, David Irving, against Deborah Lipstadt, author of Denying the Holocaust. His argument provides beyond-reasonable-doubt evidence that Hitler’s political career was bracketed, from start to finish, by deep-seated bloodlust against the Jews, “a murderous intention that was expressed over and over again, internally and in public speeches, by the leader of the Nazi Party, the head of state and commander of the armed forces,” and that Hitler saw to it that his intentions were made real. Though many hands were required to effect the Nazi program of genocide, and though German anti-Semitism had deep roots, Hitler took the guiding role in shaping every phase of the regime’s anti-Jewish policies and actions, rejecting programs that originated with others within the Reich, such as Heinrich Himmler’s proposal to resettle European Jews in Madagascar, prefaced with modest words of dissent to the effect that Himmler had dismissed “Bolshevist methods for the physical extirpation of a people as un-German and impossible.” Hitler had no such scruples, Longerich demonstrates, and though direct orders have yet to be found, the fact that “Hitler had expressed himself in the most drastic manner imaginable about the ‘solution’ to the Jewish question” means that Nazi responsibility for the crime cannot be separated from the will of the Nazis’ supreme leader.

Even if those whom it is meant to sway will likely reject it out of hand, students of the Nazi era will find Longerich’s work of much value.

Pub Date: June 15, 2004

ISBN: 0-7524-2564-1

Page Count: 255

Publisher: Tempus/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2004

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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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