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Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It? Paperback – 17 Apr 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 2nd Revised edition edition (17 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520260988
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520260986
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 736,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Shermer founded 'Skeptic' magazine and website (www.skeptic.com) and is a contributing editor, and columnist, for 'Scientific American'. Michael Shermer frequently appears on television and radio as a scientific expert.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Denying History is a courageous and accessible study of "a looking-glass world where black is white, up is down, and the normal rules of reason no longer apply". Authors Michael Sherman and Alex Grobman have immersed themselves in the conferences, literature, and Web culture of Holocaust deniers; they have engaged the pseudo-historians in debate; and they have visited the concentration camps in Europe to investigate the truth of what happened there. Denying History presents Sherman and Grobman's findings. The book refutes, in detail, the Holocaust deniers' claims, and it demonstrates conclusively that the Holocaust did happen; it also explores the fundamental historical issue in all debates over the truth of the Holocaust: the question of "how we know that any past event happened". Thus, Denying History is a doubly useful book; it sets the record straight on one of history's most terrible events, and it instructs readers in the scientific, logical, and historiographical principles that can help us make wise judgments about history on our own. -Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Should be required reading for everyone!" Martyrdom & Resistance 20091101

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First Sentence
There we sat, an Orthodox Jew, a professional skeptic, and one of the world's authorities on Auschwitz face to face with Ernst Zundel, an all-around Germanophile known for his court cases concerning free speech in Canada and his media blitzes claiming that the Holocaust never happened. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 July 2001
Format: Hardcover
As an amateur historian I have always been a bit concerned at the refusal to debate holocaust deniers or indeed to allow them public airing of their views. Apart from the freedom of speech implications, there's always been a nagging concern along the lines of "if it really happened why wouldn't they take the deniers head on". I should add this concern is despite a recognition that debating inevitably lends crackpots credibility and a personal conclusion that the historical evidence can lead to no other conclusion than that the nazis murdered millions of jews, gypsies and others through shooting, gassing and overwork. And I also wonder can the various "facts" put forward by the deniers (I use Shermer's term here for reasons he pretty conclusively defends in the book for those who question the essential elements of the holocaust) be supported and if so do they support the denier's claims? For instance, is the extermination camp at Auschwitz a post war reconstruction, did the Nazis make soap from camp victims, are there cyanide traces in the camps and do these invalidate the holocaust? Shermer's answers are respectively: yes, no, no and definitely not. Shermer conclusively shows that the overwhleming weight of historical evidence leads to the conclusion that the holocaust happened as we understand it to have done. He also shows that the deniers are mostly not practising history, have some fairly questionable motivations and their focus on minor elements above is at the expense of any historical consideration of the holocaust. This book deserves to be widely read and does much more to advance the truth about the holocaust than the more usual alternative of trying to prevent the deniers from being heard and refusing to debate them.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sauniere on 6 Jun 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent survey of a controversial subject. This book looks at those who deny the holocaust, such as david irving and pulls apart their case. It looks in detail at holocaust denial and debunks the denier's arguments.

It provides all the evidence you need to prove to anyone that the holocaust did happen. On top of this it also looks at other debates, such as hitler's knowledge of the holocaust. It covers all the angles and debates really well.
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16 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer 133 on 18 Feb 2006
Format: Paperback
How can anyone possibly deny that the Holocaust happened? An equally important question is WHY would anyone want to deny the Holocaust? Don't we have thousands of eyewitness testimonies all detailing what happened in the Holocaust? Don't we have photographic evidence? Aren't some of the camps still there? Well, the Holocaust deniers' state that gas chambers were never used to gas people, they also argue that the number of Jews killed was closer to 600,000 rather than 6,000,000 and that the Nazis had no plan to systematically exterminate the Jews. This is a very dangerous argument and once which Arthur Hertzberg calls the most hurtful attack ever levelled against the Jews. Perhaps this argument would not be as worrying if it was only the view of a few neo Nazis, but it is not. Holocaust denial is growing in frequency; for example, about 10% of those in Italy are deniers with similar surprising numbers across the world. Shermer and Grobner have therefore written this brilliant book in order to prove how we know that the Holocaust happened and to counter these atrocious claims.

