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Life Unworthy Of Life: Racial Phobia And Mass Murder In Hitler's Germany (New Republic Book) [Paperback]

James Glass

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Book Description

23 April 1999 New Republic Book
In this path-breaking work of intellectual and cultural history, James M. Glass provides a provocative new answer to the questions about the Holocaust that bedevil us to this day: How and why did so many ordinary Germans participate in the Final Solution? And how did they come to regard Jews as less than human and “deserving” of extermination? Glass argues that the answers lie in the rise of a particular ethos of public health and sanitation that emerged from the German medical establishment and filtered down to the common people. Building his argument on a trove of documentary evidence, including the records of the German medical community and of other professional groups, he traces the development in the years following World War I of theories of racial hygiene that singled out the Jews as an infectious disease, and that determined them as “life unworthy of life” in the words of Nazi propogandists and German scientists.Looked at from a broader perspective, Glass writes, the actions and beliefs of the German people show what today would be regarded as insane, became, for World War II German society, normal politics. Murdering millions of innocent people was not seen as a vicious criminal conspiracy, but as a therapy essential to the culture’s well-being.

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About the Author

James M. Glass is professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland. The author of several other books, including Psychosis and Power, Private Terror/Public Life, and Delusion: Internal Dimensions of Political Life, Glass is well-respected for his knowledge on the interplay of politics and psychology. He lives in Silver Springs, Maryland.

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Life Unworthy of Life' is wonderful! 7 Jan 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
In his latest book, 'Life Unworthy of Life,' James M. Glass has artfully crafted a masterpiece in the fields of Holocaust literature and political psychology. He boldly challenges the reader to consider each idea he presents and come to his/her own conclusion. What may be ultimately difficult for the reader is that there is truly only one conclusion to come to: that the author is right. Many books written on the subject of the Holocaust present controversial theses as to the mindset, breadth of relevant knowledge of "what was really going on," and unique-monster attributes of every key (and not so key) individual involved in the mass slaughter of six million Jews. It is extraordinarily difficult to make palpable to a reader something so distasteful as the notion that an entire society or "race" could knowingly, systematically and enthusiastically murder so many. What is even harder to swallow is that there were signs and evidence along the way that The Final Solution would be the end result and yet, there was little to no mass repudiation within Weimar and Third Reich/Nazi society. James Glass has constructed a convincing argument in 'Life Unworthy of Life' and the reader ultimately must confront something within himself/herself and grapple with the notion that ordinary people will do and in fact HAVE DONE extraordinarily horrific things for irrational and illogical reasons. What's more, millions upon millions of people cooperated and agreed, volunteered and eagerly participated in the systematic dehumanization, destruction and mass murder of an entire people and culture. One lunatic is easy to understand. Millions of "normal" people going along with popular and ingrained sentiment which encourages and embraces hate and ostracization (leading to death) is not so easy to understand. James Glass explains it beautifully.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for the Faint of Heart 17 Jan 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
While the subject mater is very disturbing, the writing stylings of Mr. Glass was even more so. To establish one's hypothesis in the begining is not uncommon, but to repeat it over and over distracts from the reading experience. I agree with the Kirkus Review, that the non-specialist steer clear of this one. An examination of the Final Solution and the society that enabled it's evolution is extreamly important at this time for two reasons: a. over time our picture of the event fades, b. it is applicable today more than ever. This book is the reason I support our public libraries.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended 31 Jan 2011
By Dano Maxwell - Published on Amazon.com
Highly recommended read. The author really did his homework for this.
His ideas regarding the holocaust make a lot of sense and he refers to many other well known authors and their books on the subject.
The writing was well presented and easy to read. I even read the part at the back of the book which mentions other sources of reference.
A great addition to Holocaust studies.

One thing which the author could have mentioned, besides the Hatred and Rage of the Germans and their indescribable racism, is the 2000 year old effect of Christianity on Europe and how it tainted the Jewish people.
This "Religion of LOVE" was often referred to by the Sieg Heiling Catholic priests who WHOLLY supported all aspects of the Nazi destruction. Except for a few, VERY FEW nuns and priests who did in fact risk their lives to hide Jewish children, it must be EMPHASIZED these were the exception to the rule.

The Lutheran church, need no introduction to it's stand towards "the Jews".
Luther was from the beginning a Virile anti-Semite. You need only read his book "The Jews and their Lies".

Why the "Religion Of Love", must be held guilty to the destruction of "the Jews" needs no further debate. Suffice it to say that after Hitler's death he was still given a Mass and referred to as "a good Catholic". The Jehovah Witnesses who were also sent to concentration camps were not ashamed to say, "The Jews are getting what they deserve". And even in Nuremberg on more than one occasion Hitler proudly stated "The work that Christ began, I will complete".
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