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A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Goldhagen absurdly claimed that even the smallest manifestation of anti-Semitism, even philo-Semitism, `tends strongly towards a genocidal `solution'.'
Goldhagen asserted that anti-Semitism `has been a more or less permanent feature of the western world', which is untrue. It also contradicts his main thesis, that Germany was uniquely anti-Semitic. It is odd that he did not accuse the rest of the world of anti-Semitism too, though perhaps by now he is asserting that the whole eastern world is also innately, ineradicably, anti-Semitic.
Germany did not have a single, unchanging monolithic culture. Goldhagen admitted that in the late 19th century German Jews experienced a `meteoric rise from pariah status'. How could they, if Germany was always fanatically committed to anti-Semitism? Nor did all Germans think the same way at any point. Other, more objective, historians have noted that the Social-Democratic party in the 1920s was `a committed opponent of organized anti-Semitism' (Peter Pulzer) and that `all Social Democrats' proved `consistent' in their `advocacy of the civil rights of German and East European Jews' (Donna Harsch).
By demonizing the German people, Goldhagen was promoting the Zionist lie that Jews are only safe in Israel, that they can never be safe in Germany, or by extension in Europe, or even in the whole Western world. Of course, the truth is that nowhere are Jews less safe than in Israel.
He wrote that the Nazis ruled `without massive coercion and violence' and that their regime `was on the whole, consensual'.Read more ›
Finkelstein, both of whose parents were holocaust survivors, gives his own reading in part 1, followed by Birn's in part 2. Birn is involved professionally in prosecuting Nazi war criminals.
Goldhagen's book was reportedly based on his PhD thesis and if the inconsistencies, contradictions and opinions dressed up as facts, not to mention the very selective and very limited samples used (as pointed out by both the above authors) satisfied Harvard University, well, they haven't done their reputation any favours.
Here is Finkelstein quoting Goldhagen (end-note 16):
" [E]ach source of [antisemitism] is embedded in an extended metaphorical structure that automatically extends the domain of phenomena, situations, and linguistic usages relevant to the antisemitic compass in a manner paralleling the metaphorical structure itself. (HWE: 35, emphasis in original)
All antisemitisms can be divided according to one essential dissimilitude which can be usefully thought of as being dichotomous (even if, strictly speaking, this may not be the case). (HWE: 37)"
As Finkelstein says as this point, comment is superfluous.
I agree the latter can be a little sarcastic at times, but who can blame him, and his scholarship shines through.
Ruth Bettina Birn states "In light of this paucity of sources, it is not surprising that Goldhagen's book has neither a bibliography nor a listing of archival sources.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As an impartial and objective reader, having reviewed both "Hitler's Willing Executioners" and this book, I was deeply disturbed. Read morePublished on 12 Aug. 2001
These two articales completely shattered the foundation of Goldhagen's book as a scholary work and the reliability of his intellectual honesty. Read morePublished on 8 Nov. 2000
As a German-American whose grandmother fled the Nazi regime to come here I am sickened at the claim people like Goldhagen or whatever his name is make that Germans are an evil... Read morePublished on 21 July 1999
I have only one thing to say. It was the Nazis who created the "pornography of violence" to satisfy their never satiated bloodlust, not Daniel Goldhagen. Remember that. Read morePublished on 16 April 1999
As David Brinkley so correctly put it, "In 1932 we got Roosevelt, and the Germans got Hitler. We were luckier than they were. Read morePublished on 8 Sept. 1998