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Auschwitz: A History [Paperback]

Sybille Steinbacher , Shaun Whiteside
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

17 Jan 2005
At the terrible heart of the modern age lies Auschwitz. In a total inversion of earlier hopes about the use of science and technology to improve, extend and protect human life, Auschwitz manipulated the same systems to quite different ends. In Sybille Steinbacher's terse, powerful new book, the reader is led through the process by which something unthinkable to any European in the 1930s had become a sprawling, industrial reality during the course of the world war. How Auschwitz grew and mutated into an entire dreadful city, how both those who managed it and those who were killed by it came to be in Poland in the 1940s, and how it was allowed to happen, is something everyone needs to understand.

Frequently Bought Together

Auschwitz: A History + Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chamber + Auschwitz : The Nazis & The 'Final Solution'
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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (17 Jan 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014102142X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141021423
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 17.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 102,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"The meaning of Auschwitz is in the details, which (Steinbacher) provides with clinical precision."--Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Sybille Steinbacher teaches at The University of Bochum. She is currently Visiting Fellow at Harvard University.

Shaun Whiteside is a previous winner of The Schlegel-Tieck Prize for German Translations, and translator of The Birth of Tragedy and Musil's The Confessions of Young Törless for Penguin Classics. He lives in London.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting and unusual record 8 May 2005
By A Customer
This relatively short book contains few of the harrowing personal accounts of survival in Auschwitz that many other books on the subject concentrate on. Instead the author focusses on the history of the town of Auschwitz, the reasons for its selection as a camp, and the construction, with the enthusiastic participation of German industy, of initially a forced labour camp and with the expansion of Birkenau of an industrialised extermination centre.
The writing style is factual and restrained and manages to be more powerful and condemning as a result.
This is a short, but excellent book that I would thoroughly recommend. For those seeking something with a more vivid personal account, then look no further than Primo Levi.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A small but ultimately very interesting read 27 Aug 2010
This small yet fascinating book is a short account of the history of the town of Auschwitz or Oswiecim and its subsequent concentration/extermination camps.

The book begins by describing how various ethnic groups have emigrated to the town over centuries and how different countries/empires have governed Auschwitz at various key moments in its history. The book then moves on to describe how the concentration camp first came into being before being adapted into an extermination centre. The book concludes with a brief discussion on the punishments received by some of the infamous and lesser well known camp officials, before culminating with a brief look at some of those who seek to deny or play-down the horrific events which occurred at Auschwitz.

Whilst short, I recommend this book to those who study the Holocaust. It did contain a lot of information which I have previously read in other books concerning Auschwitz, but at the same time there were numerous facts which I wouldn't have discovered had I not read this book.

Highly recommended and informative reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Auschwitz history 6 July 2012
By Gill R
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having been to Auschwitz recently, I was particularly interested to hear about how the Nazi camp came about and also the earlier history of the place which because of the camp museum there, one doesn't normally consider much. A good read though necessarily harrowing in parts but sensitively considered.Auschwitz: A History
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