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    by Albert Speer
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 April, 1997)
    list price: $18.00 -- our price: $12.24
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    Editorial Review

    From 1946 to 1966, while serving the prison sentence handed down from the Nuremburg War Crimes tribunal, Albert Speer penned 1,200 manuscript pages of personal memoirs. Titled Erinnerungen ("Recollections") upon their 1969 publication in German, Speer's critically acclaimed personal history was translated into English and published one year later as Inside the Third Reich. Long after their initial publication, Speer's memoir continues to provide one of the most detailed and fascinating portrayals of life within Hitler's inner circles, the rise and fall of the third German empire, and of Hitler himself.

    Speer chronicles his entire life, but the majority of Inside the Third Reich focuses on the years between 1933 and 1945, when Speer figured prominently in Hitler's government and the German war effort as Inspector General of Buildings for the Renovation of the Federal Capital and later as Minister of Arms and Munitions. Speer's recollections of both duties foreground the impossibility of reconciling Hitler's idealistic, imperialistic ambitions with both architectural and military reality. Throughout, Inside the Third Reich remains true to its author's intentions. With compelling insight, Speer reveals many of the "premises which almost inevitably led to the disasters" of the Third Reich as well as "what comes from one man's holding unrestricted power in his hands." -- Bertina Loeffler ... Read more

    Reviews (60)

    5-0 out of 5 stars As good an autobiography as can be expected
    As a near autobiography written by a man sitting in a prison cell with a lot of time to think about things, the faults of this book are predictable. If we have any appreciation of human failings, it is unreasonable of us to expect complete honesty and objectivity from a man seeking for himself some understanding re the events he was both caught up in and partly responsible for. Bear this in mind, and many of the failings commonly associated with this book will be of little bother to you. We can no more expect Speer to be 100 per cent honest and accurate about his own life than we can expect ourselves to be honest and accurate about our own.

    Naturally, then, when we read an autobiography, we read it for something other than historical objectivity. We want to glimpse events from the author's own eyes, and we hope that perhaps if we read carefully between the lines we will see something of the author that he or she wouldn't have consciously revealed to us. In the case of a man associated with the worst evil in history, we won't tolerate denial or excuses, but we can't expect much more than impersonal details and quiet humility. When I read this book, I was satisfied on these points. He denied little, he never explicitly offered reasons or excuses, and he seldom tried to disassociate himself from events.

    So, having addressed these predictable weaknesses, I can now offer the book some praise. It is very well-written and engaging, it is fascinating from a historical perspective, and it is most interesting to read a book on the Nazis written by a man who had been one of the most powerful Nazis of all. If this later point is your reason for reading this book, then you won't be disappointed. How many times in history has someone from so high up in the enemy's hierarchy survived with the writing skills to give us such a thorough look from the inside? From this perspective, we are exceptionally lucky to have this book. Speer may have omitted various points, and he might have been wrong at times, but these failings will be unobtrusive to most people baring the experts, and little can compare with a book that was written by a guy who in many ways was and will forever remain more expert than anyone who was not, like himself, so completely part of it. The book was remarkable for its personal insights on Hitler and much of his entourage. It was also intriguing for Speer's account of his own doings and concerns throughout his story. (In reference to the Allied bombing effort on German cities and munitions' factories, it was something to learn that Speer, as Armaments' Minister, worried more about the problems that raids on humble ball-bearings' factories would cause. Such raids, which never came, may have been decisive given the all-round necessity of these forgotten pearls.) The book is for anyone interested in WWII, and it remains a valued part of my book collection.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Be a fly on the wall in Nazi Germany
    This is a brilliant record of history. By reading this cathartic memoir written by Speer you get the chance to immerse yourself into his candid thoughts, selfish motives, but contrite tone, and walk away with a real understanding of the inner circle of the Nazi government. You are transported back in time to the inner sanctum of the political apparatus. Learn the behavior of Hitler and his generals by having tea with them, you have a front row seat through the eyes of Speer, as if you are there during the daily activities. To fully appreciate the tome of detailed information the reader would benefit most if they already have a good knowledge of WWII, but it is not necessary. Granted, all memoirs have the inherent risk of being self-serving, but that applies to all writers, of all countries, of all epochs.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Best Insider History of the Third Reich
    Albert Speer's "Inside the Third Reich" ranks, in my opinion, among the three seminal books covering the history of Nazi Germany. (Albert Shirer's "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" and Heinze Hohne's "Order of the Death's Head" round out the group) This book excels where the others fail in its elegance and readability.Set up as a memoir of his life Albert Speer lucidly provides a very insider account of the Third Reich throughout the 1930's and through the war.Speer himself as an architect was extremely close to Hitler and often was in more intimate circles with him than Goering, Himmler, and Hess. The book is a fast read in spite of its large size.It is written for the casual reader though a general knowledge of German history is probably better.Overall however Speer's use of anecdotes and his style at large is indicative of his intellect and upper class upbringing. This book is certainly a must read for those interested in WWII and German history.

    The book naturally begins with Speer's upbringing and education in Manheim.The author spends little time here though and within the first 25 pages we read how Speer casually became a party member, as did his mother, and how he first began to interact with the party.Here we have to be a little skeptical of his account of the story.He says quite emphatically that he did not join the party for through any political motivation yet in 1930, when he joined, the NSDAP did not have the extreme power it held a few years later.It seems unlikely that an architect who claimed to have little political motivation would go out of his way to join a workers party.Whatever his motivations were however he joined the party and before long he went from being an officer in the NSKK to taking on a few architectural projects for the party including redoing Joseph Goebbels' office and the decorations for Joseph von Hindenburg's funeral in 1934.By this time he was traveling with Hitler and realizing how captivated with architecture the Fuhrer was.His biggest achievement during these years was the building of the rally grounds at the zeppelin fields outside of Nuremburg. Hitler was extraordinarily pleased with Speer's work and by this time he was within his inner circle and required to wear a party uniform in public.It is around this time that he begins creating his expansive plans for Germania.Naturally the plans never resulted in any buildings but this plan became Hitler's hobby and made enforced Hitler's affinity for Speer.As peace became tenuous and war became inevitable Speer still holds on to the fact that he wasn't aware of the big picture.Yet within a few years he is named minister of armaments and certainly by this time he is aware.He shows and described his brilliance for logistics and his ability to make great judgments on the fly.Here we get even more fascinating accounts which you will have to read.

    Overall, the book is the best insider source for the goings on at the very top of party and the high command. His tone is apologetic and honestly I do believe him.Early in the work he says how while in prison he re-read many of Hitler's speeches and found them utterly lifeless. This book is enlightening also in that it shows how disorganized and distracted the party really was both in the early days and throughout the war.Reading it becomes strikingly amazing that the party could even come to power when it was so factionalized.This book is a fascinating read and is very enjoyable.This is one that a historian or layman can enjoy equally. As the 60th anniversary of the end of the war approaches take some time and look back into those strange years.

    Ted Murena
    ... Read more

    Isbn: 0684829495
    Subjects:  1. Architects    2. Biography    3. Biography/Autobiography    4. Europe - Germany    5. Germany    6. History - General History    7. Military - World War II    8. National socialism    9. Nazis    10. History / Germany   


    The Last Days of Hitler
    by Hugh Trevor-Roper
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (15 October, 1992)
    list price: $13.37 -- our price: $10.70
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    Reviews (15)

    1-0 out of 5 stars Afterwar Political Pamphlet
    I found this book useless in respect to history. I was looking for a historical documentary but found a political afterwar pamphlet full of anti-nazi propaganda. I read a few historical reviews, in my opinion this boock is full of lies. Specially taking in concern that this author discredited himself already a few times during his lifetime.
    He is an unreliable source, the Russians were the first to Berlin, he wasn't fluent in German (had to rely on translators), and his interviewed sources proved to be liars. That book who so many have relied on since it's publishing is best used as a door stop.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Literate account of the Third Reich's final days
    In 1945, while serving as a British Army intelligence officer, Hugh Trevor-Roper was commissioned to write a report on Adolf Hitler's final days and investigate the circumstances of his demise which, due to the lack of any conclusive evidence as to the cause, were at the time still the subject of much speculation. Mr Trevor-Roper subsequently expanded his original report into this book, first published only a few years after the end of World War II.

    Trevor-Roper's research consisted of tracking down and interviewing as many people as possible who were present with Hitler and the Nazi leadership in the final few months of the Third Reich and thus we are fairly certain as to the accuracy of this book. The narrative begins in early 1945 with an overview of the state of the Nazi leadership. After in turn describing the various machinations of such figures of Himmler, Goring and Speer, the book turns to Hitler's Berlin bunker and what life was like for its inhabitants in the last weeks of the war. The events leading up to and including Hitler's suicide are vividly described. What most sticks in my memory is the account of the champagne party which spontaneously breaks out among Hitler's remaining entourage in the bunker immediately following his death. Enough evidence is also presented to cast away any doubts as to the fate of Hitler and indeed Martin Bormann. This edition has a lengthy new preface by the author which incorporates any relevant findings in this regard since the book was first written, which all bear out his original conclusions.

