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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 18 September 2011
This book was the start of a cause celebre because David Irving chose to sue Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher for libel regarding comments made about him in the book. I remain a little surprised at this because in fact, there is not much about David Irving in the book and what Lipstadt wrote about him was already in the public domain.

Through reading about the trial, I discovered that Denying the Holocaust was out of print at the time and had it not been for the Irving's litigation would possibly have remained so.

I had for a long time been aware that some people deny that 6 million Jews died during the Holocaust but until I started reading about the subject, the very existence of concentration camps and the overtly anti-Semitic policies of the Nazi state were sufficient to mark it out for me as a particularly nasty episode in history, with or without the huge death toll. Even if the Holocaust deniers are right about gas chambers (and I have no reason to think they are), the moral opprobrium over the Nazis remains insurmountable.

In Denying the Holocaust, Lipstadt traces the development of denial literature from crude pamphlets to pseudo-scholastic publications that give the impression of having been considered by serious academic historians. In fact, Lipstadt says that the literature is littered with obfuscation, distortion, misquotation and mistranslation designed to cast doubt on what you would read in most history books on this subject.

The provenance of the literature was shown to have emanated from writers who were very much in league with Far right political parties rather than from academics who were pursuing any kind of objective truth about the subject. An assertion that I frequently read is that there is some kind of "official" version of the Holocaust and that it is illegal to depart from it. The book states that this is not the case. Historians report a broadly similar story of the Holocaust, not because they are only allowed to report this version of the facts, but because the overwhelming and converging evidence points to that particular story.

For me, a major issue is that readers do have to place a lot of trust in their historians because they do not have access to documents or the time to check them out themselves. Until the Irving v Lipstadt trial, no-one was aware how much Irving was distorting and manipulating the documentary evidence in order to show Hitler in the most favourable light

The development of the Holocaust Denial industry has seen the creation of the Institute of Historical Review. This organisation has published a number of pamphlets of which the majority relate to the Second World War and aspects of the Holocaust. Any superficial look at its publications, with their scholarly tone and extensive footnotes and references, would lead one to believe that they had been produced by disinterested historians searching for truth. There has also been a push to try to get the Holocaust deniers' views debated in American universities.

Deborah Lipstadt has been consistent in her response to the Institute of Historical Review and the attempts to "debate" the Holocaust in a way to question the basic underlying facts. For Lipstadt, this would only legitimise the notion that there can be any doubt as to these facts. There would be no meeting of minds; one writer has said that such a debate would be like an astrologer debating the stars with an astronomer. Some people have accused her of cowardice for not subjecting herself to cross examination by David Irving the libel trial in 2000. After reading this book, I see that she was only being consistent with the views she had expressed in this book.

Finally, I would say that the issues have moved on. I understand that there is increasing interest in this topic in Arab countries and there has also been an explosion of Holocaust denial sites on the Internet since this book was written.