They argue early in their book that it is no longer possible to simply dismiss the deniers arguments as coming from neo Nazi thugs, rather we have a duty to respond to these malicious claims in order to tell the world that this event did happen, that 6,000,000 were murdered in the gas chambers and various other methods, and that the Nazis did indeed have a plan to systematically exterminate the Jews.

Shermer and Grobner begin by discussing how we know anything actually happened in history - through the convergence of evidence all leading to the same conclusion. They then take an in depth look into who says the Holocaust never happened and why they say it.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. Stewart on 14 Aug 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You would think that in this day and age that a well documented and demonstrated act of genocide such as "The Final Solution" would be beyond doubt - you would be wrong.

There exists a group of "scholars" and "experts" ( many self appointed ) who would have us believe that the "Holocaust" is far from a proven chapter in history and that in fact "it never happened".

This book introduces you to who these folks are and why they say what they say and believe in what they are saying.
Is it an eye opener - yes it is - was I impressed by their arguments - not in the least.

This book documents a series of are basically lies and distortions imparted by "experts" who insist that they have a case to make , the authors look at who says what , their background , their expertise (or otherwise) and how what they have said has been received by way of impact.

The authors point to the interesting fact that this so called " revisionist" approach has been instrumental in having historians verify that the genocide did take place and to review the process by which it took place and the decision making process which governed the direction of the SS / NSDAP.
The various legal wrangles which have come from this bizarre and ridiculous approach to the subject is explored and one quickly learns that revisionists are no strangers to set back and defeat - they simply see this as being proof of the nature of the conspiracy which they are upagainst.