    Considering the dark and somewhat depressing subject matter, the book is very readable. Mr Trevor-Roper's style is elegant, literate and intelligent. Indeed, the tone is essentially tragi-comic, which actually makes sense considering the absurdity and mediocrity of some of the main characters. The Third Reich's top leaders as described in the narrative are patently ludicrous creatures, dull-witted, naïve, astonishingly self-deluded. Himmler's bumbling attempts to secure a negotiated peace and Goebbels' demented belief in an ultimate Nazi triumph, even with Soviet tanks knocking on the Fuhrerbunker door, are some of the more memorable characterisations. Equally ridiculous is Goebbels' reliance on astrology for guidance and consolation, incidents as these as described in the book will make you wonder how such men were able to secure such power. Likewise, the description of the Goebbels' murder of their children and subsequent suicide (or execution as it actually happened) points to their utter lack of humanity. Hitler meanwhile, predictably, is portrayed as just being quite mad.

    This is definitely a classic work and an important historical achievement. It should be essential reading for anyone with a serious interest in this period and is also highly accessible for the layman. It is well worth the effort.

    4-0 out of 5 stars One of the Authoritative Works on the Topic
    A scholarly & well-researched book written by Trevor-Roper who was then a British intelligence officer.Note that this is the 6th edition and there is a 7th edition available in the UK.The reader should also be aware that each edition builds on and revises some of older ones contents, including superseding some portions completely.Readers should also check out "The Death of Hitler" by Ada Petrova. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0226812243
    Sales Rank: 66626
    Subjects:  1. General    2. Germany - History - Third Reich (1933-1945)    3. History - General History    4. History: World    5. Biography: general    6. European history: Second World War    7. Germany    8. History / General    9. Hitler, Adolf   


    Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland
    by Christopher R. Browning
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (17 March, 1993)
    list price: $14.00 -- our price: $11.20
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    Editorial Review

    Shocking as it is, this book--a crucial source of original research used for the bestseller Hitler's Willing Executioners--gives evidence to suggest the opposite conclusion: that the sad-sack German draftees who perpetrated much of the Holocaust were not expressing some uniquely Germanic evil, but that they were average men comparable to the run of humanity, twisted by historical forces into inhuman shapes. Browning, a thorough historian who lets no one off the moral hook nor fails to weigh any contributing factor--cowardice, ideological indoctrination, loyalty to the battalion, and reluctance to force the others to bear more than their share of what each viewed as an excruciating duty--interviewed hundreds of the killers, who simply could not explain how they had sunken into savagery under Hitler. A good book to read along with Ron Rosenbaum's comparably excellent study Explaining Hitler. --Tim Appelo ... Read more

    Reviews (41)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Illuminating dark events
    The power of "Ordinary Men" is its ability to convey the magnitude of the Holocaust by recounting the activities of a single battalion of German policemen stationed in eastern Poland in 1942-43. Browning keeps his focus on the atrocities committed by this 500-man battalion, without straying to discuss related parties or neighboring geographies. Far from creating a myopic study, this focus serves to underscore the breadth of the Nazis' extermination program during the Second World War. The key strengths of the book are Browning's careful research of German judicial archives from the 1960s, as well as his balanced interpretation of the battalion's crimes and of humanity's capacity for committing organized mass murder. The main shortcoming is that the author's analysis is saved almost entirely for the last chapter, rather than accompanying the relevant passages. This creates a dichotomy which is only a minor drawback to an otherwise extraordinary historical work.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting thesis regarding character of the Final Solution
    Browning asserts an interesting thesis regarding the Einsatzgruppen; these were the death squads who adminstered conquered lands and carried out the final solution in places where they could or did not ship the jews to camps.He establishes the backround of a particular Police Battalion.

    These individuals were not hardened Nazi's nor fanatical SS; nor were they even that keen on gunning down Jews.The argument that Browning makes is that anti-semitism was created in these individuals by killing jews.In order to cope with murdering, they became anti-semetic.When their commander announced their first action, he was in tears and offered an exception to whomever did not want to do this.Soldiers cried, looked the other way when some jews tried to escape, establishing a character that challenges our assumptions.

    As time went on, the soldiers became used to this, and would have to joke around with each other while shooting jews.There were some instances of drunken debauchery that will break your heart as well: instances of cruelty that boggles the mind.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Very interesting
    I picked thi up for a dollar at my local bookswap and found this to be a very interesting read. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0060995068
    Subjects:  1. Europe - Germany    2. Germany    3. History - General History    4. History: World    5. Holocaust    6. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)    7. Military - World War II    8. Personal narratives, German    9. Poland    10. War criminals    11. World War, 1939-1945    12. History / General   


    The Path to Genocide : Essays on Launching the Final Solution (Canto original series)
    by Christopher R. Browning
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (30 June, 1995)
    list price: $17.99 -- our price: $17.99
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    Reviews (3)

    3-0 out of 5 stars German reaction to execution orders: a fascinating essay
    There is one essay in this collection which finally answered some I questions I have always had, namely - how did the average German policeman, soldier or army major, react to the orders to kill innocent Jews? This essay is entitled, "One Day in Jozefow" and it held me spellbound. It details what occured on July 13, 1942, a day of executions under the command of Major Wilhelm Trapp. He gave orders to murder women and children with tears in his eyes and was later seen "weeping like a child".

    His subordinates held him in contempt, especially since he was never seen at the shooting sites. He is quoted as saying, "If this Jewish business is ever avenged on earth, then have mercy on us Germans". There were sergeants who also requested to be excused from the firing squads, as the idea of slaughtering human beings proved too horrendous to carry out. The Germans who carried out the executions were given alcohol to help with their agitation. It was decided "intolerable" to carry out the slaughter while sober. Some ran into the forest to vomit, others were so wracked with nervousness, they misfired. At the end of the day, some 1500 Jews lay dead.

    What is so compelling about this essay is that is explains how these German battalions were later able to round up Jews to the gas chambers with relative detachment; there was so much less participation or responsibility (compared to shooting)and the men had become desensitized. In fact, historians have shown that the camps were constructed largely to spare the German executioners the trauma of face-to-face murder.

    What is fascinating is this: it has been long believed that Germans who refused to carry out executions feared for their own lives. Not necessarily true. When Major Trapp let his aversion to the killings be known he was relocated and later promoted. In the case of Jozefow, the men had the opportunity to withdraw from shooting. Why didn't they refuse? Because they did not want to seem cowardly and they wanted to be promoted. The ones who refused generally had businesses back home to rely on and didn't care about being promoted. And some did business with Jews, so their animosities were not inflamed.
    This essay is riveting. I give this book 3 stars because the other readings are so dry, so long-winded, and so devoid of emotion, that you find yourself reading the same sentence five times. History MUST be exciting to read - otherwise, no one reads it, which is a dangerous thing indeed.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Superb Summation Of Natural History Of The Holocaust!
    In an eight-essay series originally devised as lectures, the author takes the reader deep into the hearts and minds of the men who engineered and perpetratedthe Holocaust. As in his earlier work, he argues persuasively and with an army of facts and figures that the decision to eradicate all of Europe's Jews from the face of the planet was an incrementally derived decision. This argument is very much like that made by Gerhard Weinberg in his massively documented history of WWII, "A World At Arms", although Browning's argument involves a much more detailed and substantiated thread of evidence and circumstance.Weinberg posited that it wasn't until the Wehrmacht began to have horrendous logistics problems early in the occupation of Poland, Latvia, and Estonia during Operation Barbarossa that they began to think in terms of a systematic and deliberate program of extermination of the Jews.

    Until that point the Nazi command had been more favorably disposed toward using indigenous populations as slave labor and working and/or starving them to death, rather than killing them outright. Here too Browning argues about three key issues surrounding the decision to proceed with the Holocaust; first, that the Nazi hierarchy itself was divided in terms of strategy and objectives about the resolution of the "Jewish Question"; second, that it was seen as highly advantageous to the national socialist cause to employ their skills and labor as long as possible in support of the war effort, and finally, that the actual implementation of the fragmented policy was further fragmented and "ad-libbed" at the field level by local commanders or police authorities.

