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Death And Deliverance: 'Euthanasia' in Germany 1900-1945 [Paperback]

Michael. Burleigh
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; First Edition edition (1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521477697
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521477697
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.2 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,187,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Burleigh was born and educated in London. He was an academic for eighteen years before deciding to write full-time in 2001. He has won three major film awards for television documentaries (including 'Selling Murder' which won a BFI award) as well as the 2001 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction. He is married and lives in central London although he travels extensively, particularly in Asia. In 2012 he won the Nonino International Master of His Time Prize. His new book, Small Wars, Faraway Places: The Genesis of the Modern World 1945-1965 will be published in 2012 by Macmillan.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but harrowing 15 May 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a detailed history of euthanasia in Germany in the first half of the 20th century. It lays out the thinking of the professionals who abhorred the waste of money on those 'unworthy of life', allowing the growth of an ethos that found killing the mentally & physically ill acceptable. Burleigh details the lives of some of the tens of thousands who perished in the aktions of T4 - it made me weep. He also looks at the perpetrators - professionals & otherwise. A disturbing but necessary book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling. 16 April 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An informative yet chilling view of how the murder of the most vulnerable section of a modern , cultured society can be undertaken and how it can be concealed.
T4 was the thin end of the wedge which we now call the Holocaust.
Any who would dispute the Holocaust would do well to read this book and see what went before.
In understanding the nature of the Hitler goverment and how the most radical and dangerous ideas could become a murderous reality this book deserves your attention.
Well written , excellent source and foot notes , this is murder which cannot be denied nor explained away.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Death & Deliverance: By Michael Burleigh. 21 Aug 2011
There are two distinct aspects of this book that may be considered disturbing to the general reader - the first is of course the intended subject of the book - that is the attempted eradication of Germany's psychologically and physically disabled people under Adolf Hitler's National Socialist (Nazi) regime (1933-1945), and the author's natural political rightwing bias in his general commentaries. That is not to say that Burleigh supports or agrees with the Nazi extermination policies - he most definitely does not - but, nevertheless, persists in perpetuating what must be described as a sustained 'anti-leftist' rhetoric throughout his many historically based published works. As well as being an established British academic - even lecturing at Oxford for a time - Michael Burleigh is a regular comtributer to the rightwing Standpoint magazine, which in its first edition blamed 'Multiculturalism' for the demise of standards in Western civilisation.

The paperback (2002) edition contains 387 numbered pages, and apart from the cover photograph - which shows disabled people standing by a wire fence - contains no illustrations. This book contains an Introduction a four parts:

Part One: Saving Money, Spending Lives.
Part Two: Gods in White Coats.
Part Three: 'Euthanasia' and Racial Warfare.
Part Four: Aftermaths.

This book does not begin with the Nazi take-over of Germany in 1933, but rather begins its assessment of the treatment psychologically and physically disabled from 1900 and traces the development of the rightwing notion of 'euthanasia' from Adolf Jost - an Austrian psychologist who believed that disabled people, both as groups and as individuals, carried a negative impact upon society and that their removal (i.e.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight to the Nazi mentality 22 Jan 1999
By A Customer
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book as it is so well researched and deals with such a dificult subject matter in a thoroughly professinal manner.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remembering the forgotten victims 20 July 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
An extraordinary and deeply moving book. Burleigh documents in meticulous and scholarly detail the mass murder of psychiatric patients, and exposes the obscene justification of this as "mercy killing" (incidentally providing a fascinating and horrifying survey of the way in which the Nazi "euthanasia" program helped create the bureaucratic machinery later used to run the concentration camps). Instead of allowing the sheer weight of numbers to render the victims anonymous, he uses haunting photographs and details of some of the murdered adults and children to "bring them to life" and make vivid the humanity which the Nazis were unable to see. Anyone interested in the rights of the mentally handicapped and mentally ill should read this book
5.0 out of 5 stars the viewer in better housing, or more food access 15 Sep 2014
By Kate - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Difficult to read, but important as so many books covering this period tend to focus on the 'Final Solution' and ignore the 70,000+ who were killed because of their mental disorders, birth defects, congenital malformations and diseases and injuries that resulted in loss of productivity. This text is important because it lays out the historical factors that lead first to the eugenics movements and Germany's eventual sterilization policies which were bolstered by the forced sterilization policies in the U.S. and moved toward the 'life unfit for life' philosophy that was being intellectually discussed by both the right and left leaning philosophers, to the eventual killing through starvation, injection and gassing of people held in asylums and hospitals.
These policies did not happen merely because of the madness of the National Socialist Policies, but in a intellectual debate on what it is to be human which was being held across national boundaries, whose arguments supported the ideas of the Nazi Party on genetic superiority, and the purification of the volk that would make up the Germany of the future.
The methods and the secrecy of these systematic killings did not come from demands on high, as the some histories would have one believe, with participants acting in fear of their lives and under duress. It started with the change in the civil service system, placing Party members in charge of asylums, the cutting of all funds to maintain those who had the least protections and political voice, it involved the collusion of thosands in the selection process, the killing and the disposal of remains and the vast bureaucracy that collected data on who was unworthy of life and to create the death certificates that were sent to families listing one of the 92 causes of death they could list that might not create to much questioning from families.
The men and women who were the main actors in this euthanasia developed the methods and indeed were some of the people transferred to run the death camps, because they had become so skilled in the murders of the 'unfit'.
Strangely, post war very few of these people were ever brought to trail by German authorities, who either acquitted them or gave them light sentences such as several months to four years for the direct murder of thousands, as the courts declared that these perpetrators did not know that the killing of thousands of Germans was illegal. Also many of these perpetrators were honored members of the community and friend of people in high places in post-war Germany.
It also has a chapter that focuses on the film propaganda, and the tourist trade the government provided giving thousands of Germans tours of asylums so they could see for themselves how unworthy of life these charges were. The films presented the economic arguments, telling audiences how much it cost to maintain these creatures, when these funds could go to them, the viewer in better housing, or more food access, if only the state wasn't being burdened.
Atrocities will always be with us, but they are not only the work of a few, these few always need the complicity of the general population, the willingness of a large number of people who can be bought with additional pay, food & alcohol allowances, and the right to some of the spoils of those they dispose of.
This text is quite balanced giving no quarter to any specific point of view, but by providing documents and diaries of perpetrators lets the reader come to their own conclusions. A very important read on the direction medical and personnel can easily be subverted.
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars 21 Aug 2014
By Catherine Klimenkov - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A long and painful book very academic book.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book 24 Jun 2011
By Winifred Hinson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The best English language book available on Nazi euthansia...Burleigh's ironic style and meticulous research make a difficult subject a pageturner...
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