The events of this book have since been overtaken by the Libel action of David Irving which he comprehensively lost and the major pieces of evidence presented at that tiem.
See "Telling Lies About Hitler, "The Case For Auschwitz" and "The Unwritten Order".
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 56 reviews
87 of 106 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant example of history and historiography 24 Jun 2000
By Robert E. Helmerichs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Denying History succeeds on two levels. First, it is a thorough demolition of the arguments of Holocaust deniers, presenting the overwhelming evidence for the systematic and deliberate murder of about 6,000,000 Jews by the Nazis during World War II. On this level, it is a very painful book at times, but clear and utterly convincing.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, it is an exploration of historical method intended to show how not only Holocaust deniers, but fringe groups of all kinds, distort and pervert history to make their points. The book is a virtual guide to BS detection, displaying the techniques used by pseudo-historians and how the conclusions drawn by these techniques evaporate in the light of a careful, objective evaluation of the evidence.
In a sense, it is too bad that the Holocaust, a very emotional topic (and this book can be quite angry at times), is the test case; less of a hot-button issue might have made for a calmer (and at times less disturbing) book. But the Holocaust deniers need to be denied, and Shermer and Grobman do a masterful job of it, without losing sight of the larger historiographical issues involved. Denying History is intense, readable, valuable, and for anybody who has ever been upset by bizarre historical claims, essential.
57 of 69 people found the following review helpful
Refuting holocaust denial - simply and effectively 21 Aug 2000
By Jonathan Kay - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
You will not find a more straightforward Holocaust book than Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It. The authors' basic argument is this: The extermination of six million Jews during the Second World War is a historical fact. Those who deny it are wrong.
It's hardly a provocative thesis. But ask yourself this: Would you be able to refute a Holocaust denier? The fact of the Holocaust is like the spherical Earth: Every reasonable person accepts it, but few can prove it. That is why Skeptic magazine publisher Michael Shermer teamed up with historian Alex Grobman to write Denying History. They believe thinking people have a duty to fight Holocaust denial head on; and they want them to come to the battle armed with historical facts.
When the eyes of the public are upon them -- such as during the 1985 trial of Canadian Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel, or the famous 1994 Donahue episode that pitted two Holocaust deniers against Shermer and an Auschwitz survivor -- deniers often get the best of staged confrontations. The most prominent deniers know a lot about the Holocaust, especially arcane subjects like the chemistry of Zyklon-B gas and the architecture of gas chambers. Many of the sound bites they spit out are quite true. It is a fact, for instance, that the Nazis never manufactured soap from Jewish bodies on a mass scale -- contrary to urban legend. Deniers are also correct when they claim that there is no known Holocaust order bearing Hitler's signature. David Irving, the on-again off-again denier who recently lost a defamation suit in Britain, has never had to make good on his $1,000 challenge to any historian who could produce such a document.
But, as Denying History makes clear, there is still a mountain of evidence proving the nature and scale of the Holocaust. The Nazis' use of gas chambers has been established by, among countless other sources, the 1946 Nuremberg confession of Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss, as well as the 250-page autobiographical manuscript he wrote while awaiting execution. The estimate of six million killed is supported by a spate of historical studies, and also by Nazi physician Wilhelm Hoettel, who testified at Nuremberg that: "In the various concentration camps approximately four million Jews had been killed, while about two million were killed in other ways." None of this evidence convinces the true denier, of course. He is, by necessity, a conspiracy theorist. To him, every confession was coerced, every photograph faked. As the authors of Denying History demonstrate in psychological profiles of today's most prominent deniers, they see the "holohoax" as a plot by Jews (or, "the traditional enemies of truth" as they are commonly referred to in denier circles) to discredit the Nazi regime and the German people. "There are certain aspects of the Third Reich that are very admirable [such as its eugenics and euthanasia programs] and I want to call people's attention to these," Zündel told Shermer and Grobman in an interview. What the Holocaust has done, he argues, is to "bar so many thinkers from re-looking at the options that National Socialism German-style offers."
It is tempting to mock these confused men (there is a great essay to be written on why there does not exist a single preeminent female denier). But Denying History betrays no contempt for its subjects. The authors believe everyone has a right to be heard; and they treat Holocaust deniers with clinical detachment. This attitude reflects the authors'position of intellectual strength. Hatred for Holocaust deniers is compounded by the helpless fear that the pseudo-historians' specious lies may spread. When one is armed with concrete knowledge, however, that fear is lessened and hatred gives way to pity.
63 of 84 people found the following review helpful
A Penetrating & Frightening Look At Holocaust Deniers! 9 July 2000
By Barron Laycock - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It is both puzzling and painful to recognize that there are still serious(?) people abroad in the world who loudly deny the veracity of the historical record concerning the Holocaust. As if to extend the unconscionable cruelty of the world yet longer for the millions of victims of this century's most heinous and tragic phenomenon, some actually continue to claim that either the Holocaust never happened, or that its dimensions and scope were much more limited and constrained that so-called Jewish revisionist historians would like the public to believe. This book puts the lie to all this nonsense, giving those who would deny the truth and accuracy of the history of the Holocaust an exceptionally thorough trip to the intellectual back shed to give them the whipping of their cranial careers.
With this volume, historians Michael Shermier and Alex Grobman have presented a virtual tidal wave of substantiating evidence of the nature of the complex social movement that the Holocaust deniers comprise. The authors trudge through a depressing tour of every aspect of this social movement, and go deeper into every aspect of the deniers and their social network in an effort to both better understand what motivates them as well as how to finally and authoritatively refute their claims. In so doing, they not only illustrate how shallow, self-serving, disingenuous, and disreputable these claims and positions are, but also provide much more substantial proof of the existence of the Holocaust.
In some ways this tour into the deep underbelly of continuing hate, bigotry, and ignorance is a descent into a Dante-like inferno, one the reader tends to recoil from because of its `in-your-face' portrayal of such rampant and continuing racial hate and conflict. In other ways it seems more like an impromptu visit to the comical land of the Keystone cops, or the gang who couldn't shoot straight. Anyone falling for this grab-bag crack-pot mixture of conspiracy theories, racial suspicions, and social paranoia isn't likely to be sitting next to anyone in a graduate course in history, anyway. Still, one must remember that Hitler graduated from the ranks of the likes of these cretins.
This is a profoundly disturbing but altogether necessary book. To suggest that after fifty years serious people could still question the historical record regarding the savage and murderous events collectively referred to as the Holocaust is but one more painful indicator of how far the world must go to reach any kind of intellectual maturity or cosmopolitan compassion. One of the most interesting sidelights of the book is the fact that the authors have devised an ingenious framework that both contemporary and future historians and social scientists can employ to verify and virtually any historical event. I highly recommend it for anyone who has ever had someone say (as I have heard a number of times), "The Holocaust never happened."
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Denying the Holocaust: A defense that wasn't even raised at Nuremburg 16 Jan 2013
By Steve Reina - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In the wake of World War II, a series of prosecutions were leveled against the then living administrators of Germany's "final solution" or Holocaust against Europe's Jews.