    Browning uses a virtual flood of documentation and data to substantiate his various positions, and marshals a convincing argument on behalf of the notion that indeed the resulting mass murders of the Holocaust were more likely the production of a series of small but fateful conclusions made incrementally to solve immediate and pressing logistical and tactical situations the Nazi hierarchy faced at particular moments than it was the result of some long-standing grand and evil scheme to systematically annihilate the Jews. Of course, it is in one very real sense an academic issue, since all of the indigenous Jews (as well as everyone else in the areas of interest to the Nazis along the eastern front in Poland and the Ukraine already pre-designated as new settlement areas for Germans would die at the hands of the Nazi regime. The question at hand is whether the actual extermination of those individuals would be accomplished through slave labor, starvation, and exposure to the elements, or through more active and murderous intervention by way of the death camps.

    One must also remember that there were also large numbers of German Jews being transported both within and without the country to concentration camps. The same issues of intent apply to them, as well. Certainly Browning's efforts here will not end the long-standing debate. It is, however, a critical contribution to informing the direction and future tenor of that argument. This is an important, provocative, and worthwhile book, and one anyone interested in understanding the details of the "natural history' of how the Holocaust actually came to transpire must read to understand the complexities, contradictions, and confusions abounding in both the record and in individual recollections about the time. I recommend this book, and hope it is much more widely read and appreciated.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Decision to Kill: How it was Taken.
    Browning's book is one of the best books I have ever read about the Holocaust. It is a must for any researcher on this theme, new one or advanced. The most important topic of the book, dealt in several chapters,is the question of when, how, why and by whom the final solution command ororder was taken.

    Browning is very specific in his research. There are noguessings, though we can not escape fromnot being able to give finalanswer to certain details. He works with data of documents in trying totrack how the decision to kill was taken. He is able to get to the point ofsaying the most probable dates for the final decision by Hitler.

    The bookpresents some answers and alternatives to the question. It analyses'functionalism' and 'intentionalism' and theories of historians like ArnoMayer, which by the way sufers heavy critics by Browning. You will surelyrefer back to this book after reading it when discussing the subject of thedecision making process of the Holocaust. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0521558786
    Sales Rank: 72504
    Subjects:  1. Causes    2. Europe - Germany    3. Historiography    4. History    5. History - General History    6. History: World    7. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)    8. Jewish Holocaust    9. Military - World War II    10. Reference    11. 20th century    12. Europe    13. European history: Second World War    14. History / Europe / General   


    Fateful Months: Essays on the Emergence of the Final Solution
    by Christopher R. Browning
    Paperback (01 April, 1991)
    list price: $15.00 -- our price: $15.00
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    Isbn: 0841912661
    Sales Rank: 1090619
    Subjects:  1. Ethnic relations    2. History - General History    3. History: World    4. Holocaust    5. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)    6. Jews    7. Persecutions    8. Serbia    9. Yugoslavia   


    War of Extermination: The German Military in World War Ii, 1941-1944 (War and Genocide, Vol 3)
    by Hannes Heer, Klaus Naumann, Roy Shelton
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (01 October, 2000)
    list price: $59.95 -- our price: $59.95
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    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Ably translated into English from the original German
    Ably translated into English from the original German by Roy Shelton, War Of Extermination: The German Military In World War II 1941-1944 is a seminal volume containing the most important contributions by distinguished historians who vigorously and effectively debunk the Wehrmacht myth the German soldiers fought an honest and "clean" war, remaining uninvolved with Nazi generated atrocities and the genocidal slaughter of innocents. War Of Extermination is an invaluable and much needed counter to historical revisionists wishing to minimize and suppress the true story of German military involvement and collaboration with the politically and racially motivated extermination of whole classes of men, women, and children. ... Read more

    Isbn: 1571812326
    Sales Rank: 1377639
    Subjects:  1. Europe - Germany    2. History    3. History - General History    4. History: World    5. Holocaust    6. Jewish Holocaust    7. Military - World War II    8. Military History - World War II   


    The Destruction of the European Jews (Third Edition)
    by Raul Hilberg
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (15 March, 2003)
    list price: $150.00 -- our price: $124.02
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    Reviews (10)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Concise and revealing
    I have several dozen books on the Holocaust, and more than that on my wish list. For a few years now, I have wanted to know 'How did it happen, and Why?'. I found myself stopping every other page to think about the words I had read, and the ideas they conveyed. This book is by far one of the best, seconded only by Martin Gilbert's 'The Holocaust'. I see survivor's messages that ask 'How could it happen...Where was God...Why the Jews?' I am slowly coming away with an answer in my head that just won't go away. Perhaps we would all {those of us deemed worthy to live, anyway} be speaking German today if Hitler hadn't focused so much effort on obliterating such a wonderful and gentle people. If there has to be a reason, maybe the Jews saved the world from the Nazi's!

    5-0 out of 5 stars The single best work on the subject
    This is the most comprehensive and accurate single book on the subject and ought to be necessary reading for anyone studying it.Hilberg integrates the ground-level activities (what was happening to the victims), with an account of the higher level decision-making. Definitely worth it!

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Good Overall Compilation of Holocaust Information
    This three-volume 2003 edition summarizes a broad selection of data. It arrives at 5.1 million for the Jews killed during the Holocaust. This death toll is also subdivided by year of death, by European nationality of the Jewish victims, and by fate (extermination camp followed by cremation in a crematorium or pyre, open-air shooting and burial, etc.). This work also contains a list of Nuremberg defendants, and their associates, along with identification of those held directly responsible for the fate of the Jews.

    A considerable amount of time is spent discussing how the Germans had gradually perfected the technology of genocide. Mass shootings gave way to mass gassings using the carbon monoxide from the burning of fuel by large engines. This was replaced with Zyklon, a pelleted form of hydrogen cyanide. It was found that the burning of bodies in large pyres disposed of them quicker than the crematory ovens. To hasten the disposal of the murder victims, their bodies were not usually burned completely to ashes. Some death camps pulverized the bones of the victims with special bone-crushing machines, while other camps just used slaves bearing hammers to do the gruesome job.

    The Jewish death toll at Auschwitz-Birkenau is currently estimated as fewer than 1 million. This contrasts with earlier estimates of 1.5 million, 1.2 million, etc. This should be of no comfort to Holocaust deniers, as the present estimate, and overall Jewish death toll, is unlikely to be reduced any further, at least to a substantial extent. However, it does ask for an explanation for the discrepancies with earlier estimates, and none is provided.

    Although a full examination of the Jewish relationship with Poles in German-occupied Poland is beyond the scope of this volume, Hilberg presents some information that sheds light on this relationship. He cites a German document wherein its author complains about the fact that Jews avoiding the roundups (leading to the death camps of Sobibor and Belzec) are hiding with Polish and Ukrainian families. He acknowledges the fact that the death penalty was imposed in Poland for aiding Jews (p. 520). He also points out (p. 1122) the extreme housing density of gentile Poles (4 per apartment in prewar Poland; no doubt greater during the German occupation) and its role in the disinclination of Poles to hide fugitive Jews.

    Recurrent charges of Poles turning in or killing fugitive Jews, commonly encountered in Holocaust materials, neglect a number of factors, one of which is the latter's significant involvement in the plunder (and sometimes murder) of Polish villagers. Hilberg is one of the few non-Polish authors who acknowledge the fact (p. 1126) that bands of fugitive Jews would rob Polish peasants. The reader can visualize all of German-occupied Poland as one giant concentration camp where its inmates often fought, and sometimes killed each other, over food and other essentials.

    It is unfortunate that a Holocaust scholar of Hilberg's stature accepts a shoddy account of the Jedwabne massacre in a totally uncritical manner (pp.320-321). The evidence does not support Gross' storytelling. There were 200-400 Jewish victims, not 1,600. Most definitely, the Germans were not spectators who were just filming what the Poles were doing. Very likely, it was the Germans who orchestrated this atrocity. The Poles were actually relegated to a compelled subsidiary role (perhaps 40 Poles, certainly not "half the town"). The Poles were forced to round up and guard the Jews. Whether the Poles were involved in the actual torching of the Jew-filled barn, consensually or not, has not been established by convincing evidence.

    Hilberg moves beyond Jewish deaths to encompass the Sinti and Roma (Gypsies), German male homosexuals, etc. He also discusses the planned partial genocide of the Polish population, wherein a fraction of it would be Germanized or kept alive as a reservoir of slave labor, and the rest put to death. He is also perceptive in pointing out that massive Polish guerrilla action in the Lublin region, in the face of draconian German colonization with concomitant deportation and murder of the local Poles, had been one of the earlier phases of this planned genocide.

