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

4.8 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio; MP3 - Unabridged CD edition (March 28 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452651655
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452651651
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.5 x 18.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 100 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #251,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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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.


"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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By A Customer on Aug. 3 1997
Format: Paperback
I am astonished by the comments 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 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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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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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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This book should be read by every highschool student, but unfortunately even our most celebrated members of society (congressmen, presidents, newscasters, opinion makers) have probably never read it. If they did they might see a little (or a lot) of themselves in Eichmann. But probably not because one of Eichmann's fatal flaws was a complete lack of introspection; a huge blind spot which is no doubt shared by many of our present day pundits.
When Arendt first saw Eichmann he struck her more as a clown than a monster. He thought in cliches, seemingly unable to have an original thought outside what was programed in him from party indoctrination (remind you of any of todays pols?). He was able to do his job good (coordinating trains and working with local officials) but he was unable to really think clearly or with any depth (though he did quote Kant which is no doubt more than what todays Bozos can do). He was just a career cog going thru his pathetic, self-absorbed motions - In the 90's he'd have been a real shining star at Enron.
These days we're constantly exposed to all the dogmatic posturing about "how it'll never happen again" (especially not in Europe) and yet it DID happen again between 91 and 95 in Bosnia (quarter of a million murders) while the Western world stood blindly by and the leader of the western world occupied himself with oval office "cigar parties"
And if you don't think morality can be relative consider this: Iran was the only country to act with resolve by shipping the Bosnians arms during those years. Now Iran is part of the "Evil axis"
In our lifelong quest to reconcile with evil, be it banal or absolute, and to understand the human condition, this book is a must...
Best of luck
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