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Nazi Germany And The Jews: The Years Of Persecution: 1933-1939 Kindle Edition
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Professor Friedlander's interpretation of Nazism is highly nuanced and therefore convincing. He sucessfully avoids two common pitfalls: to write this history "backward" and construct its narrative in "black and white." His life-long dedication not only to the study of Nazism, but also to the problems of its historical represntation are clearly obvious in the innovative manner with which he approaches the subject. In his distinctively understated style he is both highly evocative and extremely analytical.
With the second volume, which is due to follow, we will have gained a comprehensive understanding of Nazi Germany and the fate of the European Jews, written by a historian, who is a thinker, who is a master story teller.
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While centering his account of what went wrong in Nazi Germany during the pre-war years, he also humanizes his narrative considerably by interspersing individual accounts of people caught confused and unaware of what was really occurring in the crucible of cultural change. As substantiated in other recent accounts such as Victor Klemperer's "I Shall Bear Witness", Jews were very slow to recognize just how malevolent and serious the national Socialists were about ridding Germany of its Jewish population and also nationalizing and "Aryanizing" their resources and assets.
It is important to note that the author does not overlay any overall interpretive spin of his own, intent more on presenting the best evidence of what was going on than in coming to any premature general interpretation of what the mass of evidence in total might mean. This is not to suggest he offers no interpretation; on the contrary, he offers a series of brilliant insights in various aspects of the evidence. But unlike other recent authors like Goldhagen, he makes no sweeping interpretative conclusions based on all of the evidence he presents. Also, one must remember that this is the first of two volumes, and one would expect that he intends to fully conclude his systematic and chronological presentation of all of the available evidence before engaging in that sort of interpretative analysis.
In sum, I find this work to be an excellent book that is engaging, well-written and argued, and a joy to read despite its tragic and dispiriting subject matter, and a book that offers an amazing look at a wide variety of different perspectives and social situations within the Third Reich as it descended into the abyss. After finishing this volume I immediately ordered the second volume, which is slated for formal publication release later this year. This is a work that belongs on the bookshelf of any serious student of the Holocaust.
I must, however, write that the Kindle Edition which I have bought is quite unprofessional and looks as if someone had just OCRed the paper edition and ran the file through a spellchecker. There are many spelling errors typical to uncorrected OCRs, usually in names, like Wikzburg instead of Würzburg, Hard instead of Hartl, Hider instead of Hitler and my absolute favorite: Fiihrer instead of Führer.