    Hilberg's work contains a wealth of information. There are also numerous footnotes that enable the reader to do further research. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0300095570
    Sales Rank: 459127
    Subjects:  1. 1933-1945    2. Germany    3. History - General History    4. Holocaust    5. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)    6. Politics and government    7. History / Holocaust   


    Hitler: 1936-1945 Nemesis
    by Ian Kershaw
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (November, 2000)
    list price: $35.00 -- our price: $23.10
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    Editorial Review

    George VI thought him a "damnable villain," and Neville Chamberlainfound him not quite a gentleman; but, to the rest of the world, Adolf Hitler hascome to personify modern evil to such an extent that his biographers always havefaced an unenviable task. The two more renowned biographies of Hitler--byJoachim C. Fest ( Hitler) and by AlanBullock ( Hitler: A Study inTyranny)--painted a picture of individual tyranny which, in the words ofA.J.P.Taylor, left Hitler guilty and every other German innocent. Decades ofscholarship on German society under the Nazis have made that verdict lookdubious; so, the modern biographer of Hitler must account both for his terriblemindset and his charismatic appeal. In the second and final volume of hismammoth biography of Hitler--which covers the climax of Nazi power, thereclamation of German-speaking Europe, and the horrific unfolding of the finalsolution in Poland and Russia--Ian Kershaw manages to achieve both of thesetasks. Continuing whereHitler: Hubris 1889-1936left off, the epic Hitler: Nemesis 1937-1945 takes the reader from theadulation and hysteria of Hitler's electoral victory in 1936 to the obsessiveand remote "bunker" mentality that enveloped the Führer as OperationBarbarossa (the attack on Russia in 1942) proved the beginning of the end.Chilling, yet objective. A definitive work. --Miles Taylor ... Read more

    Reviews (45)

    3-0 out of 5 stars IAN KERSHAW'S HITLER (VOLUMES 1 & 2) BY JOHN CHUCKMAN
    This biography (actually two volumes, Hubris and Nemesis) is well worth reading. Kershaw is a sound, if not elegant, writer and tells a story you will want to finish, but the book has significant faults.

    Historians still do not know exactly how to reckon with the phenomenon of Hitler. The man was like a giantic cyclonic storm that suddenly welled up and unleashed death and misery on a colossal scale.

    And for that reason he stands as the most influential man of the 20th century, not the greatest or the most gifted, but the most influential.

    His existence brought to life such memorable opponents as Churchill, his defeat established forty years of Soviet dominance over much of Europe, and his beastial acts unquestionably led to the founding of modern Israel, setting off great difficulties in the Middle East for decades.

    The ironic thing about Kershaw's book is that the author says he does not understand Hitler. Hitler remains a mystery to him, and Kershaw even says that in some ways his book is not a biography of the man but of the era in Germany. This is not satisfying to the reader wishing to understand better.

    Kershaw's thesis of Hitler as a an almost compulsive gambler who struck it lucky for a while is weak. Hitler's rise to lead a great nation of Europe and his years of early diplomatic and military victories call for a more insightful explanation than a heavy run of luck. Kershaw gives credit to Hitler as an instinctive propagandist (in advertising terms, a talented marketer), but that is about as far as he goes to explaining this eye of the greatest storm in human history.

    Historians, naturally enough, are reluctant to write anything that could be interpreted as admiration, but other historians have managed a better job of dealing with Hitler's talents and personality, notably Alan Bullock, Joachim Fest, and William Shirer.

    One new element that Kershaw brings is a focus on Hitler's being responsible for the Holocaust, not that any responsible historian ever has denied it, but naturally enough there is no paper trail. I think Shirer is better on the horrors Hitler inflicted. I also think a more insightful treatment of this kind of psychology is found in Gitta Sereny.

    One of the great mysteries of Hitler's psychology is his anti-Semitism. There is just no accounting for its immensity, and Kershaw does little to enlighten us here.

    Read this book and the other authors I have mentioned and decide whether you agree with me that the definitive biography of Hitler has yet to be written.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Detailed to a fault
    This book took me a very long time to read. Not surprising when you consider it was nearly 800 pages filled with many German words and phrases. Still, it was detailed almost to a fault... once again I amamazed at the research that must have taken place to write it.

    If you are ready to tackle it, here is some advice:

    1. Find a quite place to read it because it is so detailed and at times difficult to read and follow that you need complete concentration. This might be the main reason why it took me so long to read it.... 3 months... I usually can read a biography of this length in about 2 to 3 weeks.

    2. Be ready to be disgusted at times. Kershaw pulls no punches. The book is not graphic in its descriptions, but is alarming because of the relative ease these men had in killing so many.

    3. I wish I would have read more reich history prior to this book. I had a hard time keeping some of his support staff and members of the Wehrmacht straight. I think I would have been better served to be a bit more versed in Nazi history before tackling this one.

    I can recommend this, but I really think a true biography junkie like myself will enjoy it while a more passive biography reader might not make it to page 100. Still, Kershaw's research and writing are impressive it just lags at times because it is SO detailed.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Where's the beef?
    There're no insights, no relevations on the Reich. Only recycled hash dresse up as new findings. The book fully reveals the shallow and inconsequential scholarship, if any, of Ian Kershaw as an academic historian. More suited as an agitator or propagandist. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0393049949
    Subjects:  1. Antisemitism    2. Austria    3. Biography    4. Biography & Autobiography    5. Biography / Autobiography    6. Biography/Autobiography    7. Germany    8. Germany - History - Third Reich (1933-1945)    9. Heads of state    10. Historical - General    11. Historical - Holocaust    12. Military - World War II    13. Modern - 20th Century    14. Presidents & Heads of State    15. Biography: political    16. European history: from c 1900 -   


    Popular Opinion and Political Dissent in the Third Reich: Bavaria, 1933-1945
    by Ian Kershaw
    Paperback (01 July, 2002)
    list price: $24.95 -- our price: $24.95
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    Isbn: 0199251118
    Sales Rank: 840524
    Subjects:  1. Bavaria    2. Europe - Germany    3. Germany    4. History    5. History & Theory - General    6. History - General History    7. History: World    8. Modern - 20th Century    9. National socialism    10. Public opinion    11. European history: Second World War    12. Fascism & Nazism    13. Inter-war period, 1918-1939    14. Political activism    15. Propaganda    16. Second World War, 1939-1945   


    The Nazi dictatorship: Problems and perspectives of interpretation
    by Ian Kershaw
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (1989)
    list price: $37.95
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    Reviews (4)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Kershaw
    Kershaw is God. This book is the bible for any scholar of the Third Reich.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Not for casual reading
    This book is a collection of short and dense summaries of other prominent works written on Nazism.Thoroughly researched and contanining a wealth of information, Kershaw's work is a valuable introduction for any researcher or college student.However, I think the esoteric rhetoric and scholarly details makes it kind of hard to digest for the casual reader not familiar with German history.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Lifesaver
    The subject says it all. I had to write an A-level coursework essay on Nazi Germany and this book was the most helpful thing I could possbily have had by my side. Thank you Mr Kershaw! ... Read more

    Isbn: 034049008X
    Sales Rank: 1687973
    Subjects:  1. General    2. History - General History    3. Practical Politics   

    Albert Speer : His Battle with Truth
    by Gitta Sereny
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (29 October, 1996)
    list price: $25.00 -- our price: $16.50
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    Editorial Review

    Gitta Sereny's biography meticulously re-creates for the reader the professional, emotional, and psychological life of Albert Speer, Hitler's architect and later his Minister of Armaments. Throughout the 12-year history of the Third Reich, Speer remained one of Hitler's most trusted confidants and one of the most powerful political leaders of the Nazi party. Researched and written over an eight year period, Albert Speer weaves together information from innumerable personal interviews with Speer, his family, close friends, and professional colleagues, the author's own solid grasp of German history, and critical readings of Speer's own writings, including various drafts of his memoirs, Inside the Third Reich, first published in 1969.

    Throughout, Sereny consciously avoids the pitfall of many Speer biographers, who seek to either blame or exculpate Speer for the Nazi's atrocities. Instead, she succeeds in helping the reader understand a "morally extinguished" man and place into context "all the crimes against humanity which Hitler initiated, which continue to threaten us today, and of which Speer, who was in many ways a man of excellence, sadly enough made himself a part." Well over 700 pages, Albert Speer is not a quick read, but superbly written and meticulously researched, it is a pleasure to read, providing unprecedented insight into one of the most complex figures in modern German history. --Bertina Loeffler ... Read more

    Reviews (42)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A woman's insightful touch!
    I have read some of Sereny's other works and have been disappointed but she has done a good job on Speer.

    Speer is a fascinating study.A troubled but troubling man, he is also brilliant, charming, and articulate.But "Albert Speer: His Battle with the Truth", is well named.I was especially impressed with the way Sereny has pulled all the threads of Speer's life into a coherent, readable text.It's a long book and it does drag in places but the underlying sub-text - just how much did Speer know about the murder of the Jews - leads to a surprising and intriguing last couple of chapters?

    I also thought it was especially appropriate that a female wrote this book.Women can look at this good looking distinguished man, and dare I say it, see the senusal side.I think only a woman could capture with the right touch the sterility of Speer's relations with those closest to him.Sereny's insights into Speer's sense (or lack) of empathy, compassion, and ultimately, passion, are spot on.Women are intuitive with these things in others; us guys less so.