Significantly, no Nuremburg defendants attempted to claim that the Holocaust, a specific government sponsored program to kill Jews that actually resulted in some six million Jewish deaths, actually occured. This remained the state of affairs even fifteen years later when Adolf Eichmann, was captured and put on trial in connection with his role in the final solution. It was even the state of affairs some thirty years after that when John Damjanjuk was extradicted to Israel to face trial on allegations that he was one in same with concentration camp guard Ivan the Terrible.

However, as is made clear in this book, there are those who deny that the Holocaust occured. As might be expected those denying the Holocaust almost always hail from anti semitic circles from which they are funded and supported.

Not surprisingly the methods employed by these Holocaust deniers involve slip shod resesarch and reasoning. One example of this type of slip shod research and reasoning, as explained in this book, can be found in the Leuchter report, a report done by Fred Leuchter (a self described engineer) who went to Auschwitz where he illegally took wall samples from the area where inmates had been gassed to see if they contained traces of Zyclon B, the gas used to kill them. According to Leuchter his samples did not contain evidence of the lethal substance. However, the samples Leuchter took were from areas that had been subject to exposure to the elements for some fifty years. What's more the expected Zyclon B penetration into the walls would only have been an expected 10 microns (or one tenth of a human hair) anyway.

Another example of slid shod research in Holocaust denial is to dispute the numbers of Jews killed. In this way many Holocaust deniers will suggest that because only some two million Jews were killed (according to their numbers) the traditional story of the Holocaust is wrong. However, these lower figures are belied by statistics developed by the Nazis themselves, statistics that were confirmed -- among others -- by Adolf Eichmann.

Fortunately this book also shows the many other ways in which Holocaust deniers have tried to use dubious scholarship to support their claims. Along with that this book raises some important questions for critical thinkers to consider whenever someone makes a novel claim (such as who is the claimant, what is their history, what evidence are they pointing readers to, are other explanations discussed and how does their theory comport with other accepted evidence).

For all these reasons this book is a must for critical thinkers as well as any lay reader. It seems certain that almost worse than the Holocaust is forgetting it occured, an omission that can't help but maybe make it happen again.
18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
What really happened at Auschwitz? 5 Sep 2000
By John Barry Kenyon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the most comprehensive book yet to appear which seeks to refute the claims of Holocaust deniers and revisionists. It seeks to put the nature of historical "truth" in a semi-philosophical framework as well as tackling the empirical claims of deniers head on. There is a strong section attacking Fred Leuchter's so-called research on the bricks at the Auschwitz crematoria (no wonder no traces of cyanide remain after 50 years in the open air) and a thorough account of the nazis' own incriminating records and confessions. Will the book actually convince any Holocaust deniers themselves? Probably not. They will doubtless pin-prick the book, for example Heydrich's death at one point is wrongly given as 1943. And they will continue to maintain that Eichmann's confessions in custody were his last ditch effort to cooperate and thus save his life. As Sherman and Grobman make very clear, Holocaust deniers are ideologically motivated and devoted to rehabilitation of nazism. A final thought: the main media organ of deniers these days is the Internet. There is still scope for a detailed analysis of the content and impact of these hate pages. The authors have written a valuable book, but the debate (like it or not) will go on.
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