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Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil [Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged] [MP3 CD]

Hannah Arendt , Wanda McCaddon
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 28 2011
Sparking a flurry of heated debate, Hannah Arendt's authoritative and stunning report on the trial of German Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann first appeared as a series of articles in the New Yorker in 1963. This revised edition includes material that came to light after the trial, as well as Arendt's postscript directly addressing the controversy that arose over her account. A major journalistic triumph by an intellectual of singular influence, Eichmann in Jerusalem is as shocking as it is informative—an unflinching look at one of the most unsettling (and unsettled) issues of the twentieth century.

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While living in Argentina in 1960, Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann was kidnapped and smuggled to Israel where he was put on trial for crimes against humanity. The New Yorker magazine sent Hannah Arendt to cover the trial. While covering the technical aspects of the trial, Arendt also explored the wider themes inherent in the trial, such as the nature of justice, the behavior of the Jewish leadership during the Nazi Régime, and, most controversially, the nature of Evil itself.

Far from being evil incarnate, as the prosecution painted Eichmann, Arendt maintains that he was an average man, a petty bureaucrat interested only in furthering his career, and the evil he did came from the seductive power of the totalitarian state and an unthinking adherence to the Nazi cause. Indeed, Eichmann's only defense during the trial was "I was just following orders."

Arendt's analysis of the seductive nature of evil is a disturbing one. We would like to think that anyone who would perpetrate such horror on the world is different from us, and that such atrocities are rarities in our world. But the history of groups such as the Jews, Kurds, Bosnians, and Native Americans, to name but a few, seems to suggest that such evil is all too commonplace. In revealing Eichmann as the pedestrian little man that he was, Arendt shows us that the veneer of civilization is a thin one indeed. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Narrator Wanda McCaddon brings a cultured British slant to the narrative, sometimes gently delivering various European accents while moving forward calmly and rationally." ---AudioFile

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blatant Misrepresentation Aug. 3 1997
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I am astonished by the comments Amazon.com includes under *Eichmann in Jerusalem*: to characterize Arendt's book as a "defense" of Eichmann is either a deliberate falsehood or a comment written by someone who has never read the book. I assume the comment was written on the basis of Michael Musmanno's incompetent review of *Eichmann* for the *New York Times*. Musmanno's review blatantly misrepresented Arendt's work, and I would expect Amazon.com to be able to do better.