    The book can be tedious mid-stream but read on.It's worth the wait.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing account of the Third Reich
    In the December issue of American Spectator there is a "Books for Christmas" list of recommendations that I always use as a guide for my reading in the upcoming year.

    James Rosen (Fox News White House correspondent) recommended this book as "the best nonfiction book I have ever read on any subject."And while I don't necessarily agree entirely with this characterization I can heartily recommend this book as one you will not soon forget.Sereny is an Austrian native who actually saw the 1934 Nuremberg rally which was captured unforgettably by Leni Reifenstahl in her Triumph of Will.

    Sereny gained the confidence of Albert Speer over many years and had basically unfettered access to him throughout her research, and it shows.The insights thus gained allow for an unusual glimpse into the inner workings of the Third Reich and all of its principal players.

    Sereny conducted interviews with numerous "players" in the life of Albert Speer and the Third Reich.Her meticulous research methods and eye for detail allow for a glimpse into the heart of darkness the likes of which you will likely never again see.

    She avoids the pitfalls of many who succumb to the temptation to oversimplify, mis-characterize, or accept the prevailing facile dismissals of those who participated in the "Final Solution."She attempts, at least partially successfully, to gain a broader understanding of just how such evil as occurred in the Third Reich came about.But she fails, as we all must eventually, in penetrating this odious darkness.

    At the end of the day, the light of her analysis falls upon the black hole of evil which absorbs nearly all attempts to understand it.I enjoyed this book tremendously, but it is difficult slogging.Of one thing there can be no doubt however, Albert Speer did obviously have knowledge of the evil that surrounded him.That he could have remained oblivious to all that transpired is simply not credible.Even the effort not to confront this evil was, in itself, a tacit acknowledgment of what was transpiring.He used forced labor in his enormously successful efforts to keep the German war production going despite overwhelming losses to Allied bombing.

    My wife, who reads to me on road trips, could not bear to read this book.It is not for the faint of heart.But it is well worth the effort.I heartily recommend this book.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Serenys Saint, Speer the Sinner
    Gitta Sereny writes about Albert Speer in this biography as a deeply honest, moral, misled person trying to come to terms with the evil he has become embroiled in.Some simple facts that have come to light since Speers death show this to be a fallacy.

    The details of Speers diary from his time working on Berlins regeneration hid his complicity in the removal of Jewish inhabitants and his use of concentration camp labour for munitions projects is now well documented.Despite this, many were fooled by the "repentant" Speer attemting to cleanse his soul of any knowledge of evil.Most historians tried to push Speer into admitting some knowledge of attrocities that he may have subconciously buried and this is Serenys self-appointed task.Few looked at the possibility that Speer may be as guilty as Saukel or Kaltenbrunner and more guilty than Streicher, Jodl or Keitel as a perpetrator of peoples suffering.

    Serenys book does have its good points.This is the best book for showing the public Speer, the semi-private Speer and in a few unguarded moments, the private Speer as he cannot be observed now.

    Sereny herself is quite an interesting charachter.She made her name writing a book similarly posthumously of Franz Paul Stangl, commondant of Treblinka, theSpeer book after his death and just after the death of his personal secretary, Annemarie Kempf fourteen years later (fourteen years preperation?) and caused controversy here in Great Britain when she wrote the story of a child murderer ("Cries Unheard"), Mary Bell.The great controversy was because Mary Bell may get royalties from the book and profit from her crime.

    Sereny should stick to dead people, they don't argue! ... Read more

    Isbn: 0679768122
    Subjects:  1. Biography / Autobiography    2. Europe - Germany    3. Historical - General    4. History: World    5. Military - World War II    6. History / Germany   


    The Goebbels Diaries, 1942-1943
    by Joseph Goebbels
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (26 March, 1970)
    list price: $102.95
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    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Private Thoughts of One of Hitler's Most Trusted!
    In 'The Goebbles Diaries, 1942-43,' we are given a glimpse into the mind of Nazi Germany's genius of propaganda and one of Hitler's most trusted lieutenants.These diaries shed light on the Nazis view of Churchill, Stalin and all the other central figures of the era.Goebbels also tells us of the anger he and other leading Nazis felt over the defection of Italy to the allied camp, dealing with the devastating allied air raids, and the fear and anxiety over the revearses on the Eastern front.Unfortunatley, these pages don't give us as clear a view of Hitler as one would hope and passages dealing with the Holocaust are few and far between.In all, Goebbels presents himself as a champion of National Socialist ideals who is loved by Germany and respected by his enemies.What one really sees is the almost ridiculous opptimism that Goebbels held through these years of struggle.It is surprising just how firm was Goebbel's conviction that victory was certain.Those interested in the Third Reich should read Goebbel's diaries as it is a rare look into this troubled time written by one of it's greatest criminals.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Private thinkings of propaganda inventor
    Dr. Joseph Goebbels was one of the most influentual and feared persons in the Third Reich. With strong influence on Hitler he managed to control virtually every important activity in the Reich. His diary undoubtablyshows an extremely unscrupulous man, prepared to risk anything to achievehis beliefs (the tributes that are usually linked to Machiavelli could findeven more proper place here). But he has done his homework well. Hebrilliantly understood the meaning of propaganda and its real influence onmasses and he devised the methods to use it to all extent. We can read fromhis point of view how he was sailing in the dangerous seas of internal andinternational affairs and though his style of writing and thinking are notvery nice due to his immense mental brutallity, we must admit that he wasvery succesful at what he was doing. Pure efficiency. It is very nice tolearn something about a man who wrote history not so far ago, although itcould be deadly for many among us. The understanding of his thought andpoint of view allows us to see the WWII in somehow another perspective. Itmust prepare us for actions to prevent such events from happening in thefuture.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for understanding what went on in Germany
    I have to say that this isn't a 5-star work because of the writing, the criterion I normally use when dishing out parts of galaxies. It's because I think the book should be read by anyone wanting to gain a glimmer ofunderstanding into what became one of the most powerfully focused minds inthe last century. Regardless of the pros and cons of Goebells being allowedto retain even honorary posthumous citizenship of an Earth he seemed benton destroying, it is enlightening to read the words he set down. Obviouslythey were never intended to be seen by the likes of you or me, let alonethose in power, who later had a chance to peruse them at their leisure. Ifonly the good (sic) doctor had known.

    Anyway, following this gentleman ofuncertain disposition down the path to what must have been close to madness(he must have had to stave madness off quite madly) and what was, anuntimely death (in more ways than one), is an exercise that all students ofhuman nature will finally be glad they chose to do. After all, he was onlya man, like you and me, and I think that comes through quite plainly in hisown words. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0837138159
    Sales Rank: 271366
    Subjects:  1. 1897-1945    2. Biography / Autobiography    3. Diaries    4. General    5. Germany    6. Goebbels, Joseph,    7. Nazis    8. Politics and government    9. Goebbels, Joseph   

    The Eastern Front, 1941-45 : German Troops and the Barbarization of Warfare (St. Antony's Series)
    by Omer Bartov
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (12 October, 2001)
    list price: $30.95 -- our price: $30.95
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    Reviews (7)

    2-0 out of 5 stars This the third time he has written this book
    Bartov has written two earlier book on this. Those two were nearly the same. This one is yet another repeat. That is how how academics build their resumes. Save money and read his earlier work Hitler's Army.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Social Factors Of Wehrmacht Participation In Barbarossa!
    This is a very interesting and quite different approach to experiencing the events of the Second World War. It is interesting in the fact that it comprises a sort of social history of the members of the Wehrmacht, or regular German army itself. So, this then is a fascinating if somewhat oddly focused study of the war along the eastern front from the viewpoint of the German foot soldier. It is often frightening and revealing, especially when one considers the fact that the author actually survived over five years of combat. So, although the writing style is a bit stiff and belabored, it is well worth the effort.

    Given its attempt to be both more rigorous scientifically and paying attention to the details that comprise the German soldier's cultural makeup and prime orienting values, this is a very readable and absorbing exploration of an "average" foot soldier involved up to his muddy ankles in the most outrageous and provocative battles in modern history. This is truly a story for the record books, one told with brutal frankness regarding the soldiers existential circumstances as well as his willful cooperation in the widespread and savage atrocities systematically ordered and committed all along the eastern front; this is a story deserving of your time and study. Imagine slogging through the heat and rain and mud and snow and ice of the campaign into and then through Poland and Russia, and retracing mile by mile, yard by yard, foot by foot as the Russians relentlessly push the 200 divisions of the German Army slowly and painfully back from all of the gains, inflicting murderous tolls along the way.

