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IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation Hardcover – Feb 2001

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 519 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group (NY); 1 edition (Feb. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609607995
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609607992
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.9 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,538,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

The son of Polish survivors, Washington-based writer Edwin Black is the author of the award-winning Holocaust finance investigation, The Transfer Agreement, and an expert on commercial relations with the Third Reich. He was a syndicated foreign correspondent in Jerusalem, and has written for several leading publications, including the Washing Post, the Chicago Tribune, Journal of the American Bar Association, and Business Week. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Darren Simons TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 9 Oct. 2003
Format: Paperback
This book details the earlier history of IBM and the role the German division played in Nazi Germany in terms of its punchcard technology. This technology became a key component in the Nazi efficiency for the numerous censuses that took place and widespread migration of Jews to concentration camps and then gas chambers.
The level of detail is astonishing and certainly when I finished the book I was in no doubt about its accuracy making this a quite incredible book on such a controversial topic. I actually found some of the earlier chapters easier to read describing how Thomas Watson built the IBM empire from the turn of the century. The way Watson is portrayed as portraying himself as a champion of Nazism and a champion of democracy at the same time is very clearly written. However, it loses a point in my rating because it’s so tough to read from that point onwards – my gut feel is that the 400 pages contained in this book (I assume the details about this book refer to a smaller page format) could be condensed to 300 making it into a quite superb read.
That said, that this book is essential reading for anyone in IT with an interest in IBM, and of course anyone who has worked for IBM!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By an italian in london on 17 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
I don't mean to undermine the excellent work of the author Mr. Black, I commend his efforts to bring to light a very dark corner of the Nazi era and the sinister connections between German Nazi and world corporations, however personally I found this book too hard to read. I don't want to be unfair, so I am not comparing this book to a William Gibson novel, I am comparing it to history books I read at university for history classes.
I appreciate the effort to bring proof of the theory and to document it, but even an historical book must "narrate" something and I found this one lacking on the "narration" style. I am thankful to the author because I had no idea of the relation between IBM ancestor company and Nazi german. It's interesting to learn one more case where corporations show a complete lack of ethics when it come to making money - not that I needed any further proof.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 May 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is the most important new work on the Nazi era in the last two decades. The book is even more significant for the questions it raises about what the purpose of a corporation is and should be, what role companies and governments should play in directing cutting edge technology, and the danger that misuses of advanced information technology bring to individuals.
The core of the story is how a key IBM technology, the Hollerith-based card tabulating machines, became available for the Nazi war and Holocaust efforts. Although the details are murky (and may remain so), it is fairly clear that the use of this technology was sustained during the war years in part by shipments of customized (for each end user) tabulating cards from IBM in neutral countries for everything from blitzkriegs to slave camp scheduling to transportation to the death camps. There was not enough paper capacity to make the cards in Europe (that the Nazi and IBM records show were used), and there is no evidence that Nazis created substitutes for these essential supplies.
As Mr. Black warns, "This book will be profoundly uncomfortable to read." I agree. My sleep will not be the same for some time after experiencing this powerful story.
Mr. Black makes an even stronger statement. "So if you intend to skim, or rely on selected sections, do not read the book at all." I took him at his word, and did not even read the book quickly. I also arranged to read it in several sittings, so I could think about what I had read in between. I recommend that you do the same.
The reason for my recommendation is that your thinking will change very fundamentally through reading the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. J. O. Martin on 22 Dec. 2012
Format: Hardcover
As the son of an ICBM rocket designer, I have been concerned with ethics, economics and technological issues of power and progress all my life. This book will probably be subject to much criticism and vilification for the uncomfortable truths it reveals. Everyone concerned with human rights, racism, government invasion of privacy and control should read this and in the motto of the book's main culprit Thomas J. Watson THINK. If we ever needed a clear example of the absolute political importance of privacy of personal information and limitations on the role of state intrusion into private lives this book may prove historically to be an important beacon for future generations. The very fact that this horrifying aspect has taken so long to emerge is added warning of the need for active vigilance in every one of us. I had only just finished reading James Bacque's 'Crimes and Mercies' which presents another mirror into a distorted past, the two books together are enough to make thinking people question many so called truths which they may have grown up with. Tell eveyone about this book. It doesn't matter how embarrassed IBM may be about its criminal past. This is an issue for everyone concerned with the use of powerful new technologies for profit beyond control.
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