Recommended.
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on 29 October 1999
I went into this text with preconceptions, having studied at length the reasons behind and story of the Holocaust. It struck me that the Author's purpose was to seek out those eccentric individuals who have made (in some cases a fairly lucrative) living out of denying the holocaust. I must give Lipstadt her due. She points out that the denial of the Holocaust is not and cannot be based on reason. The deniers rely on the ignorance of their readers and highly selective use of evidence to bolster their rather tenuous case.
Why then, am I only giving three stars? The answer lies in what I perceive as an almost manic intolerance of any deviation from her accepted version of the Holocaust. Lipstadt claims that there are many issues that 'Holocaust experts' debate - then seems to limit them to those which start from the assumption six million died, even when this is a highly tendentious figure. Some literature suggests that not all Nazis were as vehemently in favour of the Holocaust as Hitler. Does this lack of unanimity warrant a mention? I think not. There is a disturbing intolerant streak which characterises much of the writing and which vitiates what would otherwise have been a very powerful work. The blanket adoption of extreme restrictions on freedom of speech which Lipstadt seems to advocate is the thin end of a very disturbing wedge, and readers should remember this.
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VINE VOICEon 13 September 2003
This is an excellent, much needed book, which combats what is described as a moral and intellectual virus being used to attack the extremely well documented, factual record of the Holocaust in which over six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis.
The book is extremely well written with both compassion and authority. It illustrates that despite the irrefutable evidence and clinical accuracy in which the Holocaust was meticulously documented and in which the genocide of the European Jews was pursued, there are still sources who would dispute that the Holocaust ever occurred or that it has been greatly exaggerated. An attitude which appears to increase in parallel with the present day's rising anti-Semitism.
It is made very clear in this book that very few historical events are as well documented as the Holocaust, yet few if any of these other events are questioned. Indeed, despite other genocides and slaughters having occurred throughout history, (with none having been as well documented as that of the Jews), none receive the denial and hostility afforded the Jewish Holocaust.
On page 22 the book cites a seeming "contradiction" where it outlines many instances where even the Nazi perpetrators of the Holocaust actually admitted the crimes that they committed, whilst a growing group who were not even present at the time claim that the perpetrators were innocent.
The book citing neo-Nazis who once argued that the Holocaust, however horrible, was justified now content that the entire event was a hoax. The latter being more expedient to furthering their cause, where the book alleges attempts are made to "rehabilitate the persecutors and demonise the victims".
The book addresses the issue of how Holocaust deniers are often afforded near celebrity status and their views given unbelievable credibility with a ready platform frequently being provided for the proponents by many elements of the media under the banner of free speech.
Many Holocaust deniers are described as often using the guise of scholarship to camouflage their anti-Semitic ideology. With the increase of anti-Semitism the book contends that the average uninformed person will find it increasingly difficult to discern the true objectives of the Holocaust deniers, who use arguments carefully designed to take advantage of the vulnerability & fragility of memory, truthfulness and reason. Indeed a number of public surveys are quoted in the book which reveal an alarming ignorance amongst the public in relation to the Holocaust, despite the wealth of material and information available.
The contents of the work show that for the first 40 years after the Holocaust, there was a sort of protective "Teflon" against blatant anti-Semitic expression. Now, due to the process of Holocaust denial, that protective covering has become eroded and society has moved from where anti-Semitism was a crime, past where anti-Semitism was classed as distasteful, to it now simply being another opinion. Something which the book declares will increase as the number of Holocaust survivors become less and less as the years progress.
My only criticism of this book is that, amongst the many areas/avenues of Holocaust denial studied, no attention is made to the Holocaust denial amongst the Arab nations in the Middle East. For those interested in the latter subject might I respectfully recommend Arieh Stav's book entitled "Peace: The Arabian Caricature: A Study of Anti-Semitic Imagery". Thanks for your time.
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on 26 April 2000
As a former Kindertransportee I participate in Holocaust Education projects. As a psychotherapist I work with first, second and third generation Holocaust survivors. Yet until I read this book I was only aware of the need for Holocaust Education to combat general ignorance and reluctance to know about what happened. Lipstadt makes it very clear that growth of Holocaust revisionism and denial goes far beyond ignorance to threaten the very roots of reason and democracy and attacks the foundations of enlightened human culture.
She defines the difference between history, a rational discipline aiming to uncover and understand events, and revisionism (which she insists is denial), an irrational ideology based on and propagated by the creation of falsifications and distortion of facts. She demonstrates unequivocally how this ideology is based on a master-race philosophy and vitriolic hatred of Jews, Communists, etc. as inferior and conspiring against the master-race. Her account of the development of 'revisionism ' in response to WWI and the main characters that revived and extended it after WWII illustrates deniers' projection into 'the Jews' of their own disowned elements resulting in paranoid fear of them.
So powerful is the appeal of their irrational ideology that the deniers believe their own fabrications and live in a 'wonderland of mythology'. Jews, as the embodiment of moral values and truth, present a threat to their 'wonderland' and must be anihilated to 'purify' the master-race. Furthermore, the powerful appeal of mythology is a part of human make-up. Holocaust revisionists and deniers trade on this to sow the seeds of doubt with their perverted propaganda and make converts to their irrational fabrications.
Lipstadt draws attention to details of real evidence to counteract these seeds of doubt. But those already converted to Holocaust denial have entered the wonderland of its mythology and are immune to rational discourse. Lipstadt warns of the dangers of getting involved in dialogue with them as this gives them a platform for their propaganda and unwarrented validity as 'the other point of view'. She recommends vigilance and exposure of their lies and subterfuges.
The book itself provides the solution to the puzzle why David Irving could self-destructively sue Lipstadt and Penguin for libel in it. Irving was deluded into believing he could single-handedly convince the judge, journalists and readers of his ideology and make a 'killing' in converts. He lost the libel case but gained publicity. Hopefully the publicity for Lipstadt's book has been even greater.
R. B.
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on 27 November 1997
Reviews and commentary should avoid the term "revisionism" when discussing the Holocuast denial movement and its proponents. As author Deborah Lipstadt points out, revisionism is a legitimate academic pursuit, while Holocaust denial is nothing of the sort. To do so is to lump together serious scholars with the crackpots and anti-Semites who make up the denial movement. Holocuast deniers want to be known as revisionists. Do not grant them the honor.
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on 10 December 2015
Ripped to pieces on sites such as codoh dot com, inconvenienthistory dot com and holocausthandbooks dot com
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on 23 August 2013
Lipstadt falls into the trap repeatedly throughout the book of making ad hominem attacks against all Holocaust deniers, a claim which, ironically enough, she constantly accuses the very same deniers of doing. Yes, a lot (and maybe even most) Holocaust deniers are white supremacists who hate Jews, but that doesn't mean this discussion can't be engaged with an academic tone and intellectual honesty. She compares Holocaust deniers to Flat Earthers, which isn't a fair comparison since one topic deals with history and the other is science. Science deals in objectivity, observation, and theorizing. History is subjective and under constant revision, depending on the people writing it.
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on 4 April 2009
There was absolutely ZERO attempt in this work to refute the facts uncovered by the likes of Germar Rudolf,, Carl Mattogno, Ernst Zuendel and many, many others.

