|About the Book|
I was really disappointed with this book. Granted, this is a hard topic to tackle, simply due to the magnitude of victims, and the extent of brutality- however, the author really did not, in my opinion, do justice to his subject.Strangely, the author slams every conceivable population for their part in the Holocaust - I never thought Id read a book where the pope appeared more anti-Semitic than Hitler, but so it was. The Jewish community also gets a good heaping helping of blame in this book, which is just ridiculous. Not only were the authors arguments on this point extremely facile (The Pope didnt say anything, so he was secretly in cahoots with the Nazis- the Jewish community didnt organize any huge resistance, so they cooperated in their ultimate demise), but they did not take into account many of the important factors of the time (German post-WWI mentality, reluctance of the other European nations to get into another war, etc.). Many arguments from other historians are dismissed out of hand, while documents from the Nazi party are used as the sole reference for some conclusions.I was also reminded of the infamous quote, One death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic. Though the author did include some eyewitness accounts (mainly diary entries), these did not assuage the feeling that I was reading through a list of numbers. Again, I know this is a VERY hard thing to do in regards to the Holocaust, due simply to the sheer number of victims- however, perhaps if the book had been written in a less clinical tone throughout, it might have helped.To end on a more positive note, I appreciated that Friedlaender included the original German and Italian texts of some passages- granted, I couldnt understand all of them, but it was nice to get a sense of the original statements, if that makes sense. It also seemed to be a very well-researched book.My advice: stick with The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and with the accounts of people who actually lived through the atrocity (Elie Wiesel is an amazing author, and Night gives a much better account of the concentration and extermination camps than this book did).