    The portrait given is one revealing the levels of hardship, depravations, depravities, and extreme experiences of a common soldier involved in the most terrible and hard-fought campaign of World War Two, Operation Barbarossa. One sees how the culture from which they sprang made all of this possible, the savagery toward Russian civilians, the rampant anti-Semitism, and the butchering of everything that walked, crawled, or flew into their pathway. Indeed, the changes such experiences must make on any ordinary human being; the slow but inexorable metamorphosis from callow and self-assured young men to war and world weary cynics willing to do anything to see another tomorrow, and the vaguest hope of someday going back to home and the world, makes them into battle-hardened survivors who do what need to be done to protect themselves and their comrades with trained indifference.

    This is indeed a worthwhile and well-described (which is not to say easily read) story of a view of the Wehrmacht informed by a consideration of the social and cultural factors surrounding their participation in the barbarian behavior of the German Army in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. In the last analysis, it is in the close knit circles of comrades and friends that such things become possible, and the cultural background and social factors allowing these thousands of otherwise decent young men to willingly participate in the excesses of the Gernamn Army are much more understandable in light of the factors examined and discussed herein. Finally it comes down to living in the small community of buddies and surviving in that context that becomes paramount in the day-to-day experiences. This is, in that sense at least, a very moving and graphic document in describing such experiences, and should be read and understood by any serious student of WWII.

    1-0 out of 5 stars A shameful drivel...
    Unless you are an absolute amateur about WWII, there is very very little positive that can be said about this book.

    Omer Bartov is either an insane individual or a pathetic "historian" telling partial truths, ignoring facts and telling several lies.

    About his "destruction of the myth" that the Wehrmacht was not a mechanized army (relying more on horses and echelons to bring supplies over), the man seemed to ignore that at the launching of Barbarossa, the Wehrmacht had 13 (thirteen) FULLY motorized and mechanized divisions. Several panzer divisionen were up graded and highly mechanized as well. I know of no author telling that the entire Wehrmacht was mechanized. So perhaps he himself dreamed of such a myth.

    He pictures the Russian soldiers and partisans as heavenly archangels defending themselves from the "legions of demons" coming from Germany. A lie.

    For a person like myself, who has read a good deal of books about the eastern front, as well as meeting several veterans from both sides, my conclusion about Bartov`s book is:


    Isbn: 0333949447
    Sales Rank: 489852
    Subjects:  1. 20th century    2. Atrocities    3. Campaigns    4. Eastern Europe - General    5. Eastern Front    6. Germany    7. Heer    8. History    9. History - Military / War    10. International Relations - General    11. Military - World War II    12. Political Science    13. Politics/International Relations    14. Soldiers    15. World War, 1939-1945    16. History / Military / World War II   


    The Forgotten Soldier
    by Guy Sajer
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (15 January, 2000)
    list price: $28.95 -- our price: $19.11
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    Reviews (106)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Memoir?
    The Forgotten Soldier is a fine book in many ways.A teenage veteran of Germany's elite, Gross Deutschland Division, Sajer does a good job of painting the misery and horror of warfare on the Russian Front.He does this without vanity or self pity, and he has a real gift for somber and elegiac prose:

    "Generals have written of these accounts...But they never, to my knowledge, give sufficient expression to the wretchedness of soldiers abandoned to a fate one would wish to spare even the most miserable cur...In the end there was only the physical crime of war and the hypocritical and intellectual crime of peace."

    "Life could be snuffed out like that, in an instant, but the (piles of) guts remained for a long time, stamped on the memory."

    "They might forget women, or money, or how to be happy, but they would never forget the war."

    "There is no sepulchre for the Germans killed in Russia.One day some muzhik will turn over their remains and plough them under with his fertilizer, and sow their furrows with sunflower seeds."

    Don't look for any discussion of strategy, or even tactics in The Forgotten Soldier.This edition's cover photo of a hollow eyed teenage soldier is a good indication of what lies within.For Sajer, the war was simply a nightmarish struggle for survival against all the odds.And he works hard to commit this vision to the reader.

    The Forgotten Soldier has become THE German, WWII memoir.It's certainly a praiseworthy book.However, there's a worm in the apple: Clearly, parts of it have been novelized.And there are numerous inconsistencies, e.g., the Gross Deutschland Division was not in some of the places he says it was, when he says it was.And Sajer leaves the impression that he and his comrades were all practically starving to death when it's well known that the Wehrmacht's commissariat did a good job of feeding the troops, up to the end.

    More importantly, he has refused to answer historians who've asked him to explain some of his inconsistencies. Perhaps The Forgotten Soldier should be considered semi-autobiographical, (along the lines of J.G. Ballard's fine novel, Empire of The Sun) and not the bona fide WWII memoir it claims to be.

    Still, The Forgotten Soldier will probably remain the definitive study of the Russian Front from the German private's point of view.

    5-0 out of 5 stars 85 Below Zero
    Sajer's book is a poignant, horrifying, fascinating work. I first read it over twenty years ago and it still moves me greatly. Sajer and his comrades in the Wehrmacht were some of the toughest, bravest soldiers in the history of warfare. One of the most memorable scenes is Sajer describing how he somehow survived a night outside when temperatures dropped to 85 below zero without the wind chill factor! This book should be given to anyone who glorifies the horrors of war. It should also be mandatory reading in high school history classes.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great story, but not the best writing in the world
    The Forgotten Soldier is often regarded as the quintessential WW II memoir from the Eastern Front. And while I'll definitely concede that it's a riveting story that does a good job of conveying the horror and suffering of that experience, I found the writing style to be rather cumbersome and even a bit annoying at times. My main complaint is the overuse of adjectives and adverbs, making it seem as if the author (or, to be fair, probably the translator) relied too heavily on a thesaurus rather than just letting the story convey the image. I also thought the author got carried away with his use of simile, often using rather odd comparisons that seemed unnatural. For these reasons alone I give the book four stars instead of five. However, the story itself is solid and after reading it I definitely felt like I had a better understanding of what life was like for the average soldier on the Eastern Front. Readers should also be aware that there are other WW II memoirs every bit as good as this one, and in some cases better in my opinion. Good ones I have read recently are "Being Present: Growing Up in Hitler's Germany" (though the author was too young to serve on the front lines), "A Mind in Prison: The Memoir of a Son and Soldier of the 3rd Reich", "Blood Red Snow: The Memoirs of a German Soldier on the Eastern Front", and "Soldat : Reflections of a German Soldier, 1936-1949." ... Read more

    Isbn: 1574882856
    Sales Rank: 74000
    Subjects:  1. Biography    2. Biography / Autobiography    3. Campaigns    4. Eastern Front    5. Europe - Germany    6. Germany    7. History    8. History: American    9. Military    10. Military - World War II    11. Military History - World War II    12. Personal narratives, French    13. Sajer, Guy    14. Soldiers    15. World War, 1939-1945   


    Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany
    by Robert Gellately
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 May, 2002)
    list price: $17.95 -- our price: $12.21
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    Reviews (7)

    5-0 out of 5 stars How The Germans Accepted Nazism And Hitler
    Robert Gellately's "Backing Hitler" may be the most thought provoking, extensive study as to how and why the German people ultimately embraced both Nazism and Adolf Hitler during the course of the Great Depression and World War II. Gellately makes the startling claim that most Germans were aware of Nazi atrocities - though not necessarily the worst - and yet found them tolerable as a means to combat crime. Indeed, he notes how Germans embraced Nazism as a succesful antidote to the financial and cultural corruption they'd seen in the 1920's and early 1930's during the Weimar Republic. With the notable exception of the Holocaust, Nazi goverment officials and agencies such as the Gestapo and the SS did not hide the existence of concentration camps and torture from the general public, but instead, allowed them to be published both in Nazi popular journals and daily newspapers (And the Holocaust itself was not hidden, except for its most virulent, deadly phases, in which Jews were dealt with via "special handling", the Nazi euphemism for genocide.). Only towards the end, during the final months and weeks of the war, did the German public see the most brutal aspects of the Nazi regime. Yet surprisingly, many Germans continued to support the regime until the very end. Gellately's premise may seem unoriginal in light of Daniel Goldhagen's popular book indicting the entire German nation for the Holocaust, yet unlike Goldhagen, Gellately offers substantially more persuasive evidence to demonstrate how a social consensus was reached within German society in support of the Nazi regime. Gellately's book may be the seminal work looking at how the Nazis successfully used the media in disseminating their philosophy to Germany.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Thought Provoking
    Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany by Robert Gellately is a interesting and thought provoking study of what the German people knew and when they know it.Gellately does a fine job delving through the historical achieves, especially old newspapers, to give the reader an insight into what information was available to the German public.

