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Hitler, The Germans, and the Final Solution [Hardcover]

Ian Kershaw
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: 25.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

3 Jun 2008
This book is the culmination of more than three decades of meticulous historiographic research on Nazi Germany by one of the period's most distinguished historians. The volume brings together the most important and influential aspects of Ian Kershaw's research on the Holocaust for the first time. The writings are arranged in three sections: Hitler and the Final Solution, popular opinion and the Jews in Nazi Germany, and the Final Solution in historiography. Kershaw provides an introduction and a closing section on the uniqueness of Nazism. Kershaw was a founding historian of the social history of the Third Reich, and he has throughout his career conducted pioneering research on the societal causes and consequences of Nazi policy. His work has brought much to light concerning the ways in which the attitudes of the German populace shaped and did not shape Nazi policy. Taken together, the journal articles and book chapters selected for this volume present a comprehensive, multi-faceted picture both of the destructive dynamic of the Nazi leadership and of the attitudes and behaviour of ordinary Germans as the persecution of the Jews spiraled into total genocide.

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Hitler, The Germans, and the Final Solution + Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust + The Origins Of The Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy September 1939-March 1942
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 1st Edition edition (3 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300124279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300124279
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.7 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 305,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ian Kershaw was Professor of Modern History at the University of Sheffield from 1989 - 2008, and is one of the world's leading authorities on Hitler. His books include The 'Hitler Myth', his two volume Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris and Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis, and Fateful Choices. He was knighted in 2002.

Product Description


"... a compilation of a lifetime's perceptive essays on the Holocaust and related matters."
-- Richard Gott, Observer, December 21, 2008

'The classic essays in the book will remain required reading for students of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust for years.' -- BBC History Magazine, July 2008

'This short book goes to the heart of the great debates over Nazism... an important contribution...Plus it's a page-turner.' -- Andrew Roberts, The Mail on Sunday, June 29, 2008


"... a compilation of a lifetime's perceptive essays on the Holocaust and related matters."

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Swimming With the Tide 13 Dec 2009
History changes over time not because the facts are any different but because their interpretation does. In the case of Nazi Germany the biographies of Hitler by Alan Bullock and Joachim Fest barely mention the Holocaust. For the last thirty years, particularly since the publication of David Irving's Hitler's War in 1977, the subject has had a central role in the discussion of the history of Nazi Germany. Consequently, this collection of essays involves historiography as well as history. Adding to the former are perspectives facilitated by the reunification of Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Kershaw concentrates on four themes. Hitler and the Final Solution; Popular opinion and the Jews; The Final Solution in Historiography; and the Uniqueness of Nazism. All are inextricably mixed in the observation that "the road to Auschwitz was built by hate, but paved with indifference". Many Germans lacked strong views about the Jews but acquiesced by virtue of latent ant-Semitism which translated into passive complicity in the genocide and moral indifference as to its meaning. In a society in which freedom of opinion was denied the extent of this complicity can only be estimated. It was to undermine this moral insensibility to the Jews' fate that was behind the determination of liberating forces to make local citizens view the product of their complicity when concentration camps were finally reached.

The role of Hitler in the Final Solution lies at the heart of revisionists' attempts to re-cast Hitler as being uninvolved in the policy for which the Nazi regime is most remembered.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
This collection of essays by Ian Kershaw - perhaps best known as Hitler's biographer - has already received broad and deep plaudits from both historical and political scholarly camps.

Kershaw has been among the most persistent and intuitive historians writing about the subject of Nazi Germany. This work may be added to his other definitive studies on the phenomenon of and the phenomena surrounding the Third Reich as well as, of course, his aforementioned monumental biography of Hitler. This work is a vast read which pools a number of diverse articles into one volume; it remains unified, however and is, at no point, disparate.

Kershaw is a well-established historian of the socio-political history of the Third Reich, and the causes and subsequent (and much cataloged) consequences of Nazi policy. His views have attracted much attention particularly with respect to the vexed question of how much or how little the attitudes of the German populace influenced or did not influence Nazi policy. This single volume proffers the reader a thorough, well chronicled outline both of the catastrophic damage inflicted by the Nazi leadership, as well as the prevalent views and attitudes of the 'run of the mill' German folk as what started out as the basic segregation of the Jews then hurtled headlong into dire persecution, culminating in an attempt at outright, blanket genocide.

This work is, apparently, the culmination of over thirty years of in-depth historical research on Nazi Germany by one of that era's most acclaimed historians.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 27 Jun 2012
An excellent number of essays on the topics the title of the book promises. To understand what happened it is important to start at the beginning of things. This may sound trivial but too many people start with the war and the holocaust, shake their heads and say they don't understand. It is better to start with the ideological background from the 19. century and then proceed via WW1 and the twenties to let events unfold on step at a time. Two very important primary sources are Hitler's Mein Kampf and Rosenberg's The Myth of the 20th Century.
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