In a work that is as authoritative as it is explosive, Goldhagen forces us to revisit and reconsider our understanding of the Holocaust and its perpetrators, demanding a fundamental revision in our thinking of the years between 1933-1945. Drawing principally on materials either unexplored or neglected by previous scholars, Goldhagen marshals new, disquieting primary evidence that explains why, when Hitler conceived of the "final solution" he was able to enlist vast numbers of willing Germans to carry it out. A book sure to provoke new discussion and intense debate.
Goldhagen's gripping and shocking landmark study transforms our understanding of the Holocaust. Refuting the widespread notion that those who carried out the genocide of Jews were primarily SS men or Nazi party members, he demonstrates that the perpetrators?those who staffed and oversaw the concentration camps, slave labor camps, genocidal army units, police battalions, ghettos, death marches?were, for the most part, ordinary German men and women: merchants, civil servants, academics, farmers, students, managers, skilled and unskilled workers. Rejecting the conventional view that the killers were slavishly carrying out orders under coercion, Goldhagen, assistant professor of government at Harvard, uses hitherto untapped primary sources, including the testimonies of the perpetrators themselves, to show that they killed Jews willingly, approvingly, even zealously. Hitler's genocidal program of a "Final Solution" found ready accomplices in these ordinary Germans who, as Goldhagen persuasively argues, had absorbed a virulent, "eliminationist" anti-Semitism, prevalent as far back as the 18th century, which demonized the Jews and called for their expulsion or physical annihilation. Furthermore, his research reveals that a large proportion of the killers were told by their commanders that they could disobey orders to kill, without fear of retribution?yet they slaughtered Jews anyway. By his careful estimate, hundreds of thousands of Germans were directly involved in the mass murder, and millions more knew of the ongoing genocide. Among the 30 photographs are snapshots taken by the murderers of themselves and their victims.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A very informative book. A better title for the tome would have been "Socialism's Willing Executioners : Ordinary socialists and the Wholecost. Read morePublished on April 9 2007 by Institute for Journalism
this book was hightly recommended but not worthy of it. Dont buy it, its a horrible read, even for those hard-core holocaust researchers. It is bland and bias. Read morePublished on March 12 2005
I read many of the reviews of the Goldhagen book and I am amazed at how evident people's prejudices and political views are in their opinion of it. Read morePublished on July 17 2004
I suspect that the many detractors of this book have not really read it, at least not all of it, based on their misinformed and ad hominem attacks on the author. Read morePublished on June 25 2004 by Michael Leone
Some of the previous reviewers of this book seem to be highly upset that the author didn't include an analysis of other nation's histories of race and politically based genocide. Read morePublished on June 15 2004 by PJM
I've read a lot about WW2 and the Nazis so it was not hard to pick up and purchase this book. Unfortunatley, this is not a thoughtful book. Read morePublished on June 3 2004 by tierny
The author leaves the reader to believe that mass attrocity on this scale could only be orchestrated by the Germans because of their national character, history, demographics and... Read morePublished on May 5 2004 by Charles Henley
If this were written for any other culture people would be more up in arms. But since we are so open to painting all Germans as evil inhuman creatures, than books like this exist... Read morePublished on March 4 2004 by Sylo
"Socialism's Willing Executioners : Ordinary socialists and the Wholecaust" would be a better title. Read morePublished on Feb. 7 2004 by Rex Curry