The afore-mentioned scientists, academics and researchers at no point ever 'denied' that people died in German-held concentration camps, however they DO (and with good reason) debate: A) the numbers of dead, B) the existence of homicidal gas chambers and C) that there was some sort of official 'unspoken' systematic extermination policy.

As the purveyor of deceit Lipstadt well knows, the 'holocaust' mythology is only held up by emotional rhetoric (such as this book) where logic goes right out the window and massive political and financial support. It ought also to be remembered that without the 'holocaust' narrative, the state of Israel would not have been brought into existence. Furthermore, without the 'holocaust' script, suddenly the defining feature of National-Socialism changes and it is open to reinterpretation.

It's truly a tragic shame that many greedy, ruthless people have found it worthwhile to inflate something that began as Communist war-propaganda into a repressive global anti-European cash-extorting pseudo-religion.

I encourage all open-minded people to at least read BOTH sides of the 'story'. I wonder how many of these 5-star and 4-star reviewers have ever actually read any of Germar Rudolf's works for example? Perhaps they are too scared of what might become apparent to them. The book 'Debating the Holocaust' would be a good place to start - a work that allows BOTH sides of the fence equal exposure.

What a world.
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on 18 April 2000
So this is what the court case was all about. This is an intriguing and disturbing analysis of the deeply worrying phenomenon of Holocaust denial. A book everyone should read.
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on 18 April 1998
This book by Dr. Lipstadt is the bible on Holocaust deniers (NOT Revisonists). She gives a full detail on holocaust denial started right after WW2 ended to the current state. She showed with outstanding documnetation how these deniers are anti-jewsih to the core and don't even coem close to being a Historian. Every true Historian who has researched the Holocaust has said that 6 million jews died. But these deniers calim that that have free speech roghts to "revise" the Holocaust. They do. But Listadt also has free speech rights too and she used them to show that "revisonism" is nothign but denial. Not only that but she debunks all the books that denied the Holocaust by showing specifically where they were wrong. I thougght she could have done 2 things. In the appendix, she could have given the litany of anti-jewish pro nazi comments that these "Rrvisonist" have made. Second she could have listed the occupations of these "revisonista". Its laughable. They have jobs like photo retoucher, constaruction worker, magzine editor and my favorite a David Cole who is a high schol dropout. Good job Ms. Lipstadt. But with the way the Internet has become, i think and updated version on the expansion of Holocaust denial shoudl be done
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