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Into That Darkness: An Examination of Conscience Paperback – Jun 1983


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Product details

  • Paperback: 8 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books; 1st Vintage Books Ed edition (Jun. 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394710355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394710358
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 176,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 April 1999
Format: Paperback
You will arrive at this book after Trevor-Roper, Speer, Shirer, Bullock, Churchill, Gilbert, Irving, Ambrose and all the rest; but it is not that type of history.

First of all ignore the Nazis marketing; the stark red, black and white cover with the obligatory swastika and the obligatory gothic font; also ignore the obligatory Elie Wiesel imprimatur on the back cover. They tell you nothing of what is inside.

Ms. Sereny is primarily an interviewer; in her book "Into That Darkness" she produces a biography of Franz Stangl, Kommandant of the Triblinka extermination Camp in central Poland in 1943. For most of us he and his deathcamp rank at the bottom if not define human atrocity. Ms. Sereny talks to Stangl not a journalist or reporter but as a therapist, and for Stangl this is both the first time and the last time "I never talked to anyone like this"; he dies hours afterwards.

Her picture of Stangl is of a man struggling with his own past behavior, so conflicted in his inability to reconcile his personal concessions; he has developed into two men. One in continuous battle with the other, irreconcilable in their differences, both authors of the same criminal acts from inside one mind. We see both Herr Stangls parse, compartmentalize, excuse, avoid, dodge, stonewall and counter-accuse in a twisted effort to find a logic that will allow them to inhabit that one mind.

Just that Stangl is twisted in conflict at all means that there was in him a spark of recognition of both good and evil as separate things. Moral and immoral, criminal and civil, humane and inhumane; that spark of conscience still glows enough to allow a dim and tardy discrimination.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 31 Mar. 1998
Format: Paperback
An extraordinary work. Not simply an examination of a Nazi death-camp, nor a mere analysis of those who operated them, but a heart-stopping journey into the darkest of humanity's depths. Gita Sereny embarked on a journalist's expedition to reveal the monster that lived within one such death-camp commander and sweeps the reader along on an unexpected voyage to a far greater horror: that the capacity for an atrocity as monsterous as the "final solution" cannot be comfortably shrugged off as a singular abberration of Nazi Germany -- by finding the man in the monster, it is clear that such a monster could lurk in us all. Be prepared for a voyage of self-revelation: not only for the ostensible subject of the book and the author, but ultimately for the reader. It is a story of an unimaginable crime perpetrated by steps so incremental that it becomes a little clearer how so many allowed themselves to be seduced into the performance of the unthinkable. No other book I have read has left me in tears on a public street car. It is an unforgetable read; you are unlikely to emerge untouched.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Philip Geraghty on 9 Oct. 2008
Format: Paperback
I have read many many books on this awful period in history and this text is by far the most insightful, thought provoking and well written book of the lot. I would reccomend this to anyone with an interest in the Holocaust and the death camps. An amazing book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Mar. 1999
Format: Paperback
The insight into Stangl's mind revealed by the interviews may be personally frightening to many readers. An expert approach to an extremely difficult task. But the material most frightening to me is the complacency - no, the active support - of the regime by the Vatican - which is revealed in this book. The ending is profound.
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