    What is fascinating about the book is the insight which the author only touches on concerning the need of the Nazi Government to form firm a basis of popular support and their decision to take drastic steps to insure that the support did not falter.While the Nazi could act with ruthlessness maybe only equaled by Stalin in dealing with foreigners or subhumans, when it came to its reflation with its Aryan brethren, the Nazis were sure to only go as far as they believed that their policies would be accepted.While this limitation may have ceased with the end of the war, it does not mitigate against the fact that the German public by backing the main polices of Nazism facilitated the regimes evils deeds.

    The fact that the Nazi publicized the formation of the concentration camps and the marginalization of the Jews and Gypsies speaks volumes about the anticipated public reaction. Gellately points out that most Germans saw these steps as part of the larger Nazi law and order campaign as well as moving Germany toward a more wholesome future.What is terrifying about the book is not only that the German public bought in to the Nazi propaganda, but the chance that if they had not that millions upon millions of people might have lived through the war.

    The down side of the book is that at times it is repetitions and it could have used a good editing.The subject matter is dense, but that may not have been able ti be avoided.This is an important book, and even with the above limitations it is a worthwhile read.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Interesting Mess
    I looked forward to reading this volume with great anticipation.Unfortunately, I was disappointed.While the subject matter is certainly interesting, the editing (or lack thereof) is so unacceptable as to make several lengthy passages almost completely unintelligible.For my money, "Hitler's Willing Executioners", which covers the same topic, is much more well-constructed, if a bit dry at times. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0192802917
    Sales Rank: 140472
    Subjects:  1. Europe - Germany    2. History    3. History - General History    4. History: World    5. Holocaust    6. Military - World War II    7. European history: Second World War    8. Germany    9. Political structures: totalitarianism & dictatorship    10. The Holocaust    11. World history: Second World War   


    The Gestapo and German Society: Enforcing Racial Policy, 1933-1945 (Clarendon Paperbacks)
    by Robert Gellately
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 December, 1991)
    list price: $45.00 -- our price: $39.62
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    Reviews (2)

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Close - Up Of The Nazi State
    Gellately has written an excellent book based on his intimate research of files from a limited area of Germany.Unfortunately, probably for marketing reasons, the book does not focus on its own inherent virtue of offering a close - up rather than a broad - band view of Nazi society;presumably the publishers were reasonably worried that a book titled "How The Gestapo Operated In One Region Of Bavaria" might not have found enough buyers.But what looks like a handicap is really the strength of this book:through its limited scope it offers unique insights into how the terror state operated at bottom level.A shame also that the author often spends too much time bickering with his colleagues and with self - gratisfying moralism.But the strenghts of this work far outweigh its limitations.If you have ever asked yourself how the atrocities of the Nazi system could come to pass, you should read this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Gestapo On Every Street Corner - Sort Of
    Gellately's research radically alters our understanding of how the secret police operated in Nazi Germany, as well as in the German Democratic Republic andelsewhere.Essentially, Gellately is challenging the notion that the Gestapo was omnipotent, i.e. there was an agent on every corner who provided the regime with all the information it needed. By looking at remaining files in the area of Wurzburg, Gellately found that only a small number of total agents were available to cover a relatively large area.Heconcludes that even if those agents worked all day and all night, they still would not be able to accumulate the type and amount of information that they did. So, if there was not a Gestapo agent on every corner, how was the regime able to detect the smallest signs of non-compliance and how could they enforce their racial policies?Gellately suggests that the key factor was the willingness of Germans to provide the authorities with information about alleged criminal activities. In fact, most cases began with denunciations or self-policing. In other words, the Gestapo was reactive, not proactive.Gellately suggests that without this cooperation, the Gestapo would have been far less efficient and successful. So just why did the Germans denounce each other? Gellately found that motives were usually quite petty.One had to worry about being denounced by former lovers, business competitors, jealous neighbours, and so on.In fact, Nazi officials tried to put the brakes on the denunciations. In a nutshell, Gellately is suggesting that the secret to the success of the Gestapo was not that it had an agent on every corner, but that the population was so willing to denounce each other for personal gain.The result was an environment of self-policing.There was a Gestapo agent on every police corner, but just in the minds of the German people.But according to Bentham's theory about pan-optic society, that was enough.Germans behaved because they thought they were being watched, whether they were or not was neither here nor there. Gellately's work suggests that there are a lot of problems with the notion of a totalitarian regime. Total control is not only impossible, but not necessary in even the most notorious regimes.Far from being a regime which depended completely on terror and compulsion, the Nazis appear to have been successful largely because ofpublic participation. The only shortcoming is that Gellately's evidence is drawn from one set of files from one part of Germany.We have to assume that the results here would be similar if not identical to other areas, even though we have no evidence from those other areas.Gellately is aware of this and it is beyond his control since most Gestapo files were completely destroyed. This book is a must read for German and Holocaust historians. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0198202970
    Sales Rank: 356539
    Subjects:  1. Europe - Germany    2. History - General History    3. History: World    4. European history: Second World War    5. Fascism & Nazism    6. Germany    7. Inter-war period, 1918-1939    8. Second World War, 1939-1945    9. Social history    10. The Holocaust   


    Final Solution: Origins & Implementation
    by David Cesarani
    Paperback (01 October, 1996)
    list price: $39.15 -- our price: $39.15
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    Isbn: 0415152321
    Sales Rank: 377182
    Subjects:  1. History    2. History - General History    3. History: World    4. Holocaust    5. Military - World War II    6. Europe    7. European history: Second World War    8. Jewish studies    9. The Holocaust   


    Hitler's War and the War Path
    by David Irving
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Hardcover (20 April, 2002)
    list price: $59.95 -- our price: $50.96
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    Reviews (14)

    1-0 out of 5 stars Not to be Taken Seriously
    The positive reviews for this book on amazon illustrate how easy it is for intelligent laypeople to be hoodwinked by the appearance of solid research.(Or is it that holocaust deniers are out in force on amazon?It's reasonable to suppose that the reviewer who, as recently as Feb 2005, called this book "brilliant history" is quite beyond the pale.)Make no mistake folks: this book is a scandal of scholarship, an unreliable piece of pseudo-history that is riddled with deliberate (yes deliberate) falsifications of the evidence.For substantiation of this claim see, among countless others, Eberhard Jackel's "David Irving's Hitler" and Richard Evans' "Lying About Hitler."

    2-0 out of 5 stars Interesting work by an above average writer.
    Being an ardent reader of anything about the Third Reich, I decided to give this book a chance. I knew that Mr. Irving was an admirer of Hitler before I read the book. Before I go on, I will admit that I admire Hitler for many of the things he did. His military strategies, his devotion to his people, and his unwavering principles are all qualities that I wish the American leadership possessed. Also, his rise from poverty to leader of Germany was quite an accomplishment. However, his ethnic policies were morally reprehensible and the crimes against humanity he ordered were disgusting. So, please don't label me as a "Hitler hater."

    This review is of the newly released edition.

    David Irving's "Hitler's War" is is an account of the war in the Atlantic from Hitler's point of view. It is relatively fast read for the lengh (its 1000 pages long.) Irving was blessed with a knack for writing. It is quite the page turner, and reads like a novel. Since it is from Hitler's point of view, we don't know about crucial moments in the war until Hitler experiences them. It is also thoroughly researched and the photos are beautiful. Those are the pros. However, there are certainly cons. Irving often writes what Hitler "must have been thinking." This shows his blatant bias. The truth is that we don't know what Hitler was thinking. I do believe that Hitler thought what he was doing was right, but Irving makes Hitler into an idealist. There is not one word written about the Holocaust since Irving is convinced it did not happen. Sorry, but I'm not buying it. I don't know if six million died, but it certainly happened. There is so much evidence that to postulate that it did not happen is egregious. Also, a lot of what Irving states is in direct contrast to what I've read. And I've read far more than one source. One might wonder how this could be since it is so well researched. Irving often refers to what is obiviously Naza propaganda. Goebbels is not exactly unbiased. Also, he leaves out important parts, and interjects in facts of relatively miniscule importance. Some of it is laughable (Hitler loved his dogs? So what?). Just remember, that while the research materials themselves are neither objective nor subjective what the researcher does with them is totally different. To conclude, I have to give this work two stars. It gets five stars for entertainment value, and one for its utter lack of veracity.

