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A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth

A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

No recent work of history has generated as much interest as Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners. Purporting to solve the mystery of the Nazi holocaust, Goldhagen maintains that ordinary Germans were driven by fanatical anti-Semitism to murder the Jews. An immediate national best-seller, the book went on to create an international sensation.

Now, in A Nation on Trial, two leading critics challenge Goldhagen's findings and show that his work is not scholarship at all. With compelling cumulative effect, Norman G. Finkelstein meticulously documents Goldhagen's distortions of secondary literature and the internal contradictions of his argument. In a complementary essay, Ruth Bettina Birn juxtaposes Goldhagen's text against the German archives he consulted. The foremost international authority on these archives, Birn conclusively demonstrates that Goldhagen systematically misrepresented their contents.

The definitive statement on the Goldhagen phenomenon, this volume is also a cautionary tale on the corruption of scholarship by ideological zealotry.

Norman G. Finkelstein, author of two acclaimed studies on the Israel-Palestine conflict, teaches political theory at Hunter College and New York University.

Ruth Bettina Birn is chief historian in the War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity Section of the Department of Justice, Canada. She lives in Toronto.

A Nation on Trial was written in response to Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's Hitlers Willing Executioners. Purporting to solve the mystery of the Nazi holocaust, Goldhagen maintained that ordinary Germans were driven by fanatical anti-Semitism to murder the Jews. An immediate national bestseller, the book went on to create an international sensation.

Finkelstein and Birn challenge Goldhagens findings and argue that his work is not scholarship at all. With compelling cumulative effect, Finkelstein meticulously documents Goldhagens distortions of secondary literature and the internal contradictions of his argument. In a complementary essay, Birn juxtaposes Goldhagens text against the German archives he consulted. The foremost international authority on these archives, Birn conclusively demonstrates that Goldhagen systematically misrepresented their contents.

The definitive statement on the Goldhagen phenomenon, this volume is also a cautionary tale on the corruption of scholarship for ideological purposes.

“In this important volume Finkelstein and Birn demonstrate that Goldhagen's study of the Judeocide is monocausal, teleological, and severely blinkered. Finkelstein carefully sets forth Goldhagen's distortion and disregard of the secondary literature; Birn masterfully lays bare his gravely flawed use and interpretation of archival sources. Both authors also raise hard questions about the political reasons for the inordinate promotion and reception of Goldhagen's book. No serious student of history can afford to ignore their well-reasoned and withering reflections on the perils of pseudo-scholarship.”Arno Mayer, author of Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?

“Among the dozens of reviewers of Hitler's Willing Executioners, Ruth Bettina Birn and Norman Finkelstein stand out for the seriousness and thoroughness with which they have undertaken their task.”Christopher R. Browning, author of Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland

“Finkelstein and Birn provide a devastating critique of Daniel Goldhagen's simplistic and misleading interpretation of the Holocaust. Their contribution to the debate is, in my view, indispensable.”Ian Kershaw, author of Hitler

“So much of what he has to say is important as well as provocative.”Neal Ascherson, The Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review

“All readers of Goldhagens controversial book should take note of these much-needed studies, which, in line with serious historians, convincingly and authoritatively dismantle its arguments.”Eric Hobsbawm, author of The Age of Extremes

“Is Daniel Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners the definitive work on Hitler's Judeocide? The authors of this volume express serious doubt, which I share. To reduce a phenomenon of this scale and complexity to the anti-Semitism which permeated German society as it also permeated many other societies is to be simplistic and to show contempt for the reader. This book rights the balance.”Pierre Vidal-Naquet, author of The Jews: History, Memory, and the Present

“Highly recommended to the many readers of Goldhagen's controversial book, especially those who were mesmerized by its hypotheses. Fortunately, in an open society all scholarship is subject to public scrutiny, and the advance of historical knowledge cannot do without rigorous criticism of the kind provided in this important and courageous collection.”Volker R. Berghahn, J. P. Birkelund Professor of European History, Brown University

“Birn's and Finkelstein's essays constitute a sharp rebuttal provoked by the public's and the press's love affair with a book that casually dismissed excellent work done by others; that contains many contradictions; and that upholds dangerous myths regarding the existence of 'national characteristic.'”Istvan Deak, author of Beyond Nationalism

“Finkelstein's and Birn's important contributions are more than dissections: they tells us something about where we are.”Raul Hilberg

Synopsis:

No recent work of history has generated as much interest as Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners. Purporting to solve the mystery of the Nazi holocaust, Goldhagen maintains that ordinary Germans were driven by fanatical anti-Semitism to murder the Jews. An immediate national best-seller, the book went on to create an international sensation.

Now, in A Nation on Trial, two leading critics challenge Goldhagen's findings and show that his work is not scholarship at all. With compelling cumulative effect, Norman G. Finkelstein meticulously documents Goldhagen's distortions of secondary literature and the internal contradictions of his argument. In a complementary essay, Ruth Bettina Birn juxtaposes Goldhagen's text against the German archives he consulted. The foremost international authority on these archives, Birn conclusively demonstrates that Goldhagen systematically misrepresented their contents.

The definitive statement on the Goldhagen phenomenon, this volume is also a cautionary tale on the corruption of scholarship by ideological zealotry.

About the Author

Norman G. Finkelstein, author of two acclaimed studies on the Israel-Palestine conflict, teaches political theory at Hunter College and New York University.

Ruth Bettina Birn is chief historian in the War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity Section of the Department of Justice, Canada. She lives in Toronto.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805058727
Subtitle:
The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth
Author:
Finkelstein, Norman G.
Author:
Bettina Birn, Ruth
Author:
Birn, Ruth Bettina
Publisher:
Holt Paperbacks
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Education
Subject:
Psychology
Subject:
Europe - Germany
Subject:
Germany
Subject:
Holocaust
Subject:
Historiography
Subject:
Antisemitism
Subject:
National socialism
Subject:
War criminals
Subject:
Holocaust, jewish
Subject:
National socialism -- Moral and ethical aspects.
Edition Number:
1st Owl books ed.
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
19980315
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
176
Dimensions:
9.00 x 6.00 in

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Europe » Germany » Nazi Germany
History and Social Science » World History » Holocaust

A Nation on Trial: The Goldhagen Thesis and Historical Truth
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 176 pages Owl Books - English 9780805058727 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
No recent work of history has generated as much interest as Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners. Purporting to solve the mystery of the Nazi holocaust, Goldhagen maintains that ordinary Germans were driven by fanatical anti-Semitism to murder the Jews. An immediate national best-seller, the book went on to create an international sensation.

Now, in A Nation on Trial, two leading critics challenge Goldhagen's findings and show that his work is not scholarship at all. With compelling cumulative effect, Norman G. Finkelstein meticulously documents Goldhagen's distortions of secondary literature and the internal contradictions of his argument. In a complementary essay, Ruth Bettina Birn juxtaposes Goldhagen's text against the German archives he consulted. The foremost international authority on these archives, Birn conclusively demonstrates that Goldhagen systematically misrepresented their contents.

The definitive statement on the Goldhagen phenomenon, this volume is also a cautionary tale on the corruption of scholarship by ideological zealotry.

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