Far from "defending" Eichmann, Arendt portrays him as a willing participant in mass murder, and, in her Epilogue, she strongly agrees with the death sentence that he received. The myth of Arendt's "defense" of Eichmann is a result of her belief that Eichmann was motivated more by immersion in the totalitarian "system" of Nazi Germany than by hatred of Jews. In no way does she excuse him or the Germans, and, indeed, she argues that complicity in the Holocaust was ubiquitous in Germany. Her thesis is certainly open to debate, but to suggest that this brave and decent thinker sought for a moment to defend Eichmann or the Nazis is outrageous. Her book remains one of the most thought-provoking studies of the perpetrators of the Holocaust ever written.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy of Its Popularity April 1 2003
Format:Paperback
Before there was the O.J. Simpson double homicide trial there was the Eichmann trial. Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil provides insight into one of the most publicized "show trials" ever. After the Nuremberg trial hundreds of Nazis were still in hiding or had taken assumed identities outside of Europe. Adolph Eichmann was one of these individuals. The Israeli Mossad kidnapped him and brought him back to Israel to stand trial for "crimes against humanity" for his role in the Holocaust. Eichmann was abducted in Argentina where he was struggling with his anonymity. Eichmann hated losing his identity as a powerful Nazi. After being kidnapped, but before being flown to Israel Eichmann was asked to consent to being brought up on charges against humanity, which he did. Eichmann may have had a difficult time living without his former social standing and identity.
Arendt's book is a landmark in the workings of the Nazi machine that tortured, raped, and killed over 11 million Europeans for their religion, sexual orientation, political ideas, and nationality. However, the Eichmann trial centers more on the role Eichmann had in the "Final Solution" to the Jewish Question. Eichmann was charged with being a key player in the destruction and eradication of European Jewry.
The book and Arendt's theory regarding "the banality of evil" has created controversy since its inception in 1963. In 1963 Arendt was sent to Jerusalem to follow the Eichmann trial for The New Yorker. She published a series of articles over the course of the trial. It is often remarked by critics of the book that Arendt was not present for even half of the trial, yet the book is considered one of the principal books on the trial, if not the primary.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy High Reviews April 1 2003
Format:Paperback
Trial of the Century
Before there was the O.J. Simpson double homicide trial there was the Eichmann trial. Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil provides insight into one of the most publicized "show trials" ever. After the Nuremberg trial hundreds of Nazis were still in hiding or had taken assumed identities outside of Europe. Adolph Eichmann was one of these individuals. The Israeli Mossad kidnapped him and brought him back to Israel to stand trial for "crimes against humanity" for his role in the Holocaust. Eichmann was abducted in Argentina where he was struggling with his anonymity. Eichmann hated losing his identity as a powerful Nazi. After being kidnapped, but before being flown to Israel Eichmann was asked to consent to being brought up on charges against humanity, which he did. Eichmann may have had a difficult time living without his former social standing and identity.
Arendt's book is a landmark in the workings of the Nazi machine that tortured, raped, and killed over 11 million Europeans for their religion, sexual orientation, political ideas, and nationality. However, the Eichmann trial centers more on the role Eichmann had in the "Final Solution" to the Jewish Question. Eichmann was charged with being a key player in the destruction and eradication of European Jewry.
The book and Arendt's theory regarding "the banality of evil" has created controversy since its inception in 1963. In 1963 Arendt was sent to Jerusalem to follow the Eichmann trial for The New Yorker. She published a series of articles over the course of the trial. It is often remarked by critics of the book that Arendt was not present for even half of the trial, yet the book is considered one of the principal books on the trial, if not the primary.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Explains the True Horrror of the Third Reich July 28 2002
Format:Paperback
Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil by Hannah Arendt is one of the most disturbing books that I have read in a long while. Along with Gita Sereny's interviews with Stangle and Speer, they demonstrate the true horror of the Third Reich. This horror is not the inherent evil of Hitler or Himmler or the sadistic camp guards. The holocaust presented these already morally bankrupt men with the opportunity to commit the evil which their consciences allowed. Of greater horror are the individuals, such as Eichmann, who were not evil per se, but who were willing to put conscience aside in order to advance within an evil system.
As Arendt moves through the holocaust in the different countries in Western Europe and the Balkans, it becomes evident that the difference in degrees of the destruction of Jewry was not defined by the presence of potentially evil wrongdoers, but by the existence of individuals who would not put their conscience aside in order to further short-term goals. The contrast between the destruction of German Jews and the survival of the Jews of Bulgaria and Denmark can be directly traced to a commitment by the Bulgarians and Danes to save their fellow countrymen. The German Jews did not survive as the Danish and Bulgarian Jews did because Germany lacked such men of conscience.
It is easier to think of the chief architects and perpetrators of the attempted destruction of a whole people as madmen, the madder the better. Their acts can be rightfully condemned, but also understood, as evil things done by evil people. Furthermore, if the holocaust can be blamed on the acts of evil madmen, then it is also easier to believe that it could not have been prevented.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional book
A controversial book but an amazing one. I read it in conjunction with a much newer book "The EichmannTrial" by Deborah Lipstadt which helps put the whole controversy in... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Elaine Geddes
5.0 out of 5 stars a book everyone should read
an in depth understanding into nazi ideology; i recommend having read something like the Nuremberg trials, and have a good historical understanding of the period before getting... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Salar
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
One of the greatest books I have ever read. After taking a Holocaust course , no book compared to this on its information, Ms. Read more
Published on July 3 2005
5.0 out of 5 stars monsters and clowns
This book should be read by every highschool student, but unfortunately even our most celebrated members of society (congressmen, presidents, newscasters, opinion makers) have... Read more
Published on March 8 2002 by alex jager
5.0 out of 5 stars HOW COULD IT HAPPEN ?
A lot has been written and said about the Holocaust. This small book by a respected philosopher about the trial of Eichmann in Jerusalem is the largest and most thought provoking... Read more
Published on Feb. 5 2002 by Luciano Lupini
5.0 out of 5 stars The Banality of Evil
Hannah Arendt's book is a powerful and disturbing account of the trial of Adolf Eichmann, and the subtitle, A Report on the Banality of Evil, couldn't be more apt. According to Ms. Read more
Published on Dec 18 2001 by "badric"
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and revealing
Over the last 15 years, I have often come across references to Hannah Arendt when reading about the Holocaust, but only recently did I read "Eichmann in Jerusalem". Read more
Published on Aug. 21 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars A long respect
I first read this book 20+ years ago in my senior year of college, in a political theory seminar on Arendt, and have re-read it from time to time ever since. Read more
Published on July 24 2001 by Annie
3.0 out of 5 stars A forest without trees
I finished reading this book and sat back, totally baffled. On the one hand, the words are gorgeous. It "feels" like it's intelligent, like the author is a great thinker. Read more
Published on Jan. 3 2001 by "innocents"
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book Which Will And Should Disturb You
As a world looking back at the last century while facing into the next this piece of work should be read and re-read as a text which challenges us to face the potential excess's of... Read more
Published on Nov. 10 2000 by Mr Pat Hynes
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