    All of David Irving`s books are well researched, objective, and very well written. His biography of Hitler is without doubt his greatest masterpiece. The quality of his writing and the depth of his meticulous research, along with his profound knowledge of his subject, are truly astounding. This book is the vital, indeed, the one and only historical statement about the subject which will stand the test of time, for all time. It is worth its weight in gold. In fact, it is priceless, as it eclipses virtually all of the other tomes which have ever been written on the subject. Irving`s biography is factual, pragmatic, incisive, and un-biased. Irving tackled his subject without the usual apriori presumptions of many of his peers, as well as most of his envious deprecators. This book reveals the brilliant intellect of David Irving, which can only be compared to the great intellectual giants of history like Edward Gibbon. Buy this book and study it well, it is truly enlightening. ... Read more

    Isbn: 1872197108
    Sales Rank: 298975
    Subjects:  1. Biography & Autobiography    2. Biography / Autobiography    3. Biography/Autobiography    4. General    5. Historical   


    Himmler: Reichs Fuhrer-SS
    by Peter Padfield
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
    Paperback (01 October, 2001)
    list price: $31.20 -- our price: $24.95
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    Reviews (13)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Exhaustive. Exhausting.
    Peter Padfield's bio of Himmler is one of the most thoroughly researched books I've ever read. Padfield turns all his literary siege engines on the enimatic personality of the fourth and most important Reichsfuhrer-SS, attempting to crack the Himmler facade and present the world's most notorious secret policeman in all his human complexity. As much is as possible with such a cypher, he succeeds.

    Padfield's book is wide-ranging, covering not merely Himmler but his development of the SS Order from a 290 man bodyguard detail into a quasi-religious empire numbering in the millions. Special emphasis is placed on his relationships with top Nazi leaders, as well as his chief subordinates: Schellenberg, Wolff, Eicke, Kaltenbrunner, and most importantly Reinhard Heydrich. Padfield's aim is not merely to account for Himmler, but for the deeds of his organization. Considering the enormity of his task, he does a pretty impressive job: he's especially skilled at following cause to effect, i.e., of showing how Himmler's bureacratic decisions affected the lives of millions of people, often by ending them. He's unflinching in his depictions of concentration camps, extermination centers, slave camps, and the mass executions of the Einsatgruppen, but more importantly he does an excellent job of putting them in context. They are part, but not all, of the SS mission, and Padfield shows how the many responsibilities of the organization blended together to serve Hitler's wishes as they were percieved by the "Reichsheine."

    A good bit of the book is conjecture on Padfield's part -- conjecture as to what was said during certain conversations, conjecture as to what Himmler was thinking or the reasons behind his actions. Padfield deserves strong praise for pain-stakingly pointing out where he is speculating and where he is recounting the facts: a lot of authors can't seem to tell the difference between fact and opinion. On the other hand, Padfield isn't shy about trashing other historians who disagree with his opinions on the evolution of the Holocaust. He usually prefaces their opinions with the words, "Some historiuans, apparently in all seriousness, maintain..."

    The book does have weaknesses. Padfield often dismisses out of hand the accounts of certain Nazis when they disagree with his version of events, then unhestitatingly accepts them later on when they jibe. His prose bogs down on more than one occasion: he seems to have a love-affair with run-on sentences that leave the reader (this reader anyway) exhausted and confused. His choice of phrasing is sometimes poor, obscuring the meaning of his passages, and there are a number of small editing mistakes such as incorrect dates or missing letters(probably the publisher's fault and not the author's). More annoying is the strange sloppiness of detail on his description of military events. It's as if his huge effort to research every aspect of Himmler/the SS left him too weary to proof his passages on the war for easily avoidable errors. He writes, for example, that the SS Panzer Corps penetrated the Soviet lines to a depth of 100 miles at Kursk. Uh, no, Peter, it didn't. If it had, the Germans would have won the battle and maybe the war, since the Kursk Salient was only 80-odd miles wide. If this seems like nit-picking, I mention it only because it is far from the only example. In another passage he says the German Ardennes offensive was supported by the fire of 10,000 assault guns. Again, sloppiness: an assault gun is a turretless tank, not an artillery piece, and the Germans certainly did not have anything close to 10,000 guns. A quick check of any coffee-table book on that battle would give the accurate figures, but Padfield didn't bother.

    What Padfield left out of Himmler's military career is also interesting. He makes virtually no mention of the "North Wind" offensive launched on Strasbourg in January, 1945, which occurred under Himmler's command. Though he spends much of the latter part of the book discussing the Nazi hope of engineering a split between the various Allies, he makes no mention of how Himmler's attack nearly accomplished this, by creating a violent disagreement between the Americans and the French over whether Strasbourg should be abandoned. Similarly, he leaves out the role of Panzerbrigade 150, the SS unit equipped with American uniforms and equipment, during the Battle of the Bulge. Some of this may simply have been editing decisions, but the ommissions are notable.

    Another problem is opinionated psychological theorizing. Padfield does not simply aim to recount Himmler's life and doings and let the reader infer what he may from them; he constantly, and sometimes annoyingly, tries to probe Himmler's psyche, and the psyche of all the top Nazis. This is tempting and to be expected on some level -- obviously we want to understand Himmler's motivations -- but any psychological profile is speculation and inference (the so called SWAG or scientific wild-ass guess), and Pafield plays amateur psychological detective to a tiresome degree.

    A final complaint: the abrupt ending of the book. "Himmler" has no afterword; it stops literally at the moment of his death, and I never did find out what happened to Himmler's wife, his mistress, or his children by both.

    Having made these criticisms, I have to say that "Himmler" is still a very significant book. I was fascinated by the bold and often contraversial take Padfield had on major events, by his willingness to attack commonly accpeted versions of events (such as the supposedly poor relationship between Bormann and Himmler)
    by his exhaustive research on every aspect of the SS and by his insightful thoughts on Himmler's relationship to Hitler. I did not find "Himmler" an easy read, but it is an important one.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Solid biography
    Padfield's account of Himmler could be stronger, but it works well enough.Padfield tries to explain Himmler's personality w/ psychology--the love-hate relationship w/ his father, the dissonance between Himmler's mind and reality, his sociopathic personality--which I think is merely overlooking the obvious:Himmler had a vile worldview and he set about to fullfill that vision.The psycho-analyzing is fine, I guess, but National Socialism was merely Himmler's new demonic religion after he renounced Christianity.

    Padfield does a better job detailing Himmler's philosophy.We are reminded that National Socialism did not begin w/ Hitler, but had its own roots in German Volk movements and national etatism.If Hitler did not exist, Nazism probably still would have, as Himmler formed his racist thoughts independent of Hitler.Padfield stays away from the weirder mystical sides of Himmler, but he does touch upon Himmler's fascination w/ eastern religion.The book also reveals actions by Himmler that I didn't know before--such as two aborted betrayals of Hitler during the end of the War (Himmler knew of the assassination attempt on Hitler, and did nothing to stop it, and Himmler tried to secure a separate peace w/ the Allies).To Himmler, loyalty to the beliefs of National Socialism trumped loyalty to Hitler.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Better than nothing
    To title this book as a biography of Himmler is a bit misleading.It should be titled "Himmler: Things He Did."It starts off promising, with a good account of Himmler's childhood.However, soon after that it devolves into a standard history book, covering events at great length that have already been well-documented elsewhere, events which are often only tangentially related to Himmler.In short, this book is too much a history and too little a biography.

    Certainly it does a good job as a factual bio - the dates and events are all there - but contrary to what some other readers have said, there is really very little here (after the childhood section) about Himmler the MAN.Important issues such as his family life, his mistress, his personal views (except as they relate to Jews), and his personality are glossed over in favor of pages and pages of digression.Except for a precious few excerpts from speeches and the occiasional letter or communique, Padfield hardly includes any of Himmler's writing at all.And for a biography, there are almost *no* personal recollections or reminsences of the man from those who knew him.There is a real lack of anecdotes, stories, or other material which would have revealed more about his personality.Other than "He was very indecisive and probably insecure", few elements of his character are revealed.If you want insight into his character, this book doesn't deliver that well.

    For someone wanting a lot of facts and dates and events and names, this books is a perfectly good resource, though its length and the density of the text make reading it a real project.And, since it (amazingly) seems to be the only full-length biography of Himmler that's widely available in English, one really has no choice - it's this or nothing.

    Padfield's editor should have used the red pen more.At well over 600 pages, the book could have been half as long and twice as good.As it is, it leaves the reader with a very good idea of what Himmler *did*, but only a general idea of what he was *like*. ... Read more

    Isbn: 0304358398
    Sales Rank: 442539
    Subjects:  1. 1900-1945    2. Biography    3. Biography / Autobiography    4. Biography/Autobiography    5. Europe - Germany    6. Germany    7. Himmler, Heinrich,    8. History    9. Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)    10. Military    11. Military - World War II    12. Nazis    13. War criminals    14. Biography: historical    15. European history: Second World War    16. Himmler, Heinrich    17. Political leaders & leadership    18. Second World War, 1939-1945    19. War & defence operations    20. War crimes   


    Foreign Labor in Nazi Germany
    by Edward L. Homze
    Hardcover (01 August, 1967)
    list price: $37.00
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    Isbn: 0691051186
    Sales Rank: 1989471
    Subjects:  1. Alien labor    2. Economic aspects    3. Germany    4. World War, 1939-1945   

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